Editor Joshua Greene asked wine directors at restaurants to name their 10 best-selling wines. Their responses were compiled into a list of the Top 50 Restaurant Brands.
Results were presented for 2013 and for the previous ten years. The top brands in 2013 included 23 new entrees since the poll was taken ten years ago. Domestic wines dominated the list, taking the highest 18 rankings and 80% of the total brands selected. Veuve Cliquot was the highest ranked European wine at number 19. The top 10 highest ranking brands all came from Napa or Sonoma Counties. There was one wine from South America; none from Australia/New Zealand.
These are not average restaurants as seen by a median price of nearly $80 per bottle. The initial survey in 1989 was offered to the 1,600 restaurants ranked among Zagat’s listing of most popular restaurants. This most recent survey was sent to restaurants ranked by Zagat or Wine&Spirits list of New & Notable. The 2013 survey is based on 218 participants.
A summary of results by closure type shows brands primarily finished with cork closures account for 90% of the total. There were three brands primarily sealed in screwcaps and two brands with synthetic closures. The median price for cork finished brands was $80 - considerably higher than the $49 median price for brands featuring alternative closures.
Cork finished brands showed a 21% increase in the number of responses seen ten years ago. Brands primarily finished with screwcaps showed -39% fewer selections. Brands using synthetic closures were down by -70%.
When the top wines were sorted by variety, the two most popular were Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir. As a group, red wines were more often named than whites.
Results posted by Wine&Spirits are included. The assumptions for closure type were made by the Cork Quality Council based on the case volume for each brand as listed in Nielsen Sales Surveys. Adjustments were made for instances of different packaging configuration for on-sale accounts.