Digital wine lists are cropping up in restaurants all over the world as restaurants have began storing their wine lists on iPads. Like traditional wine lists, the iPads are handed out to diners.
The New York Times interviewed a number of restaurateurs who have been experimenting with transferring their traditional wine menus to the digital platform, the paper claims the device has lead to a 10% rise in wine sales.
As well as increased sales, the restaurants benefit from not having to turn out new print runs of their menus when there are changes to price or stock, and can keep the information totally up to date; an effective management tool. Furthermore, the list can be broken down by the customer in a myriad of ways, according to style, price, country, grape and food pairings. They can also include tasting notes, scores and, in the case of the Ballymaloe hotel in County Cork, Ireland, short videos of featured winemakers talking about their products.
The iPad’s form carries the gravitas of a wine menu with its weight, size and respectability. It does raise some questions though… One fear is that the use of iPads would make the role of sommeliers redundant. However, the head sommelier at Bone’s in Atlanta, Robert Reno, admitted that many guests still wanted a word of encouragement and advice from his staff once they had made their choice.
The iPad certainly makes selecting a bottle of wine more interesting than a paper wine list and is a new experience for customers. Numerous restaurants around the world have adopted the concept and I would predict that many more will soon follow…