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Rail Paul

Am I crazy? (Wine buying and restaurant wine ordering)

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I have a personal preference to spend $25 or less on bottles of wine purchased in wine stores, etc. I may occasionally grant myself a special dispensation to reach all the way to $35 or even $50 for a wine that is considered exceptional. Some purchases from Amanti Vino meet that criteria.

 

But, in restaurants, I seem to be willing to spend $60 or so without serious examination of conscience. Maybe even $75-$80 for a wine or wine maker I'm interested in trying.

 

Even allowing for the usual mark ups in restaurants, this does seem screwy. If I'm willing to pay $70 for a bottle in a restaurant, but not willing to pay $40 for the same bottle to drink at home, etc, that does suggest some brain cells aren't functioning. My wife prefers this explanation.

 

This has particular relevance in New Jersey, where many / most restaurants are BYO, and there are a lot of fine wine stores.

 

 

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You could justify it by saying the food at restaurants is sufficiently better than at home to warrant a significantly better wine.

 

But I don't know that I'd give that explanation to Dee.

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You could justify it by saying the food at restaurants is sufficiently better than at home to warrant a significantly better wine.

 

But I don't know that I'd give that explanation to Dee.

 

That's definitely an aspect, but the BYO angle undermines it.

 

If I buy a bottle of wine for $25 and bring it to a BYO with a superb chef, etc how do I justify paying $75 for a similar bottle on a wine list at a similarly superb chef's place?

 

Dee prefers the explanation that I am crazy, since this is another piece of evidence...

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Not being as invested in the issue as Dee, I generally consider you one of the less crazy people I know. So we have to find another explanation.

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Similar, some people think it's nuts to spend $25 per lb on prime dry aged bone in rib steak to cook at home but don't hesitate to spend $69 bucks for a worse quality one at Del Friscos.

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There's also the "Restaurant As Special Occasion" angle -- which applies even to such frequent diners as us.

 

(ETA -- That can also explain the Del Frisco's thing.) (Not that any of us would eat at Del Frisco's.)

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Similar, some people think it's nuts to spend $25 per lb on prime dry aged bone in rib steak to cook at home but don't hesitate to spend $69 bucks for a worse quality one at Del Friscos.

 

That's an almost exact analogy.

 

I'll have to use it to show Dee I'm not crazy.

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I think it's a matter of supporting the establishment by buying their booze. Businesses have to make a profit to survive and prosper and are presumably including a slice of profit from their drinks in the average take per head.

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Is it also partly just ingrained expectations? Aren't we long inure to knowing what we'll be charged if we don't or can't BYO?

 

Eta: but I now see that doesn't really answer the question.

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I think the thinking may go that once you accept that you're going to be somewhat fleeced whatever you drink, you might as well be hung for a sheep as for a goat (to mix a metaphor disturbingly).

 

Also, we've all heard that the mark-ups get lighter the higher up you go. So it might seem sensible not to stay near the bottom of the price list.

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Also, we've all heard that the mark-ups get lighter the higher up you go. So it might seem sensible not to stay near the bottom of the price list.

 

Yet we've also heard that on some wines lists, that end is where you find some real gems.

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The low end of the list might have some real gems but the markup will still be stiff. It just means the wholesale price for it is really low.

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Yes, and one reason is consumer psychology, and the difficulty of selling a wine which is too cheap for the level of restaurant. This is the one charitable reason for finding wines which should sell at $8 a glass prices at $12-$15. Customers fear an $8 glass will be nasty.

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