Best City to Drink Wine On-Premise, Try Boston

August 15, 2012 § 2 Comments

I admit to liking Boston, it is one of my favorite cities in the U.S. But that is just an opinion, something we prefer not to engage in.  Winemetrics deals only in facts, so it is a bold statement to say that Boston is the best place to drink wine. Let me further define best as the the opportunity to drink the finest wine at the lowest prices for the widest audience of wine drinkers. So how would we objectively determine this?

To objectively measure wine list pricing, we created the Winemetrics Price Index (WPI). In our surveys we divide restaurants into Casual, Upscale Casual and Fine Dining segments and we selected 25 of the most commonly found wines in each segment as our benchmark wines.  We then determined their average price (each segment had different benchmarks although there was some overlap) and  compared each restaurant’s benchmark pricing with this average and created an index. We then took the indexes and averaged those to determine the WPI, which we have included for each chain in our 2011-12 Chain Restaurant Report. Since an index of 100 is average, you start to take notice of WPIs in the 80s and certainly when they fall into the 70’s and 60s. So we did a query and found that the Boston area had 3 of the 10 chains with WPIs of 80 or lower. In order of appearance (lowest WPI first)  Legal Seafood, Joe”s American Bar & Grill and Not Your Average Joe’s, all based in the Boston area, all scored in this range, representing the largest concentration of such restaurants in the nation.  

Putting the numbers aside, what does this mean in actual value for dollar spent? It means that I am paying $50 for a bottle (all 750ml prices) of Veuve Clicquot Brut NV at Not Your Average Joe’s, $49 for a bottle for Shafer Merlot at Legal Seafood and $85 for a bottle of Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon at Joe’s American Bar & Grill.  Having eaten at all of these chains, I could also make some recommendations about the food, but that would be an opinion, something we will leave to the legion of restaurant bloggers.

By the way, Winemetrics is not stopping at the WPI, shortly we will release our Wine List Report Card, objectively evaluating restaurant wine lists in 7 categories and providing an A through E evaluation (no 100 point score here). Look for it at – FYI, there is no grading curve.

Argentina Wines Surge in Chain Restaurants

August 15, 2012 § 1 Comment

We reported that Argentina wines had increased BTB distribution on-premise around 20% in Winemetrics 2011 On-Premise Wine Distribution Report. No big surprise there, Malbec, which accounts for nearly 3/4 of Argentina’s on-premise distribution. is a crowd-pleaser. But it took the creation of our 2011-12 Chain Restaurant Report to quantify the scope of Argentina’s distribution and popularity. Of the 160 chains profiled in our survey, 124 have one or more wines from Argentina. That is more than Australia (119), New Zealand (109), France (108) or Chile (75). In fact, only the U.S. (160) and Italy (151) have wider distribution.  So while many chains believe they can build a wine list without Australian Shiraz, New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc or French Champagne,omitting Argentina is, for the majority, non-negotiable.

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