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Wine cost question re: Burlington, VT restaurants

Dear Hounds,
Can anyone explain the great variation in wine pricing from place to place? 2 weeks ago I had a bottle of Owen Roe Abbot's Table at A Single Pebble ($68.00). This past weekend I see the same wine, same vintage at Taste down on the waterfront for $40.00. My server said that was their usual price (it wasn't on special). Can anyone explain the huge discrepancy between restaurants?? Is it based on sales volume or quantity of wine ordered by the restaurant? BTW, Taste had nice Reidl crystal glasses and Single Peb's were generic, Libbyish clunkers... The reverse of what I'd expect given the price each place was charging for the SAME product. Seems odd to me. I enjoyed my meals at both establishments though the ambiance of Taste can't be beat.
Thanks for any insight! OC

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  1. Do you know what you'd pay if you bought the same wine at a liquor store? It's usually a 100% markup - if I can buy the bottle for $20, I expect to see it in a restaurant for $40. I've found that to be pretty accurate, expect in a few higher end places that charge a bit more (but what you described sounds excessive), simply because they can, I always assumed?

    1. That bottle is about $24 retail (and is actually quite a nice bottle at that price). $68 is ridiculous while the $40 is fair. This area seems to be all over the place as is this comparison illustrates. To further confuse matters, The Inn at Shelburne Farms had that bottle for $34. I would venture to guess that Single Peeble is more in line with their mark ups on the wines the move more of.

      The comments about the glassware all well noted. The least a restaurant can do when chargin $68 for any bottle is to pour it in a decent stem. All to often that is not the case. OCatswell (and others in the area), check out L'Amante on College St. for nice experience in both libations and culinary creations.

      9 Replies
      1. re: TonyO

        I enjoy the food at L'Amante very much but find the dining room somewhat stuffy and whispery- very old school, still life art- the whole ambiance is like a library. The servers wear blue jeans which doesn't seem to pair with their offerings. Great Italian wines but there but only a couple of bottles on the menu under $100. A little steep for my budget.

        Taste had another Owen Roe on their reserve menu- Yakima Red- for $70. I wasn't familiar with it but our server said it was a notch up from the Abbot's Table- Maybe next time!

        1. re: OCatswell

          Just had a bottle of the Yakima at home on Friday night and it was excellent (I think it retails around $40). You really can't go wrong with any bottle form Owen Roe or Sineann. Try the Ex Umbris Syrah (retail around $24). If you live in the area you can find these wines at Beverage Warehouse (Winooski), Cheese Traders (South Burlington) and Richmond Beverage (Richmond of course).

          I agree on the dining room being a little too library like but at least you know it will be quiet. I'm not sure waht the whole jeans thing is about other than the owners desire to keep it somewhat casual. Black pants would be a wiser choice I think.

          1. re: TonyO

            Do youself a BIG favor and drive over the New Hampshire line to the New Hampshire state-run liquor stores.
            The prices cannot be beat!
            Liquor,wine,ect. can be had for much less than in Vt. and you get a nice discount for case lots.
            In N.Y. Crown Royal runs $35.99/bottle.
            I got the same thing in N.H. for $19.99/bottle and they were having a sale so I got it for $17.99.
            Catnip

            1. re: TonyO

              The Yakima and Ex umbris are wonderful as is the Sinnean you suggested- Are you affilliated with Taste? Those wines are all on their list.
              I'm a member of the wine club at the Beverage Warehouse in Winooski- They do have quite a selection- Their monthly specials and restaurant affiliations/promotions are a treat!

              1. re: OCatswell

                I haven't been to Taste yet but will have to check it out )I have heard good things). Bev Whse does a nice job (had a great tasting with the winemaker (Fritz) from Gunderloch. It is nice to see the local eateries offering some quality juice !

            2. re: OCatswell

              Got to try the Yakima at Taste last night! WOW! Just stellar- Appetizer was a pear and manchego salad with reduced balsamic and honey. Had the applewood bacon wrapped filet with kalamata olive demi, Shelburne Farms cheddar mashed potatoes and the tiniest little brussels sprouts I've ever seen- They were whole and the size of a dime! Very sweet and delicious. The wine was fabulous as was the dinner. Filet was a perfect MR. Dessert- Bittersweet chocolate molten cake with super French vanilla ice cream from a new producer in the islands. Had a Kiona reisling with it that was the perfect compliment to the bitterness of the chocolate. Dined alone as I was in town to visit a friend at Fletcher Allen.
              The service was prompt and friendly even with a rather large holiday party in the next room.

              1. re: OCatswell

                I need to find some time for a trip to Taste. Great review of once again. It's nice to find those places that perform everytime ! I'm looking forward to popping a few corks on some Dubrul Cab, Sineann Zin, and Owen Roe Syrah. It never fails to impress !

            3. re: TonyO

              TonyO- How funny you say that! I met Kevin and Kathy, the owners of L'Amante last night- They were at the bar at Taste- I was waiting for a friend to see the show at the new waterfront theater and bumped into them- Very sweet couple! I am looking forward to trying their fare.

              1. re: OCatswell

                I should have said that I'm looking forward to trying their fare again! Haven't been there in quite some time...

            4. I agree. The discounts are larger on liquor than on wine. However, if the wine is on sale and they are having a promotion (like 20% off all American wine if 12 or more bottles are purchased) the savings can be substantial (especially do to the fact that there is no sales tax). I generally use our local stores for the special/hard to find bottles that NH does not have. New Hampshire Liquor Authority has a website and you can sign up for their monthly newsletter. Cananda is alsos a good source but there are restrictions to be able to buy duty free.

              1. Chianti Classico 2001 $32.00

                Poggio Amorelli “Gode II”, Tuscany, Italy

                A medium-bodied selection with generous flavors of red and black cherry

                I tried this wonderful wine before the Buckwheat Zydeco/Marcia Ball show. Wish I could have smuggled a bottle in! I thoght it was an excellent value...