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Restaurant bottle markup prices

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
How much do most upscale restaurants markup on wines? A cali cab, Clos Lachance was like $145 at a restaurant I recently, and I'm pretty sure I saw it sitting on a rack at a store for about $30. Whereas, if you look at a bottle of d'Yquem from the mid 90s, it's maybe around $400-500 (much more for an older vintage)? A bottle of 92 Cristal was around $800. (I couldn't remember the exact figures. Is there a law of diminishing markup as one climbs up the quality ladder?
post #2 of 19
I remember reading that they mark up 300% from wholesale. I think retail is generally 30%-50% above wholesale, you can do the math. Not a great buy - unless you're on an expense account.
post #3 of 19
Wine is normally marked up 75-150% from retail, which may be 150-300% from wholesale, as it is normally 50% or so. Some restaurants mark up wine much less than others, and there is a law of diminishing returns, it's unlikely you'll be able to mark up say, a 85 DRC Romanee Conti 150% from its $10k retail to $25k, and you don't need to, to make a good amount of money as the restaurant likely paid less than $1k for it.
post #4 of 19
Quote:
I remember reading that they mark up 300% from wholesale.  I think retail is generally 30%-50% above wholesale, you can do the math.  Not a great buy - unless you're on an expense account.
this is the norm according to an employee working for us that was at one time a bar owner, maybe if they marked up a little less, he would still be an owner
post #5 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Wine is normally marked up 75-150% from retail, which may be 150-300% from wholesale, as it is normally 50% or so.  Some restaurants mark up wine much less than others, and there is a law of diminishing returns, it's unlikely you'll be able to mark up say, a 85 DRC Romanee Conti 150% from its $10k retail to $25k, and you don't need to, to make a good amount of money as the restaurant likely paid less than $1k for it.
How do restaurants get insanely expensive wine at such low rates? Would someone buying in bulk benefit in the same way? Drizzt, I know you own valuable vintages, how much quantity are you looking at when going for wholesale prices?
post #6 of 19
The reasons for the high prices for DRC are inflation and supply/demand, most of those restaurants bought upon release, at wholesale prices. Currently the wine retails for ~$2000-3000 depending on the source, for the 2002 vintage, in 1988 the 1985 vintage likely sold for less than $1k, I imagine restaurants can get it slightly south of the $2k mark that I mentioned before, but as it turned out that 1985 was a monumental vintage, as the supply got smaller with people drinking and the demand grew through word of mouth and favorable reviews, the price rose.
post #7 of 19
Recently in Ontario, they started letting people bring their own wine to restaurants. The restaurants would have to sign up for a BYOW licence, and they'd be able to charge a corkage fee to patrons who bring their own bottles. The corkage fees are in the range of $10-15 I think. I don't know if it's very popular yet, but at least you can save the markup on an expensive wine, and share a favourite wine from your own collection. I know that some countries in Europe have this. Is there anything like this in the US?
post #8 of 19
I have done this at a few places in the U.S. The general rule that I have encountered is that you can bring your own bottle and pay a corkage fee only if the bottle is not on the restaurant's wine list.
post #9 of 19
As GQ mentioned, sometimes you can't bring wines on their list, which isn't usually hard as you can always bring older vintages which makes it very difficult for the restaurant to have. Usually corkage fees are $15-20 but at nicer restaurants, they can be more, sometimes much more. I paid $75/btl at Per Se and French Laundry, but in that case it was worth it as the wines in question were a 85 DRC Richebourg and a 90 Margaux (in mag). Some states do not allow BYO at all.
post #10 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
As GQ mentioned, sometimes you can't bring wines on their list, which isn't usually hard as you can always bring older vintages which makes it very difficult for the restaurant to have.  Usually corkage fees are $15-20 but at nicer restaurants, they can be more, sometimes much more.  I paid $75/btl at Per Se and French Laundry, but in that case it was worth it as the wines in question were a 85 DRC Richebourg and a 90 Margaux (in mag).   Some states do not allow BYO at all.
Is the Richebourg the same wine that the Asian sommelier has in Sideways?
post #11 of 19
Well, yes and no. In the movie it is a DRC Richebourg, however, in the book, it's a Jadot Richebourg, which is not the same thing. Domane de Romanee Conti makes several burgundies in the Vosne Romanee: Romanee St. Vivant Richebourg La Tache Echeseaux Montrachet Grands Echeseaux and finally, Romanee Conti, which is the most expensive and presumably the best. I have about a case and a half of DRC stuff including 3 RCs, which I was fortunate enough to inherit. While they were quite expensive in the 70s and 80s ($200-600/btl) the prices are just astronomical now, about $300-500 for the "entry level" la tache, rsv, and ech, $600-1k for the richebourg and $3500 for the RC. Much of the appreciation is euro-related, at least in the past 2-4 years.
post #12 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Well, yes and no.  In the movie it is a DRC Richebourg, however, in the book, it's a Jadot Richebourg, which is not the same thing.  Domane de Romanee Conti makes several burgundies in the Vosne Romanee: Romanee St. Vivant Richebourg La Tache Echeseaux Montrachet Grands Echeseaux and finally, Romanee Conti, which is the most expensive and presumably the best. I have about a case and a half of DRC stuff including 3 RCs, which I was fortunate enough to inherit.  While they were quite expensive in the 70s and 80s ($200-600/btl) the prices are just astronomical now, about $300-500 for the "entry level" la tache, rsv, and ech, $600-1k for the richebourg and $3500 for the RC.  Much of the appreciation is euro-related, at least in the past 2-4 years.
Really. What are the current "bargain" burgundies? The ones on or around $100/bottle?
post #13 of 19
I would say that there's a lot of good entry-level Burgundy in the $20-25 range. A few years ago, it was clustered around $20, but the Euro, and a few short vintages... Best bets-- reds and whites from 2002. Try the less acclaimed villages (Savigny-les-Beaune, Auxey-Duresses, etc.), and look for either the top-drawer large producers, or a handful of specialists that your excellent retailer will have a handle on. Burgundy Wine Company in NY is most helpful, here.
post #14 of 19
The words bargain and burgundy do not belong in the same sentence without the modifier "is not" If you are interested in the style, you might look to Oregon pinots, which are pretty decent, and also some Central Coast pinots, especially Arcadian. I think Burgundy is another wine that generally needs to be aged quite a bit to be great (although not quite as much as bordeaux) and while I enjoy my DRCs as much as the next person, if I had $700 sitting around I would likely be more inclined to purchase 2 cases of $30 California or Oregon pinot than one single bottle of Richebourg.
post #15 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
The words bargain and burgundy do not belong in the same sentence without the modifier "is not" If you are interested in the style, you might look to Oregon pinots, which are pretty decent, and also some Central Coast pinots, especially Arcadian.   I think Burgundy is another wine that generally needs to be aged quite a bit to be great (although not quite as much as bordeaux) and while I enjoy my DRCs as much as the next person, if I had $700 sitting around I would likely be more inclined to purchase 2 cases of $30 California or Oregon pinot than one single bottle of Richebourg.
I'm asking because at my liquor store in the mall complex downstairs, the wine selection isn't so impressive. Most of anything from Bordeaux is and Burgundy is under a certain price range, like under $100. Which is why I was asking. I can take the metro to the big store with a lot of selection, but most days I don't have that time. Another question, is a bottle of Mouton De Phillipe de Rothschild of the previous year supposed to cost only $20? Given that the Mouton de Rothschild label is one of the flagships of Bordeaux, I was kind of surprised. Might I be looking at a different estate completely? The bottle looks similar to the insanely priced vintages that I've tried at home.
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