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Restaurant Sciences' Data Shows Significant Price Variance For Most Popular Wine Varietals by Glass

Consumers Select By Palate Rather Than Price as Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon Continue To Dominate
December 19, 2012

Newton, MA - (December 18, 2012) – Restaurant Sciences, a leading provider of restaurant industry information and analytics based on individual guest checks, today released the nation’s first-ever study of wine-by-the-glass consumption in United States restaurants, nightclubs and hotel bars. The data also shows how the average consumer can get the best value for wine by the glass across various dining establishments.

Restaurant Sciences analyzed a sample of 10 million wine purchases at family, casual, upscale and fine dining establishments along with samples from nightclubs and hotel bars throughout the U.S. The average pour by the glass was 6.18 ounces and displayed a range of prices. The data shows that the best overall values for consumers across all categories were Pinot Grigio and Zinfandel. Pinot Grigio cost $6.25 a glass at family dining establishments to upwards of $8.32 a glass at fine dining establishments. Zinfandel averaged $5.17 a glass at family dining restaurants upwards to $8.44 a glass at fine dining establishments.

The most popular wines by the glass were Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon respectively. Chardonnays ranged in price from $5.23 at casual dining places up to $12.25 a glass at fine dining locations, while Cabernet Sauvignon ranged from $5.10 a glass to $12.86 at fine establishments. In the sample guest checks, Chardonnay held a market share of nearly 45 percent of all white wines-by-the-glass, with Cabernet Sauvignon at 29 percent of all red-wines-by-the-glass.

Restaurant Sciences' data revealed that blended white and red varietals were just as pricy as “name brand” varietals such as Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir. At family dining restaurants, wines by the glass ranged from $5.10 a glass for Cabernet Sauvignon to $8.04 a glass for Pinot Gris, while fine dining establishments charged $8.32 for a glass of Pinot Grigio up to $14.55 a glass for Sangiovese. Consumers paid more across all categories for Pinot Gris versus Pinot Grigio. Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio are generally made from the same grape although grown in different regions. Ordering a glass of Pinot Grigio instead of Pinot Gris saved patrons an average of $1.90 across all establishments.

“Restaurant Sciences’ data shows varietals that were considered especially good values a few years ago, such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Noir, have now climbed in price and popularity to be directly comparable to their primary U.S. competitors, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, respectively,” said Chuck Ellis, president of Restaurant Sciences. “Consumers, however, were not concerned by prices per glass as three out of the four most popular wines were more expensive across the dining categories. Our data shows that red and white blends are increasing in popularity with a combined 8.75 market share and in some areas blends outperform name brand wines like Shiraz and Sangiovese.”

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Restaurant Sciences sampled 10 million restaurant/nightclub/hotel guest checks; all values shown have a Standard Error of less than 1.0%.

About Restaurant Sciences

Restaurant Sciences is the premier provider of syndicated data and insights on food and beverage consumption in restaurants, bars, nightclubs and other foodservice establishments. The company delivers market share, market basket, competitive analysis, pricing, promotional, trend, segmentation and custom analytics to food and beverage manufacturers and distributors, as well as the broader industry they serve. Restaurant Sciences transforms guest check-level information into detailed data and insights across all segments of the foodservice landscape. Insights are delivered online through their business intelligence tool or through custom analytics. Visit

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