The ‘One-Price’ Approach to Restaurant Wines

Sommelier Chris Baggetta has come up with an unusual, if not unique, idea for the wine list at San Francisco’s Cotogna restaurant.

Not that she really needed to. After all, the restaurant has a lot going for it…

The main list leans heavily toward selections from northern Italy, and regardless of the maker, the varietal or the vintage, each bottle costs $40 and each glass costs $10. (There are a handful of “reserve” wines priced higher, and featured on a separate list.)

The idea behind the single-price policy is to encourage diners to try new things by taking price out the selection equation.

It’s an interesting concept, and one that I like. Many people read menus—whether they’re choosing a main course or a bottle of wine—from right to left, rather than left to right. They simply select the least expensive or most expensive wine, and call it a day. Others select a wine that’s priced within their “comfort zone.”

By treating all wines equally, and pricing them moderately (for a restaurant list), Baggetta has hit upon an idea that encourages wine drinkers to explore new territory, rather than stick to the same-old same-old.

It’s also enticing to wine aficionados in search of a bargain. When every bottle is priced the same, some are likely to be over-priced, while others will be under-priced. Sniffing out bargains can be fun.

I’ll certainly be checking out Cotogna the next time I decide to go “antique-ing” in the City by the Bay.

What do you think of “one-price-fits-all” restaurant wine pricing? Share your thoughts in the Comments box below.

Posted in Editor's Journal
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