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How to Make a Wine Bar Menu Design With Examples (Free Template)

Tyler MartinezAuthor

How do I create a wine list layout?

How to Create a Wine Bar Menu

Wine lists are an essential piece of many great dining experiences, and they have been for generations. Menus steer the guest experience and streamline customer service while providing service staff with a powerful sales tool. 

Design wine lists for your restaurant or bar using this 10-step process. We provide tips on how to keep track of menus, design examples, and free, customizable wine menu templates.

The Power of Good Menu Design

Great wine lists can boost sales but menu design missteps can hurt the profitability of your restaurant or bar. When listing wines, draw attention to the most profitable bottles and glasses on the list.

Menus like wine lists are your staff’s best-selling tool. Design menus to help your service staff provide information to customers about the wines that you offer.

In each menu design, keep your brand’s unique aesthetic front and center. Consult the examples we provide at the end of this article. Use our templates, worksheets, and guides to create menus that drive a cohesive, memorable guest experience.

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Menu Engineering Worksheet

Use this menu engineering worksheet, complete with intricate menu engineering formulas, to determine areas of strength and weakness in your restaurant's menu.

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How to Make a Wine Menu

The names and vintages of wines can speak for themselves–customers have expectations of what a Sauvignon Blanc will taste like. But there are a lot of careful decisions to make when designing a wine list that is a sales tool for staff.

This 10-step process can help you build your own wine list or give you some insight into the design process to help you cooperate with a designer. For an even bigger advantage, apply these steps to our customizable wine menu templates.

1. Write Out All Menu Items

Start by creating a spreadsheet to organize the information about all the wines on your list. Before you start to get creative, use Excel, Google Sheets, or your favorite spreadsheet program to list out all the wines that you order for your restaurant or bar.

The spreadsheet will help you to organize wines by name, cost, and tasting notes. Google Sheets autosaves your work, which you can copy/paste into menu templates. 

We provide templates to help you get started–just remember to download a copy of your work for your records. And, when things change, keep this document updated as a reference for your wine list.

2. Categorize Menu Items

Once you create a spreadsheet, group the wines by category. You can simply make categories of reds and whites, or further differentiate between the kind of grape or wine such as chardonnay and merlot.

Sometimes, it’s best to keep options to a minimum to help customers choose, but an extensive wine list will impress other customers. Dividing wines into categories will help guests to navigate the menu to easily find their favorites.

As a basic rule, you can draw guests’ attention to a bottle of wine by listing it first in a category. Reserve the first spot for wines that you want to sell–those with the largest profit margin. Our menu engineering worksheet can help in this process.

3. Set Menu Prices

Setting wine prices, either by the glass or the bottle, is based on a number of factors such as your business model and the cost of each wine. The complexities of food cost calculations warrant a deep dive. As a food service business owner or stakeholder, it’s worth it to understand how to price menu items. Here are a few general considerations for setting menu prices:

When setting prices on a wine list for the first time, focus on balancing the prices of each glass and bottle with the cost of the bottle from your distributor. Do market research and compare prices to get an idea of what local customers are used to paying for similar items.

Sometimes it's necessary to raise prices on your wine list to keep up with inflation and other costs. Analyze the sales data available from your business’s point of sale system and ask yourself if you can tweak prices to make them more appealing to customers.

Finally, remember to make decisions based on sales history, inventory, support, labor costs, and the local economy. Our menu engineering course can help new and veteran restauranteurs alike to use data when pricing menu items. Learn more about creating a menu pricing strategy here

4. Create Menu Descriptions

Wine is all about the tasting notes. Your restaurant might rely on the expert knowledge of a sommelier or trained servers to describe and sell wines tableside. But including a few tasting notes on a menu can help your guests to decide what matches their tastes. Use adjectives that appeal to the senses–words like rich, dry, sweet, acidic, and floral.

It's necessary to include certain information, such as the name of the wine, the vineyard that produced it, and the vintage. When describing wines, consider how first-time customers will interact with the menu.

5. Decide on a Menu Color Scheme

Here come the fun steps–deciding on a color scheme and design for your wine list.

Now that your spreadsheet is filled with information and prices and separated into categories, think about how color and design will communicate with your customers. Choose a color scheme that is complementary to your brand. Wine list color pallets are traditionally muted to make them easy to read.

Colors affect how people interpret your restaurant, as this Chron article on the psychology of restaurant colors shows. Here are a few color resources that designers love:

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The Ultimate Guide to Restaurant Branding

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6. Design your Wine Menu

Not all wine lists have to be simple and straightforward. Match the energy of the wine list to your brand through subtle design elements.

Designing wine lists in-house is a great way to save, but hiring a design for all your menus streamlines the process. Software like Adobe Creative Suite, Canva, and Powerpoint can empower you to create your own designs with that professional finish.

Whether doing it yourself or working with a designer, keep these design best practices in mind. Our wine menu templates can help you to get started. 

  • The menus should be easy to read. Customers can get overwhelmed by large menus. Keep your offerings to one or two pages to offer just enough options to have something for every guest.

  • The Golden Triangle. When reading a menu, our eyes start in the middle of the page and then move to the top right and left. List menu items that you want to draw attention to in those areas.

  • Use dollar signs strategically.  Researchers at Cornell found that diners are likely to order more when dollar signs are not on the menu than when they are present. You might remove dollar signs from your menu, and avoid listing prices in a single column which encourages customers to compare them

7. Think about Photos

It might not seem intuitive to put photos on wine menus, but an attractive photo of a drink like sangria piled with fresh fruit can attract attention. When it comes to photos, hiring a professional photographer or investing in a digital camera is the way to go.

Before publishing photos on menus or on your website, make sure that the photos are representative of your restaurant’s best work. Photos can also boost your business’s performance on social media. In each post, include a link back to your online menu so that customers can begin an order.

8. Choose Menu Font, Spacing, and Composition

There are hundreds of options for font, spacing, and embellishments for both digital and printed menus. Many restaurants hire designers to help with sorting through all the possibilities. Keep the font and design elements consistent with the rest of your brand.

Designing your own menus for your restaurant’s wine list has its advantages. You can keep all of the design elements true to the story of your brand. But don’t be afraid to get a second set of eyes on your designs. You can use our templates and keep all of the design work in-house. Keep your menu consistent enough through redesigns so guests know what to expect.

9. Select the Final Menu Layout

Once you decide on the color scheme, design, font, and photos, it’s time to put all of the elements together. Consult your staff, business partners, and investors to vote on the best menu design for your brand. 

Each stakeholder should review the branding, design, menu descriptions, and prices. The more opinions you get, the better idea you will have of how customers will use the menu. Customers have certain expectations of how to interact with a menu, so consider how you can make printed and online menus more user-friendly.

10. Proofread Your Menu

Proofreading is a critical step. Some customers will overlook and forgive spelling and grammar mistakes, but they become distractions to others. Use the built-in spell checker or software like Grammarly to streamline proofreading and catch small mistakes. This can also help you to save by avoiding misprints.

When you’re ready to go to print, consider the paper quality that will give you menus that last for as long as you need them. You can use a local printing shop or an online service like one of the following:

Examples of Wine Restaurant Menus

  • Classic and Sleek. This design example is one of many from Canva that, along with our menu templates, can help to make your wine list design process a breeze.

  • Simple and Straightforward. This design makes up for the fact that this celler’s wine list is so extensive by keeping the design simple and easy to navigate.

  • Bold and Branded. This wine list keeps the brand front and center, using bold colors and contemporary design elements.

  • Vintage Chic. Take your wine list back a few decades with these pre-1900s wine list trends that could be perfect for your speakeasy-themed bar.

  • Elegant and Refined. Impress your clientele with a refined aesthetic for your wine list.

  • Comfortable Nostalgia. This easygoing wine list is a perfect example of what you can do with the design tools that you already know how to use.

Keep Learning about Menu Engineering

Now that your wine list is designed and printed, develop a strategy to keep it up to date. Keep your spreadsheet updated with each wine that you purchase for your bar or restaurant. Share a live copy of that spreadsheet with writers and designers that help you with the process.

Sometimes, it's also necessary to update design elements to keep this fresh and consistent with other brand elements. Our menu engineering spreadsheet will help you analyze the sales performance of each bottle and glass and inform every change to the list.

Related Menu Ideas

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Menu Engineering Course

Take this course to make the most of your menu. Learn about menu psychology and design, managing your menu online, and adapting your menu to increase sales.

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