Why Restaurants Need to Go Big for Holiday Wine Pairings
Even if it’s not Thanksgiving Day, diners who walk into your restaurant in November probably have hearty food on the mind—mashed potatoes drizzled with gravy, cranberries accented with orange peel, and roast turkey just out of the oven. Root vegetables, such as sweet potatoes, and Brussels sprouts are also in perfect pitch from the late-autumn season and into December. And the focus naturally swings to sweet as well, whether that means a customer springing for dessert or opting for a side sauce with sweeter flavors to augment meat or fish. In other words, the richer the better!
When orchestrating a full-service experience, wine and beverage pairings should not be forgotten—in fact, they should be accentuated. During the holiday season, there is a tendency to “go big,” to be open to surprises, and wine should also rise to this occasion.
This celebratory time of year affords an opportunity to stray from the expected by offering lesser-known pairings that sparkle and demonstrate your wine knowledge. Instead of a dry-style rosé, how about French Beaujolais? In lieu of a Napa Cab how about a Spanish Grenache? And because food and indulgence are on everyone’s mind, this is also a time when patrons are more open to multi-course wine pairings, which can result in a higher check.
Thanksgiving through December, the focus remains on the hearty rich foods traditionally served at holiday gatherings. Items like cakes and cookies, or platters with varied foods all tied together by a single theme (think salmon three ways or a charcuterie platter matched with preserves and foie gras). Maybe you’re planning a menu of comfort foods centered around a pasta, or maybe your restaurant caters to private parties. Whatever the celebration, this is the season to unwrap the power of wine pairings: