London restaurants slash prices for fine wine

Tue Feb 22, 2011 4:28am EST
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LONDON (Reuters Life!) - Restaurants across London have slashed prices for fine wines to encourage drinkers to treat their palates to traditionally more expensive vintages, while boosting margins at the same time.

Restaurant chain D&D London has cut the prices of 2,000 fine wines listed at 50 pounds ($81.13) and above and is promoting a "Top 100" at heavily discounted prices until March 14.

"We've had a fantastically positive reaction to that in the first days," said Des Gunewardena, Chief Executive of D&D London, whose 20 swanky venues include Coq D'Argent, Paternoster and Launceston Place.

But while the promotion may only be temporary, it signals a longer term shift to reduce mark-ups on vintage wines to sell more bottles.

"This isn't a completely altruistic move," Gunewardena said.

"We've taken the decision that we'd rather sell a lot more wine at a lower mark-up than we do now, rather than selling a lot less wine at the current mark-ups that we have."

Among the top tipples on offer are a 1995 bottle of Chateau Petrus, Pomeral for 1,450 pounds, while a bottle of Cristal Louis Roederer 2002/2004 champagne is less than half price at 156 pounds from 323 pounds.

The price-cutting spree follows other London restaurants that have slashed mark-ups on fine wines to tempt customers to opt for more expensive stock.

Leonid Shutov, co-owner of luxury restaurant Bob Bob Ricard, has a maximum mark-up of 50 pounds on any top wine.   Continued...