In some places in the U.S., sales of alcohol can equal as much as 75% of a restaurant's revenue. Wouldn't it make sense to put your wine on display, where customers see it, rather than on the menu?
That's what VintageView wine storage systems helps restaurants do, with its sleek metal presentation racks that hold wine bottles horizontally so customers can actually see the labels and know exactly what they're getting.
“I think aback to when I was a kid, going into dark wooded restaurants with the wine cellar in the back. It was dark and spooky,” recalls Charles Malek, president. “Today they're modern, well-lit, and often the focal point of the restaurant. The whole alcohol beverage program in restaurants is a big part of their revenue. That's why restaurants are featuring wine far more today than 10 or 20 years ago, and we help them do that in an affordable, stylish way.”
Founded in 2001 by Doug McCain, who had already invested in a Napa winery, and on a trip out there happened to be in a restaurant where the waiter came out with a wooden board with wine bottles glued horizontally to the board, VintageView has grown into a company serving thousands of restaurants across the globe. with the same wine rack that Doug invented in his tool shed.
Malek points out that, thousands of years ago, wine was stored in caves. But with the advent of wood, the alcoholic beverage began being stored in wooden boxes. “This is the next evolution,” Malek says. “Our rack helps people engage more with their wine, either at home or in a restaurant because you can see the label. Foodservice operators are proud to show it off. “This is our wine list. These are the wines you're going to enjoy with your meal.”
He notes that there are many colorful labels today. “Whether it's a cute little animal or a piece of art on the label, we become the holder of the art,” he says. “We're honored to be holding all this important inventory. We're part of the revenue-building team for the restaurant. Their lifeblood is wrapped up in this inventory.”
In fact, Malek says, the company's wine racks help sell more wine. “Customers can see the label, rather than look at the cork. Some people buy off the label, some don't. But it's certainly more appealing and engaging to look at a wine bottle’s label than looking at the cork. It's similar to how many restaurants have open kitchens now, where customers are watching the chefs prepare their food. People want open spaces, to be able to look through restaurants, not walls. We're no different. People want to look at the wine.”
The Villard Michel Richard restaurant inside the New York Palace hotel uses the VintageView wine storage system in a stunning glass-enclosed room.
Malek says wine racks are the frames that showcase the logos and visuals of the bottle. “We're not distracting attention from the labels, but people who have a preference for a certain wine can see it right away. If we're doing our job, you don't notice our rack. You're noticing the wine.”
VintageView offers wall-mounted wine racks that can either be attached to a wall, or be a free-standing unit. The wall-mount racks can also be attached to floor-to-ceiling frames to create internal walls. “They go really well in glass-enclosed rooms,” he says.
The wall-mount racks come in 3- and 4 foot sections, one, two, or three bottles deep and the company offers several finishes, including satin black – its most popular – brushed nickel, and two new colors, chrome and black pearl (metallic black).
Its new Evolution series uses customizable acrylic panels that come in all lengths and widths. The bottles sit on metal rods that connect to these panels and can incorporate LED lighting.
VintageView's storage systems also help with air flow around the bottles. “Regardless of what you store your wine in, you don't want vibrations, direct sunlight, variations in temperature, too much humidity, or too little humidity. As soon as those things are taken care of, our racking provides the proper air flow around the bottle to keep it consistent. You wouldn't want wine right next to the kitchen. Once you have the right room, our racks provide good air flow,” says Malek.
The racks are also stackable. “If I had a 30-ft ceiling, I could stack up that wall like Legos. I can put two racks in a small space, or stack them and put them all around an entire room. You could have a couple thousand bottles, all right there for customers to see,” he adds. “You're limited only by the space on the wall or in the room.”
The company also provides complimentary design services. “Just give us the size of your room or wall, and we'll provide that design assistance. It's like working with an interior designer.”
About 45% of VintageView's business comes from the foodservice/hospitality industry.
“We tend to be a really cost-effective solution. Custom wood wine cellars can be very expensive. We're typically 40% of the cost of a custom system. Our racks are readily available and easy to install. Delivered Wednesday, installed Thursday. We provide a good value to restaurants. You don't need to have your wine cellar made by a custom millwork company, wait a month, then have it installed. We can have the racks to you in only a matter of days. We make it easier for restaurants to display their wines, and make more profit,” says Malek.