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The Craft

The ultimate resource for alcohol beverage news, trends and reports for bars, distributors and suppliers.

  • by: Maggie Mahar
  • 24 min read

5 Winter Wines You Need on Your Menu

The holiday season is now upon us, and it’s time to stock up the wine fridge with some of the best libations. While every restaurant has its mainstays that are constantly demanded and served year-round, it’s a good idea to put some wines on the menu that are more specific to this time of year. These five winter wine choices would suit any restaurant in terms of the price range, taste, and occasion, so make sure to stock up on these items.

Winter Wine Ideas

Winter Wine Idea #1: Ruinart Brut Blanc de Blancs

When people come to your restaurant in hopes of celebrating the season, it’s often appropriate to have sparkling white wine on hand. In our opinion, the Ruinart Brut Blanc de Blancs is a fine choice to suit all sorts of holiday parties. While it’s a moderately expensive item, the bottle goes a long way for guests. Some of the notable flavors from this sparkling wine include lemon, almond, and apple, so it’s a tasty treat to have on its own. However, we feel it is strongest when it’s being served as a toast or paired with some desserts. This wine is light on the palate, too, so it won’t ruin your ability to taste other delicious wines and foods if you choose to partake throughout the day. The best target for this wine is groups of guests that are eating rich, sweet foods.

Shop Ruinart Blanc de Blancs Champagne

Winter Wine Idea #2: Joel Gott Sauvignon Blanc

The Joel Gott Sauvignon Blanc is a great product to stock on your shelves because it is typically served early in the night and it has a low price point, so it is very attractive to customers that are conscious about their spending. The acidity of this particular white wine makes it perfect when served with foods that tend to include a lot of herbs, salt, and cream. Thus, if you have a party that comes into the restaurant and begins ordering a lot of appetizers, this wine will pair perfectly with most of the items on that section of the menu. You might find that this particular wine sells often, so if you get some interest from your regulars, it might be a good idea to stock it frequently and in rather large amounts.

Shop Joel Gott Sauvignon Blanc

Winter Red Wine

Winter wine Ideas #3: Gary Farrell Pinot Noir Russian River

When it comes time to stock up on wines that will do well with dinner, there are many options including the celebrated Gary Farrell Pinot Noir Russian River. As the name suggests, this wine was produced in the Russian River Valley, and it’s a light-bodied wine that can be served with many different foods with ease. Some of the flavors you can expect in this bottle include cherry, smokiness, and oak. As such, the best way to sell this product to your customers is to suggest it to parties that are having dinners that include any of the following: veal, game, beef, and poultry. It might be a little tarter than your average pinot noir and it might have a little more body than most people are used to, so it’s a unique red to bring to the table. As far as the price point, this is a medium-priced bottle that is easy to stock and sell to others. It does well with people that have a distinguished palate, too!

Shop Gary Farrel Russian River Pinot Noir

Winter Wine Idea #4: Vesevo Beneventano Aglianico

The Vesevo Beneventano Aglianico is one of the most popular wines served around the world, especially vintages like the 2015 and 2016. For those unfamiliar with it, wines made with Aglianico grapes produce rich, full-bodied red wines, so this is perhaps the heaviest of all the wines on the list, and it’s perfect to serve with dinner. Specifically, you’ll want to sell this to the customers that come in to have lamb, pasta, and beef with their meals, especially those that have complex flavor profiles. Speaking of flavors, your customers can expect this wine to have chocolate, oak, blackberry, and earthy notes present in the drink. This wine is as bold as they come, and it is a little more on the dry side than the sweet, but it’s lovely when paired properly or in the hands of people that enjoy robust flavors. This bottle is right on the cusp of low to medium in terms of price point, so it’s a delicious wine that you can serve to your customers at a decent markup. 

Shop Vesevo Aglianico Beneventano


Winter White Wine

Winter Wine Idea #5: Mayacamas Vineyards Chardonnay 2018

We’re ending the list with another white wine that is a tad fancier (read expensive) product than most others we’ve listed here. It’s firmly in the medium price range, and it comes with 14.5% ABV, and that’s a bit more of a kick than some other choices. While it is a white wine, this one does well with appetizers and dinner alike as long as the right combinations of flavors are present. This wine is rather popular with people that have a formidable cheese plate in front of them or a dinner that includes pork, fish, poultry, or salads. It’s a bold wine, but it’s balanced. You’ll find heavy notes of oak in this wine and it is often described as “grippy”, and the finish is long but not very intense. Your customers will love purchasing this when they come in for appetizers or dinner, so it’s a good white to have around for many reasons.

Shop Mayacamas Chardonnay

Finding the right holiday wines can be a daunting task for any bar or restaurant. After all, you want wines that will go with the most common dishes that are served during this time, but you don’t want to cast too wide a net and end up with an overstocked wine fridge. Fortunately, this list of wines that we’ve developed includes many products that work well with many different foods. From toasting with sparkling white wine to pairing with appetizers, dinners, and desserts, this list has a significant amount of versatility. Best of all, these delicious wines are not too expensive even at the highest price points on the list, so you can easily buy and serve each one for a fair markup!

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