Why are wines so overpriced in restaurants?

Consumption - expensive wine in the restaurant: these are the margins that the hosts serve up

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"Kassensturz" compared the restaurant prices of 60 wines with those at retailers. Conclusion: When looking at the wine menu, many a restaurant visitor could lose their thirst, because landlords charge a multiple of the purchase price for a wine bottle.

Author: Lea Schüpbach, Adrian Zehnder, Maria Kressbach

"Kassensturz" compared the restaurant prices of 60 wines with those at retailers. Conclusion: When looking at the wine menu, many a restaurant visitor could lose their thirst, because landlords charge a multiple of the purchase price for a wine bottle.

For most people, a good glass of wine is part of their meal in a restaurant. But how much can such a wine cost? And what does the landlord earn from it? "Kassensturz" studied the wine lists of ten Swiss restaurants from different cantons and compared the prices with the offers on the Internet, at specialist dealers or in retail outlets.

Up to five times as expensive as in the store

An example: A Chardonnay Cap Cette 2014 from southern France costs 62 francs in a restaurant in downtown Zurich. The same wine is available from the Sélection Schwander specialist shop for CHF 11.90. So the drop costs five times as much in a restaurant! However, “Kassensturz” also finds wines that only cost twice as much in restaurants as in stores. Overall, the sample with 60 wines shows that the fine drop in the restaurant costs around three times as much. How do the hosts calculate?

«Kassensturz» asks Bindella. The company operates around 40 restaurants throughout Switzerland and also sells the wines that they serve in Bindella restaurants in its own wine shop. Manager Geri Theiler explains the calculation using an example: “Chardonnay Lageder costs 45 francs in the restaurant, and 14.50 francs in our vinotheque. With VAT, that's a surcharge of 28 francs. We need it for our services to the guest in the restaurant. "

Cross-subsidization does not always work

In the Bindella restaurants this wine costs three times as much. The factor is smaller for the more expensive wines. But the fact remains that wine drinkers pay too much at the cash register in the restaurant. And that's a tiresome subject. In the past, the Swiss Innkeepers Association even made recommendations on restaurant wine prices.

Top chef Herbert Huber recalls: “The landlord was able to read about the minimum price with a factor in a special booklet. But you had to be careful when recommending that it was not anti-cartel ». But the calculation according to which the wine should cross-subsidize the food does not work out for him: “That was a big mistake, because less was drunk and therefore less wine was sold. Ergo, there was less money available to cross-subsidize. " The kitchen is the most expensive service and must and should have its price. "This is also accepted by the guest."

Apps and Zapfengeld as an alternative

Selling wine more cheaply and food more expensively is something the Master of Wine Philippe Schwander doesn't think much of. He thinks that wine should have its price in restaurants if the landlord offers good advice: “Landlords who don't know much about wine tend to sell the wine too dearly. I once saw a restaurateur who sold a Mouton Cadet - a cheap branded wine for around 10 francs - for 150 francs. "

If you don't want to pay an x-fold for a good bottle in a restaurant, it is best to stick to these tips:

  • Use apps on your smartphone that spit out the current wine prices (see link box).
  • Bring the wine from home. Some landlords charge a cone for this. It is best to ask briefly before you go to a restaurant. You can find out more about this in the "Espresso" article.

Extract from the "Kassensturz" comparison:

restaurant
WinePrice on the wine list (CHF)
Retail price (CHF)
factor
Surcharge in CHF
Foundry, Zurich-Oerlikon
Pinot Gris 2014, 68 (Simon Krebs, Twann)
68.00
19.00
3,649.00

Merlot Arzo 2011 (Gialdi, Mendrisio)
87.00
31.002,856.00
Rubino, Basel
Chardonnay 2014 (Henri Cruchon, Morges)
59.40
22.00
2,7
37.40

Fendant de Vetroz 2014 AOC VS (Serge Roh, Chasselas)54.00
12.50
4,3
41.50
Bern rose garden
Champanel Grand cru AOC 2014 (Henri Cruchon, Morges)
49.00
13.50
3,6
35.50

Dogaia Rosso del Ticino DOC 2012 (Guido Brivio, Mendrisio)
65.00
29.80
2,2
35.20
National, Winterthur
La Chaille Cornalin 2013 Valais AOC (La Rodeline, Fully)
78.0038.002,140.00
Irchelgold Cabernet Jura 2013/14 (Brandenberger, Berg a.I.)
49.0016.003,133.00
Centro, Lucerne
Chardonnay AOC du Valais 2013 (Jacques Germanier, Abbaye de Vétroz)
45.5011.504,034.00
Chardonnay first choice 2014 (Florin winery)
58.0026.902,231.10
Bindella Santa Lucia, Winterthur
Amarone Riserva di Costasera 2009 A55
88.0042.00
2,146.00
Brunello 2010 (Castello Banfi)
78.0035.002,243.00
Ship, Rheinfelden
Margaret River Fraser Gallop 2009 (Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot) Australia
67.0021.353,145.65
Bordeaux Château d'Aiguilhe 2006 (Count of Neipperg)
84.0029.102,954.90
Hotel Widder, Zurich
Chardonnay Cap Cette 2014 Pays d'Oc IPG Languedoc
62.0011.905,250,10

Château Phélan Ségur 2006 Cru Bourgeois Exceptionnel99.0062.001,537.00
Hotel Leuenhof, Schneisigen
Roero Arneis DOC La Villat 2014
52.0013.903,738.10
Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Castello Romitorio 2010
88.0044.002,044.00
Laudinella, St. Moritz
Pinot Grigio Terre di Ger 2014, Friuli 39.008.354,730.65
Chorey Les Beaune 2007 Domaine Guyon, Pinot Noir Burgundy
65.00
35.001,930.00

«Espresso Aha!» on the subject:

  • «Espresso Aha!»: Does bad red wine stain the teeth more strongly?

    Many are familiar with this phenomenon: you drink a glass of red wine and then look like a vampire. The teeth and lips are discolored blue-violet. Where does it come from? Peter Schmied from Oberburg (BE) asked this question: "Espresso Aha!" posed. He is also wondering whether this only happens when the wines are bad.

  • Red wine makes you tired, white wine makes you wake up - is that right?

    It is said that red and white wine have different effects on the body. Georg Jahn wants «Espresso Aha!» know if there is a reason for it. Or is it all just made up? What is in the wine that could trigger this effect? Opinions differ.

  • Does the size of the wine bottle play a role?

    Wine is mostly sold in 0.75 liter bottles. But there are practically all sizes in the trade. Magnum bottles with twice as much content are also popular. «Espresso Aha!» asks in which case it makes sense to buy wine in a large or small bottle.

  • Is wine inedible if shaken?

    Off to the New Year's Eve party with a good bottle in your luggage. Shaken up over hill and dale on the bike rack or in your backpack on the hiking tour. Does the good drop forgive that? «Espresso Aha!» says which rules must be observed when transporting red and white wine.

Radio tip:

Open the box Close the box

But one old braid has almost been forgotten: the cone money. It can be worthwhile to ask the host about it. More

Wine apps

Open the box Close the box

Take a picture of the bottle label via the app and the most important information including the price will be delivered. Here are two examples of such an app:

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  • Comment from Heinz Wälti, 4556 Bolken
    No landlord is still counting on factors, but has been making contributions for a long time. It is really no longer below CHF 30 per bottle. Assumption: 4 guests meet in the restaurant. Chatting and having fun for the next 2 hours. Use the infrastructure, go to the toilet and quickly read the view from the host. For this, everyone scrolls after 2 hours. 10.50 Fr. there or per hour 5.25 Fr. For this amount, the landlord offers you a bottle of wine worth CHF 42.
    Agree Agree to the comment Select answers to reply to the comment
  • Commentary by Sepp Blatter, Visp
    Calculate: 40 francs surcharge: 4 people at one table = 10 francs GROSS PROFIT per person. Equal value: 2-3 hours stay in the restaurant including service, table linen, dishes, furniture, toilets and all the trimmings ... Well, that must really be a great deal. I think I'll open a bar too!
    Agree Agree to the comment Select answers to reply to the comment
  • Comment by Nathlaie Weber, Bern
    I also worked in a rather shabby pub, where we had 5dl of a red wine on offer for 65.- while at the Coop in the same village, the 7.5dl version of the same vintage was available for 12.-. And with us the wine was "heated up" over the coffee machine.
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