10 Ways to Sell More Wine


The holidays create excellent opportunities for servers to suggest and sell more wine and champagne. Use your pre-shift team meeting to introduce new ideas to sell more wine and champagne, and do quick role-play exercises to practice the strategies. Below are 10 Ways to Sell More Wine to get you started, and be sure to download and print the free poster to use as a visual aid in your training.

  1. “Pre-sell” bottles of wine or champagne when guests call in to make reservations for special events: “You’d like to make a reservation for 10 for your company party? Great! Would you like a bottle of champagne chilling for you at your table when you arrive?”
  2. Use the good spirits of your guests, especially during the holiday season, to sell more wine and champagne. For example: “Well, it looks like everyone here is celebrating the company Christmas party! Since you’ve all worked hard this year, you deserve to start with a bottle of wine or champagne. Which can I bring you?”
  3. Point out how the wine or champagne will complement your the guests’ entree or meal selection. “We’re featuring Sullivan Chardonnay this evening, and it would go nicely with your lobster dinners. Shall I bring you a bottle?”
  4. Assume the second bottle sale. As you pour out the remainder of the first bottle into your party’s glass, ask: “Would you like me to bring you another bottle now or would you like to wait until I bring your entrees?”
  5. People remember the first thing you say. Offer a wine or champagne selection first in your opening dialogue, perhaps suggesting a glass of champagne as an aperitif to a bottle of wine: “May I offer you a glass of wine or champagne? This evening we’re featuring Asbury Cabernet. We also have a wonderful special on champagne. Both are available by the glass or bottle. Which can I bring you?”
  6. Offer your guest a choice of at least two wines or champagnes: “Tonight we’re featuring the award-winning White Zinfandel and Carta Nevada Brut champagne. Both would complement your steak and pasta nicely. Which can I bring you?”
  7. Use your “props” — wine lists, menus, table tents, bottles of wine and even guests enjoying wine at nearby tables — to help suggest wine or champagne to your customers. Hosts and hostesses should point out wine and champagne selections on the menu as they seat every guest. Hand your guests the wine list and say: “We have a great variety of wine. Our featured selection this evening is the Cabernet Sauvignon.”
  8. Plant the “seed” for second bottle sales of wine and champagne. After pouring the wine or champagne, return the bottle to the bucket and wrap the towel around the bucket ring so guests can see the bottle itself and think of ordering another bottle. Say: “I’ll go ahead and put another bottle on ice for you while you enjoy this one.”
  9. For guests who may be the designated driver or choose not to have an alcohol beverage, be sure to suggest a non-alcohol wine. “Instead of coffee, if you’d like, I could bring you a glass of great-tasting non-alcohol wine that’s really popular.”
  10. Selling wine and champagne is the #1 is way to create a better dining experience for guests. There is no quicker way to double your tips and put more cash in your pocket. Suggest your favorites to every guest! Remember, you miss 100% of the shots you never take!

Restaurant Service and Sales Training

The Service & Sales Excellence Waitstaff Training Series is based on Service That Sells!, a restaurant training philosophy developed by restaurant owners for restaurant owners. Click here to learn more.

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