Tips for a Good (Tassie) Wine List

Presented by Wine Tasmania – with a little bit of bias towards our island's outstanding tipples.

The Wines

When developing a wine list, it is advisable to consider which wines that are appropriate for your venue, taking into consideration cuisine, location and style. This doesn't have to be a complicated task and a few basic guidelines can be taken into consideration.

  • It doesn’t have to be exclusively Tasmanian wine on offer.
  • Regardless of the cuisine, location and style of your venue, consider the diversity of your offering including:
    • Different varieties
    • Different vintages
    • Different producers, with a focus on local producers if your venue is located near vineyards
    • Range of pricing - give people a choice of cheaper to more expensive wines

The Wine List

When preparing to display the wine list at your venue, we recommend doing a check of the following;

  • Always list the vintage of each wine – it makes a difference!
  • Check for spelling mistakes (and then check two more times).
  • Try to categorise wines to help your customers, as they may not be familiar with particular varieties and styles or some of the local wines. For example:
    • List by variety, then vintage, then producer, then price
    • List by style – group by crisp & refreshing, bold & buttery, rich & robust
    • List by wine ‘weight’ – from lighter wines to more full bodied wines
  • Provide some simple information to also help your customers choose their wine:
    • Consider a brief tasting note (this will be available from each producer)
    • List a recommended wine (or two) alongside each menu item

The Experience

  • Provide your staff with wine training, including both formal and informal tastings with wine representatives, as well as visits to vineyards and cellar doors where possible.
  • Make sure your staff have tasted the wines on your list and can therefore talk about and recommend them with confidence. It’s always a good idea to taste wines with recommended food/menu matches.
  • Provide a ‘cheat sheet’ for staff. This can include suggestions for wine matches with your key menu items, tasting notes for each wine and information about the wine producer/s.

A Tasmanian Focus

  • More and more people are travelling to Tasmania specifically to enjoy our wines – to visit our cellar doors as well as to enjoy our local restaurants – so you have a very important role to play!
  • Include a selection of our local wines on your list, particularly varieties in which we specialise such as sparkling, riesling, chardonnay and pinot noir.
  • Look for diversity in your Tasmanian wine offering across producers, varieties and vintages. Even if you source the majority of your wines via a distributor, most local wine producers are willing and able to sell directly to licensed premises at wholesale.
  • Have a section or page of your wine list which highlights the local wines that you offer, or alternatively list the Tasmanian wines first in each of the varietal sections of your wine list.
  • Provide some simple information to help your customers choose their local (Tasmanian) wine:
    • Include an introduction to Tasmania, its wines and why they are so good (view some general information on our website here and here, our infographic comparing Tasmania to the rest of the country here or let us know if you’d like any further information)
    • Include a map of the seven Tasmanian wine growing areas (available from Wine Tasmania here)
    • Reference the relevant wine growing area alongside each wine in your list
  • Take your staff to visit vineyards, taste wines and learn about wines – most local vineyards are more than happy to have you visit (or contact Wine Tasmania if you’d like assistance with organising a visit or tasting).
  • Invite local producers to conduct a tasting with your key staff – they will be more than happy to help.
  • Keep an eye out for wine tasting opportunities and encourage staff to attend as may be relevant, taste wines and meet local producers (Effervescence Tasmania, Great Eastern Wine Week, Festivale).
  • Display copies of the Tasmania’s Wine Trails publication here or A3 wine touring map here (printed copies available from Wine Tasmania at no charge)
  • Encourage customers to visit local cellar doors – find the cellar doors near you at our Wine Trails page.
  • Partner with a local wine producer to present themed dinners – producers will happily attend events and talk about their wines with attendees.
  • Utilise these infographics and resources in your staff training (© Wine Tasmania).
  • Chat to Wine Tasmania about any other ideas – say hello and get in touch here.

Wine Tasmania