This dream is a reality in many states, but even where it’s legal, there is normally a corkage fee for your server to open it at the table.
Paseo Grill owner Joe Jungmann started his Vintages program in August to allow customers access to delicious wine at liquor-store prices.
“The customer rents wine storage in our wine room for wines not on our wine list,” he said. “The storage is available for three, six, nine or 12 bottles. In addition to storage, the fee allows access to four to six wine tastings each year and invitations to all our wine dinners.”
Broken into three tiers, Vintages starts at $25 a month.
Customers will be allowed to call Paseo Grill’s wine steward, Ty Carter, to confer about which wines they would like to purchase, and Carter or Elise Fischbein, director of internal operations, will place the orders.
right, Lesley Rawlinson, co-owner of Paseo Grill
The wines will be purchased by Paseo Grill and sold to the customer at retail price.
Fischbein calls it a win-win. “You can afford to drink wines with dinner that would cost two to three times what you’re paying if they were on the restaurant’s wine list,” she said. “Additionally, it’s like I’m holding your wine hostage. You have to come here to drink it, and you get the added benefit of our delicious food.”
Assuming customers dine out regularly, it makes sense. Duckhorn’s Golden Eye Pinot Noir would be on the restaurant wine list for $115, but it’s available through Vintages for $58. On the lower end, Whitehall Lane Sauvignon Blanc is $16, instead of the likely menu price of $35.
Jungmann said wines on Paseo Grill’s wine list cannot be purchased through Vintages, as those cannot be discounted. Carter and Fischbein have access to the state’s wholesalers, so anything available in Oklahoma can be ordered.
“The potential savings for the customer is extraordinary,” Fischbein said. “They also get the added benefit of consulting with [Carter] at no additional charge and no corkage fee.”
Jungmann said he has space for 200 clients if all opted for a three-bottle package. He also has limited storage for 1.5 liter bottles, and lockers for clients choosing the 12-bottle package. As of now, the wines will be ordered via telephone, but Jungmann said online ordering is in the works.
Photo by Shannon Cornman