The concept of the pay card and two-ounce pours at wine bars isn't a new one. But it is relatively new in Indianapolis.
Though I had visited Indy's Tastings wine bar once previously for a winemaker event, I had never had the full experience until Monday night. In summary, it's fun and a real must-do for wine lovers. It's not expensive but certainly not cheap either.
There is a wonderful menu of small plates. I had proscuitto and fresh mozzarella on a crostini for $9 and it was better than good but not great. It was well worth the nine bucks.
I was meeting a young friend who wanted to expand his palate for job interview purposes in the wine industry.
We tasted the following wines:
- A New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc that was $3.30 a pour and $24 a bottle.
- A French Grenache-Syrah Cotes du Rhone for $4.15 pour or $30 a bottle
- A California Lodi Zinfandel for $3.15 and $23 a bottle.
- A French Chinon, or Cabernet Franc, at $4 a pour or $29 a bottle
... then I splurged and bought my friend the last glass ... A prominent California Cabernet from a prominent maker at $9.65 a pour and $70 a bottle.
Now, about those prices. I didn't have much objection to the pour price but if you consider that there are approximately 25 ounces in a 750 ml bottle, at two ounces a pour they certainly are making some money.
Let's use the California Cab as an example. At $9.65 a pour, assuming 12 pours to the bottle, you get a nifty $115 gross. That's not bad for a bottle they're selling for $70. It's really profitable when you consider the Cab's retail price averages $45-$50. The other wines had similar mark ups.
Yes, the bottle mark-up is similar, if not quite, high-end restaurant prices. Tastings is a beautiful place, fully staffed, on the ground floor of Indy's Conrad Hotel. In other words, for the uniformed, this is not the low rent district.
Would I buy a bottle there? No, I wouldn't.
But put $25-$30 on a card and taste 4-5-6 wines with friends and taste new things? It's is absolutely worth the investment. I'll definitely go back!
Similar wine bars continue to pop up all across the country.
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