Consumerwatch: Are restaurants over-charging consumers for wine?
Published Monday, June 24, 2013 2:30PM CST
Restauranter Chris Fougere’s eatery is called Fude but he says he also prides himself on his wines.
“We really try to find wines people haven’t heard of or haven’t seen before,” he said.
The bottles on his list range in price from less than $30 to more than $100.
“You pay for the nice glasses you put it in, you pay for the training of the staff. And for the environment, obviously,” said Fougere.
CTV looked at wine lists from a dozen restaurants around Winnipeg and found markups ranging from 50 to more than 100 per cent.
As an example, a bottle of Peter Dennis Shiraz retails for around $27 but one restaurant is charging more than double that price and has it listed for $56.
A bottle of Peter Lehman Shiraz is $13 on the shelf but can be as much as $40 at a restaurant table.
“I’ve seen four times the retail price, which to me is a little silly,” said Tim Bima of Winehouse.
His company supplies wine to more than 40 restaurants around the city and he says restaurants pay the standard retail price when purchasing wine.
“If wine X is $10, it has to be $10 everywhere, whether it’s the MLCC or my store, those prices are fixed,” he said.
Nicolino’s owner Nick Zifarelli says he tries to keep his wine prices reasonable.
“There’s no fooling the customer anymore,” he said, “20 years ago, people would just buy a $10 bottle, mark it up to $45 and nobody knows any different.
He said he doesn’t reward people for ordering the cheapest bottle on the list.
In fact, he said, it’s often marked up the highest.
“$25 and higher, we are 100 per cent markup, which is really standard,” he said, “As we go higher, the markup comes down to 30 or 40 per cent only.”
Back at Fude, Fougere says his customers are also paying for the expertise that comes with knowing what wine pairs best with which menu items.
“We’re going to doing everything in our power to disuade you from making the wrong choice,” he said, “Your favourite wine is not necessarily the best wine you should have with said food item.”
And at an average of $9 per glass at most Winnipeg restaurants, that knowledge does not come cheap.
-with a report from Karen Rocznik