Thursday, July 26, 2012

White Spot’s wine list is all BC VQA

  White Spot's Warren Erhart

The White Spot restaurant chain, which sells about 10,000 cases a year, has launched a wine list exclusively made up of BC VQA wines.

“It is such a fit for us,” White Spot president Warren Erhart says. “Nobody buys more local food products than White Spot.”

The legendary chain, which was started in 1928 by Nat Bailey, now has 124 locations. Most are in British Columbia but there also are White Spots in Alberta and in Asia.

Dedicated to supporting local suppliers, White Spot each year buys -- among other products -- 5,000,000 pounds of potatoes, 675,000 pounds of tomatoes and 73,000 pounds of blueberries from British Columbia sources.

An all-British Columbia wine list, Erhart says, “is a natural extension for us.”

The restaurant chain has played it safe with its initial wine list, which consists of familiar varietals from recognized wineries.

The wines:

Inniskillin Okanagan Varietal Series Pinot Grigio
Inniskillin Okanagan Varietal Series Cabernet Sauvignon

Jackson-Triggs Reserve Select Sauvignon Blanc

Mission Hill Five Vineyards Chardonnay
Mission Hill Five Vineyards Cabernet Merlot

Red Rooster Merlot

Jackson-Triggs Reserve Select Shiraz

Peller Family Series Sauvignon Blanc
Peller Family Series Chardonnay
Peller Family Series Merlot

Erhart is open to expanding the list, perhaps with season specials. “You’ll see more wines added to the list,” he says. He expects that White Spot will increase its wine sales by 10% this year just by featuring only British Columbia wines. Wine currently accounts for about 25% of White Spot’s sales of beverage alcohol.
He expects the wines will not only appeal to local residents but also the many tourists who dine at White Spot.

Consumers can bring their own wine as well now that British Columbia is allowing guests to take their own to so-called “participating” restaurants. Restaurants that agree to the “bring your own wine” program have begun to announce the corkage fees they will charge for serving wines brought in by consumers.

The corkage charge at White Spot is $10, in tune with the restaurant’s good value philosophy. That is at the low end of the corkage charges that are being levied.
A list can be found at  The most common corkage fee is $20, although there are other restaurateurs that, like White Spot, have value-oriented corkage fees. The Thai House chain of restaurants has settled on $12.

The most aggressive corkage fee $60 at the Bearfoot Bistro in Whistler, which already has one of the best wine lists in British Columbia. Bearfoot Bistro is not the sort of restaurant to which one would take a bottle of Two Buck Chuck. If they bring their own wine to this restaurant, the high-roller patrons are more likely to show up with special bottles like Château Pétrus, so expensive that the corkage charge would be a trifle.

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