Monday, June 18, 2007
Hyatt Launches Canvas House Wine Brand
The average wine consumer is at a severe disadvantage when they order off a wine list at many restaurants. Most people may know a few labels and purchase a couple for regular home consumption. With the number of vineyards growing almost daily, and with a number of vineyards marketing various levels of product under basically the same label -- with subtle changes usually through the name of an alternate vineyard -- crafty beverage managers can get almost any price they desire.
I have had several recent experiences that have caused head shaking and comments to guests at my table. A wine I know I can get at retail for under $20 just should not appear on a wine list for $75 or above. Proprietors will argue that they need the margins on wine to remain profitable. I'd argue that some of the pricing I've seen recently turns guests away from wines by the bottle to wines by the glass -- or to other beverages, including tap water. If your pricing on wine is gouging, can I trust the rest of the menu?
A good case in point is a recent experience I had at the Renaissance Hotel in Charlotte. Kim Crawford 2005 Sauvignon Blanc, which is available at a Costco location less than 5 miles away for $13 a bottle, is on the Renaissance list for $62 a bottle -- almost five times retail. This wine is a great value at $13 a bottle. It is a superb rip-off at $62.
One way around the issue of consumer awareness of wine value -- and a far more honest approach than a 5x mark up -- is to private label a wine. If you own the label, you ought to be able to set the price. The restaurateur will know what the pricing structure does to depletions.
Hyatt Hotels & Resorts, working with Folio Fine Wine Partners, has gone the private label route with the release of Canvas. Folio Fine is based in Napa Valley and owned by the Michael Mondavi family.
Canvas is available at restaurants, bars and in-room dining at all Hyatt, Grand Hyatt, Hyatt Regency and Hyatt Resorts in the United States. The Canvas line includes Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay.