Because there are phonies.
I used to think that restaurants marked up alcohol (especially wine) due to the demand. While that may still be true, I found out another huge reason why.
I was chatting with my friend who used to serve at this very nice restaurant where bottles can sell from $400 – $1000. He told me even though the cost of the single bottle wasn’t that much (obviously), however, since they only sold by the bottle, once opened, you cannot reseal or resell by glass.
But why would you need to?
Well, thanks to the phonies, who think that they are classy wine connoisseurs, when in reality, they don’t have that good a palate as they think.
So when you’re spending money on a bottle, you can always, taste the wine, and then say something along the lines of “I think this wine has gone bad.” or “Its not right. Give me another one.” And then away with the old bottle, and in comes a new one.
And unfortunately, regardless if you can actually tell or not, the restaurant has to chuck the bottle and reopen a new bottle at your table (that’s why they bring the bottle to your table, cork screw and all, and open it right in front of you, to show its a brand new bottle). So the bottle that just got sent back cannot be resold to anyone. Either it’s down the drain or, more likely, down the chefs’, servers’ and staffs’ bellies.
So whats the problem? The wine was bad! Take it back!
Well, I had friends that were bartenders or servers, and this is what they told me. Sometimes, when people order by the glass, they might send it back, and say it’s not right. The bartender or server will pour them another glass but (shhh!) from the exact same bottle!! And guess what? The customer tastes the new glass of wine (from the same bottle as the previous one) and exclaims. “Ahh, much better.”
Did you really taste a difference? Probably not. It was the same thing! You just were acting like your palate could tell. But, no. You’re just ordinary.
Its not as bad when they get by-the-glass. But when they go for the bottle, and pull this phony attitude trick thing, bham! The restaurant eats the cost. There goes another perfectly good bottle. All because some schmuck thought he had a good palate and was “trying” to show it, and thought he could taste the difference. But alas, $50 cost of that bottle down the drain. And who pays? All patrons of that restaurant who want that bottle. $150 please. Pay up. Even the non-fussy ones who just want to drink that darn fine wine, and guess what? We can keep the first bottle, it’s fine. Thank you. Sheeeesh….