Fine Wining &
Dining In the 50s…
BY W. R. TISH
ine service in American restaurants has
evolved dramatically over recent decades.
A look back at our pages in the 1950s indi-
cates that the nation’s taste for fine wine was slow to
develop after Repeal. In turn, the task of selling wine
was approached quite differently then compared to
now. Selling wine period was the operative issue, not
so much which wines to sell.
While our wine tips back then may seem overly sim-
plistic, even quaint, today if viewed as literal how-to
guidance, the clear focus on the bottom line and the
common-sense value of the points below still bear
You Can Sell Wine
Why do patrons enjoy wine
with their meals at home, but
seldom order it when they eat
out? Some restaurants fear that
wine will interfere with orders for
cocktails and frankly hesitate
to promote it. Another reason
for wine’s weakness is the
Be realistic. Your patron knows
how much the popular brands
cost…. You don’t put mark-up
in your cash register, only a
You can sell wine if you
offer it to your patron at a price
Wine’s Profit is a Plus
It takes no more trouble to
serve it than the water you
dispense without charge. It makes even the best food
taste better. Sell wine with meals and it makes
How many tables do you have at your restaurant? You have
that many silent salesmen. On each table, display two split
bottles of wine—one red and the other white. Price them
attractively with a sign that recommends them to add plea-
sure to the meal. They represent extra sales and extra profit.
Serve Wine at Its Proper Temperature
Whatever the quality of your wines, they need to be chilled
to the proper temperature for your customers to enjoy them.
Here is a major failure of many restaurants that sell wine.
Champagne should be served coldest (about 45*F).
White Table Wines should be served nearly as cold.
Dry Sherries and Vermouths should be moderately chilled.
White dessert wines should be cool, but not necessarily cold.
Red Table Wines and Port Wine are satisfactory at room
temperature, except in very warm weather when they are
best at “cellar temperatures”—a few degrees cooler than