Whine By The Glass

Thanks to Noah over at Juice for the tip on a thought provoking article in Food and Wine about wine by the glass in restaurants.

Why the hell DOES wine by the glass cost so much? You know the drill, you’re in a nice restaurant, by yourself or with a friend that doesn’t drink, or maybe you need to drive home. A whole bottle is out of the question and maybe they don’t have half bottles on the menu. So you’re relegated to the glass list, which starts with a Sauvignon Blanc at $13 a glass. Now you and I both know that most Sauvignon Blanc costs about $15 a bottle for some of the best stuff, so why are you being served wine that could be two or three days old at what amounts to a bottle cost of $105? I wonder about that too.

This article offers at least a potential solution: treat wine like an optioned product, whose price changes with supply and over time. That glass of wine that costs you $14 when they just open the bottle should cost you $10 a day later and $7 after two days, etc. Of course in reality this is way more overhead than most restaurants could handle in terms of variable pricing, but it’s a compelling question. Beyond the obvious need for restaurants to make a reasonable amount of money on wine, why does the by-the-glass menu hurt so much?