Star launches virtual wine tastings to help licensees premiumise offer

Star Pubs & Bars is offering leased and tenanted pub operators virtual wine tastings for those wanting to upgrade their ranges and educate themselves on premium wines.

The move follows on from a successful pilot run throughout the summer once pubs had fully reopened. They were held at pubs that had seen increased demand for premium wines and were looking to gain a better understanding of the key wine varieties.

The wine tastings are aimed at all types of pub –from wet-led locals considering Fizz Fridays through to food led pubs interested in food matching.

The service will deliver sample boxes of 12 wines – a mix of still and sparkling plus new and old wines – to participating pubs. These will be accompanied by a guide on wine tasting, taster notes, food matching tips as well as information on the wines and their country of origin.

Licensees have the option of booking a free virtual wine tasting with Star Pubs & Bars Wine Category Buyer Roberta Neave, which will be held on the first Tuesday of every month at 2.30pm. Alternatively, they can opt to download a pre-recorded tasting session they can choose to watch at their leisure.

Roberta Neave, Star Pubs & Bars Wine Category Buyer, said, “Licensees are noticing more wine focussed customers coming into their pubs and want to be able to talk knowledgably to them about their wine selection and offer them opportunities to trade up.

“Whilst some people love wine tastings at roadshows, many find them intimidating. They don’t want to look uneducated or feel patronised. Our virtual tastings put licensees in the driving seat and at their ease. They give them the tools they need to upskill their own and their staff’s wine knowledge and a choice of how they do so.

“With travel contracting since the start of the pandemic and the industry experiencing staffing issues, virtual wine tastings offer licensees a more personal and immediate means to try and learn about different wines, which they are loving.”

Ann Cooper at The Bull in Chelsham Common, Warlingham said, “The insight and training session with Roberta was a massive help. She reviewed my current wine offer, took me through trends and gave me suggestions of wines that would work well in my pub. It felt tailored to my pub.

'Having the wines delivered to my door and talking with Roberta online was great as I didn’t have to take time out from the business or pay for travel and could involve members of staff.”