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Quick Guide to Wine Prices


You go into a restaurant, wine bar or the wine shop down the street and the selection can often be overwhelming for a lot of people.  Don't worry, you are among friends and we'll help you through it!  For most, finding that perfect bottle for the moment includes finding something that is affordable or of seemingly higher value.  You may often hear about QPR, meaning Quality Price Ratio, and when QPR is high it means a bottle of wine is drinking way above its price point.  Boy, it's nice to find those.

Until recently, a lot of sought-after wine has been way too expensive for most folks and their everyday drinking needs.  But, how is the price you see in the store or the restaurant derived in the first place?  Here's a real basic example and some rules-of-thumb to consider, but keep in mind that state regulations, shipping costs, volume purchasing power and supply and demand, among other factors, can cause prices to veer from this simple application.

Pricing from a Retail and Restaurant may be marked up from the wholesale price as follows:

  • Retail (Wine store): 150% or 1.5x
  • Restaurant: 250-300%  or 2.5-3x

So, a bottle that is sold from the winery or producer for $9 may be priced at $13.50 at your local beverage store and anywhere $22.50 - $27.00 at the restaurant.  You are probably not going to know the wholesale price to start these calculations, but if you're in the wine bar and have a mobile phone, well you know what they say: "There's an app for that."  You can back into the wholesale price by tracking down retail prices on the Internet or using a wine app (there are many to choose from - click this link for an analysis of wine iPhone apps).

Ultimately, it's not a great choice to buy wine by the glass in restaurants because it's general practice for them to price each glass at the wholesale price.  So, in our example, a glass may cost $8 or $9.  Keep in mind also you should get 4 glasses or 12 tastes (2oz.) from a bottle.  However, if you like to try different types of wines from different regions, this is really the best way to do so in one sitting.  Hopefully, your bartender will be wine friendly and let you try some tastes for free.  At any rate, hopefully you are now armed with some basic wine math principles to help you find some good deals.