Oregon Magazine

Decanting with Delkin
New Wine Report Studies
Restaurant Wine Lists

          By Fred Delkin

     A 2006 study analyzing data from over 10,000 U.S. restaurant wine lists has just been released and gives some very interesting facts.  Research by Winemetrics, a Connecticut firm, has compiled data from 10,500 wine-oriented fine-dining and casual restaurants in 20 states, representing 24 of the top 30 metro markets for wine consumption.  Over 13,000 producers and 130,000 individual wines are represented in this study of nearly one million list entries.

The on-premise category is the essential arena for establishing brand marketing momentum.  Pricewise, a wine list item is usually twice the cost to the imbiber of a purchase of the same bottle from an off-premise retailer.  However, in the wonderful world of wine, brand prestige is gained with restaurant sales. 

Red wines comprise 65% of lists, Whites 28%, Sparkling 6% and Rose' 1%.  Top 4 countries of wine origin are U.S. (59%), France (17%), Italy (13%) and Australia (4%).  Cabernet Sauvignon tops red varietals at 16%, Chardonnay is tops among whites at 15% and Pinot Noir (10%) has overtaken Merlot (9%).  Red blends, Syrah/Shiraz, Sauvignon Blanc, Zinfandel, Sangiovese (Chianti), Pinot Gris/Grigio and Riesling are ranked in that order.

Oregon leaders

Oregon, led by Archery Summit, ranks sixth in Pinot Noir on-premise distribution, followed by King Estate (10th), Argyle (19th) and Rex Hill (22nd).  King Estate ranks third among Pinot Gris/Grigio producers represented, but is the only Oregon brand among the top 25 in this category.  Washington giant producer Ste Michelle is a presence in the top 25 brands in Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, Syrah, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and Sparkling varietal categories. This heavyweight dominates the Riesling category, with 4 times the distribution of #2 Trimbach of Alsace, with Washington's Covey Run at #25.  Washington's Columbia Crest Merlot  is the only other top 25 member among Northwest brands.  

The top 100 on-premise brands are dominated by U.S. producers, nearly all from California except for three Washington labels (Ste Michelle, Columbia Crest, Hogue) and Oregon's King Estate.  Fifteen French producers, seven Italian, two Australian and one Chilean label round out the top 100.  California's Beringer is far and away the leader in list placement, followed by Kendall-Jackson, Robert Mondavi, Beaulieu, Ste.Michelle, Caymus, Sterling, Cakebread, Italy's Antinori and France's Veuve Cliquot in the top 10.

King Estate, with  1,358 accounts, dominates Oregon's listings, followed by Domaine Drouhin, Argyle, Sokol Blosser, Archery Summit, Rex Hill, Domaine Serene, Erath, Adelsheim and Willamette Valley in the top 10.  Pinot Noir is Oregon's signal varietal, and this list category is surprisingly topped by Domaine Drouhin, a French investment with 803 restaurant accounts.  King Estate (662), Archery Summit (648), Argyle (466) and Domaine Serene (452) comprising the top 10. 

Oregon Pinot Gris listings are topped by King Estate, Chardonnay listings are led by Argyle.

© 2007 Oregon Magazine