There are so many things to consider, it can be easy to become overwhelmed.

Ask yourself the following: What are your objectives? What is your price point? Your wine list has to be in line with your objectives and your food program prices.

A photo by Jassy Onyae. cuisine do you have? Are you dealing with all kinds of spices, do you need special wines to offset the spiciness? Is your sommelier truly on your team? They should not be there to do a funky, esoteric wine program that only they can hand sell. They need to be in line with your goals, they should be customer service oriented, they must be able to read numbers, show profits and be in control of inventory.

Be creative definitely, but first and foremost in line with your customers. Sommeliers are there to serve the customer, to work with your team on the floor, and to make money. You can make really good returns on a wine program if you do it properly.

Be genuinely in tune with your customers, don’t oversell. Focus on what it is they actually want to drink, not what you want to drink, steer customers in the right direction, work within their budgets, build trust and return business will follow. Then people open up and will try something new. Wine and craft beer are on the rise as a percentage of sales in North America.

We’re in a really good place and time to be part of it. Present information in an open, comfortable environment. That’s how you sell wine.

Read the full article, A Master Sommelier and a Master Cicerone walked into a bar… from the first edition of MENU magazine here.