Answers to the Age-Old Question: What Makes a "Good" Wine List?
by certified Sommelier Elizabeth Schneider
As wine becomes more popular, it seems like every restaurant touts its unique, boutique wine list.
I’ve got to be honest — I have no idea what that means.
What I do know is that more often than not, nothing is exclusive about these lists. Except for the very top echelon, I find that restaurants frequently get good deals from distributors and buy things from them based on price. Wine buyers often would rather peddle big brands than take a risk on adding some cool stuff that their servers may need to know about and "hand sell" you on (which is what we want because it expands our repertoire of wine). This is hardly "boutique" or "unique."
And although wine is a subjective topic — what you like and what I like are totally based on our individual taste preferences and palates — I’d argue that there are certain guidelines for what constitutes a "good" wine list for most everyone.