Lanchester Wines is one of the UK’s leading wine importers and merchants, meaning they are perfectly placed to tell us how hoteliers can maximise their wine offering. We caught up with Lanchester Wines’ Director of Sales, Mark Roberts and asked him firstly, who are Lanchester Wines?

Established in 1980, we are one of the UK’s leading wine importers and wholesalers. We supply a wide range of quality and premium wines to the on-trade and off-trade. Still family-owned, we’re proud of our roots and, as such, our customers range from pubs, clubs, bars and hotels right up to high street retailers, supermarkets and national pub and restaurant operators.

What should hoteliers offer on the menu when it comes to wine? 

Every wine list will be different because every venue’s customer base will be different, as will the food menu. Hoteliers should always work with a specialist wine merchant when it comes to creating a wine list most beneficial to their specific venue, which understands the geographic and demographic impact of what wines work best. This collaboration will allow you to have the flexibility to adapt to market trends.

Should a wine list have a variety to appeal to different age ranges, occasions or the season?

We all want a bottle of wine that looks more expensive than it is. However, just because the wine label is fantastic and will certainly influence the first purchase, customers will only return for a second drink if the wine inside is as good, or better than the label.

Hoteliers should work with their suppliers to first identify the style and varieties of wine which will suit their venue and then discuss labels. One of the many benefits of bulk wine is that the wine supplier may have various labels for the same wine or be able to offer you a white-label solution. Some operators, such as ourselves, also offer label-only wines which, as the name suggests, are sold with just the back label, which contains all legal requirements, leaving you the freedom to design your front label. Larger customers can also create bespoke bulk wine lines under their labels. This is perfect for weddings, your bar or even in-room welcome packs.

Are customers getting more demanding about what they want from a wine list?

The provenance of a wine is increasingly important – the producer and how it was made. As a business, Lanchester Wines actively seeks business partners and sustainable wine suppliers who share our vision to proactively improve their sustainability. Each of our wine suppliers has adapted to their environment, social surroundings and used the resources available to them. At every stage of a grape’s growth, development and transformation into wine, expert care and attention are given to not only quality but sustainability – from water conservation to soil management, and vineyard grazing through to community projects. (Find out more at

How can wine add to the bottom line of a hotel business? 

Hoteliers are increasingly looking to bulk wine – the shipping of wine in bulk containers and then packing in the UK through contact wine bottlers, such as our sister company Greencroft Bottling. The cost savings are undeniable – a Flexitank, containing 24,000 litres will fit in a 20ft container, while the same volume in bottle would require two 40ft containers – which reduces both transportation costs and the carbon required to move the wine from winery to UK, around 2kg of CO2 per kilometre travelled.

Bulk wine also allows for flexibility of format – we currently produce wines in 75cl, 37.5cl and 187ml glass and PET, cans, bag-in-box, key kegs and pouches. With the pressure on the global glass industry and efficiencies achieved through working in larger formats such as premium BIB, we’ve seen a huge increase in premium draft wine which not only decreases the amount of packaging but also, importantly, allows a better margin per serve.

What advice would you give to hoteliers who are looking at their wine offering? 

Working with a specialist wine merchant will enable you to create a truly relevant wine list. But, make sure you also tap into the value-added services a good merchant can offer, such as wine list creation and staff training. Insist upon full and detailed training sessions throughout the year to make sure customer-facing staff have confidence in the entirety of the wine list which will allow upselling and food pairing.

Winemaker dinners and special events will give a point of difference. There is a global supply crisis (all commodities, not just wine) which is impacting all importers, so make sure your wine supplier can think on their feet and keep you in stock – fundamentally you can’t sell what you don’t have.