Although it may seem intimidating to navigate your way through the vast world of wine, understanding its context in the kitchen and your restaurant can help you better pair wines with the meals you serve, enhance certain items on your menu, and offer broader drink options for your customers. There is an enormous variety when it comes to wine, from the grapes used to the region it comes from to its price, and you have many different options to fit the dining experience you want to provide.
If you want to become a little more familiar with how knowing your way around your wine cellar can be to your advantage during your career in culinary management, read on to find out more!
Culinary Professionals Know Gastronomy Can Also Include Wine
As a culinary manager, you have influence over many different aspects of your customers’ dining experience, from the food and drinks you serve to the ambiance of your restaurant and the service quality of your staff. Good food is one of the central components of a successful restaurant, and good gastronomy—the art or practice of eating good food—can help ensure you’re serving the best meal possible.
When it comes to culinary management in the kitchen, wine can actually be as useful of a culinary tool as salt or pepper. Alcohol helps bring out molecular compounds in food, which improves the taste as well as the smell. Wine is particularly useful in preparation techniques like a marinade, because it helps aromatics like garlic, herbs, and seasoning soak into the food, giving it more flavour and aroma. When using wine in a sauce, however, you should also make sure that you allow most of the alcohol to cook off—typically until the sauce is reduced by half—or you may find yourself having to list it on the adult beverage menu.
Wine is an Important Part of Restaurant Sales in a Culinary Management Career
Wine may make up more of a significant amount of your revenue than you think—in fact, between 2016 and 2017, Canadians spent more than $7 billion on wine, which means that you may see a customer ordering a glass or two during their meal.
Understanding how a restaurant operates is an important part of restaurant management courses, and wine plays a role in your overall sales, budget, and profit margins. When choosing your wine options, it’s important to consider a factor known as pour cost.
A pour cost is calculated by adding the cost of the product used, then dividing it by the cost it’s sold at. For instance, a bottle of wine that is purchased for $10 from the supplier but sold for $20 would have a pour cost percentage of 50%, which means that you pay half of every dollar your restaurant earns. Pour cost is a major factor in restaurant markup of alcoholic beverages, as a lower pour cost means your business spends less overall per unit of wine you serve.
A Working Knowledge of Wine Helps You Prepare Better Menu Pairings
Just like food, wine has flavour, weight, and nuance, which all contribute to the overall dining experience. The tannins in red wine, for instance, make it a perfect match for dishes that include red meat, but a red wine like Merlot shouldn’t be served with a dish that includes tomato sauce, as the naturally high acidity in tomatoes can overpower those in red wine.
A working knowledge of wine can help you understand which foods go with which type of wine, which can help you and your staff make recommendations or pairings. Often, many customers will simply make their choice based on the label or pick a wine that they already know they like. Offering a wine pairing with certain meals can help customers feel as if they are making an informed decision, which can encourage them to spend more in order to better enjoy their dining experience.