Bottoms Up

Beer and wine in the Bay Area and beyond

Top wines ordered in U.S. restaurants

By Jessica Yadegaran
Friday, August 17th, 2007 at 1:44 pm in Uncategorized.

Kendall Jackson 2004 Cab Sauv

Just read an interesting report about wine sold in restaurants. In the U.S., restaurants are most likely to feature California wines that sell for less than $39 a bottle, according to Winemetrics LLC.

The start-up research firm’s first annual “On-Premise Wine Distribution Report” was released yesterday. It ranks the nation’s top 100 wine brands based on the frequency of their inclusion on restaurant wine lists.

Topping the list: Beringer (eh), Kendall-Jackson, (eh again) and Robert Mondavi (go for the Reserve). In fourth and fifth place, respectively, are Beaulieu Vineyard (woohoo!) and Washington state’s Chateau Ste. Michelle. I downed their Chard at my friend Elizabeth’s wedding in June. Good stuff.

Winemetrics’ data was gathered from over 10,000 casual and fine-dining restaurants in 20 states. Upscale restaurants obviously had more extensive lists. The study was generated partly because many consumers buy wine based on what they taste at restaurants.

I remember, when Jenny and I were living in San Luis Obispo, we ordered Wild Horse Merlot at every restaurant. These days, I’m much more likely to order a Spanish Cava, sparkling rose, or a Gruner Veltliner. Something that goes really well with food. Anyway, I digress.

Anyway, back to the study. U.S. consumers spent $24.3 billion on wine in 2005, with $11.8 billion coming from restaurants and bars.

The top 100 list is dominated by U.S. producers, with most coming from California. There are also 15 wine makers from France, seven from Italy, two from Australia and one from Chile.

Other brands near the top of the list include Caymus and Cakebread as well as Sterling Vineyards, Veuve Clicquot, and Fortune Brands Inc.’s Clos du Bois. Major eh for the latter. All the others? Fab wines.

According to the sample, the largest portion of wines consumed in restaurants sell for between $25 and $39 per bottle, according to the report. Those bottles would cost $13 to $19 at retail.

Red wines outnumber whites by a ratio of two to one, with Cabernet Sauvignon edging out Chardonnay for the top variety. Pinot Noir was the second most common type of red wine listed. And Merlot was third even thought it far outsells Pinot Noir in volume.

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  • swirlingnotions

    Hey now, Clos du Bois makes some fantastic higher tier wines! Their appellation reserves showcase the quintessential varietals (and some more unusual ones, but nonetheless well suited to growing here) for each of the three appellations in Northern Sonoma County (Dry Creek Valley, Alexander Valley and Russian River Valley, and their Briarcrest (Cabernet Sauvignon), Calcaire (Chardonnay) and Marlstone (Bordeaux blend) reserves are superb.

  • Jessica

    Hey Swirling Notions — true dat. Thank the wine gods for higher tier brands.