Where do restaurants buy their wine?

This may seem obvious to some, but this is a secretly complex question with even more complicated answers. So where do restaurants buy their wine? Well let’s start simply, they buy it from wine importers. Wine importers have many different set-ups, a wholesaler, an agent, a distributor. Below we explained it to you. 

What is a wine wholesaler? 

A wine wholesaler is defined as a business that wholesales products to the trade or in this example, to restaurants. A wine wholesaler may buy from an importer, meaning the wine has already been brought in to the country or they may purchase directly from the source (the vineyard/winery). 

It’s important to note here; that the more businesses touch the wine, the more expensive it makes it the end consumer.  Sometimes organising the logistics of shipping wine direct requires a lot of resources. Importers are geared up very well to take care of this. They can also manage volumes and reduce gaps in supply so the wine is always available through its vintage. 

What is a wine importer?

A wine importer should be a little more obvious, that’s the business who takes care of the logistics and ships the wine direct from the source, then to their warehouse ready to sell. Importers often work directly with restaurants, but sometimes also work with wholesalers.  

What is a wine agent?

An agent is a business that represents the winery’s interest in a given market. Sometimes they are also the importer which distribute to regional wholesalers who do the sales for them. 

Now we have a full understanding of the processes involved, where do restaurants buy their wine? 

As you have read, there is a mix of business that sell wine in the market. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that there are restaurants who purchase wines differently. Some restaurants might want to focus on the food they sell, so they may work with local wholesalers who offer support in the way of wine list management, staff training and small order volumes. Restaurants within a group may have more resources to put into wine list management. So they may import directly, or work with an agent or importer. They will also have a focus on the wines they sell as they do their food. 

All in all, we encourage research into where you go and what you drink. It pays to look into the specifics of where you are spending your time and money, that way you can enjoy the experience to the max!

Looking for a new restaurant wine supplier?

Plonk aims to elevate your idea of drinkable wine from generic, mass-produced booze to something that will truly make your taste buds sing. Our version of Plonk revolves around quality and value for money. We focus on small-batch, limited and hard to find wines.

Imported Small-Batch Wine, Organised Service

Our impeccable level of customer service has been built off 30 years in the wine trade. Not only are we responsive, quick and flexible with our deliveries, but we also offer a range of services designed to support your business:

  • Menu creation
  • Staff Training
  • Virtual Wine Events

Whether you are about to open a new venue, if you plan to refresh your wine list, or you’re just curious to see how Plonk can help boost your sales, please fill out our trade form here. When this has been done, you can follow up the team with a call on 02045425398, or email us at hello@plonkwine.co.


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