#VINOWEEKEND: Fries and a Sauvignon Blanc?

Modern wine culture has impacted not only fashion, film, music and art – but also the way we eat. Starbucks experimented by serving wine along side their Frappés a few years back.

Chipotle is probably the best known in this new category of dining called fast casual – a more “healthier” alternative that has taken young America (and Wall Street) by storm. Here are a few other fast casual eateries that have taken fast food to a new level, including a focused and complimentary wine offering with their food experience:

Shake Shack partnered with Frogs Leap Winery to offer a niche experience for their customers. CEO Randy Garutti wanted a premium product that was not only deliciously made but also responsibly made.

Tender Greens was founded on the belief of sustainability not only in their food, but also in the theme that carries through to the physical aspects of the space. Bottles of any kind are disallowed, thus their entire selection of local wines is on tap!

Blaze Pizza in California is a ‘subway sandwich’ experience for pizza. You walk through the line as you would at Subway or Chipotle, choosing ingredients to build your pizza.  Afterwards, it is fast-fired until the cheese is bubbly and the thin crust is ever so crispy.  Elise Wetzel, president of Blaze, estimates that “. . .sales of beer and wine can boost our top-line sales by 5–7 percent,” which is why a focused wine program at a fast casual can make an impact on the bottom line.  Additionally, it provides the consumer with a reason to visit the fast casual over a fast food and the business owner the incentive to create a well thought out program-possibly contributing to choosing the fast casual over a casual.

Explore the fast casual experience at a ‘eco’ Mexican restaurant La Serena Grill and a well balanced glass of Tablas Creek, on tap, from Paso Robles. (Oh, and Read an award-winning wine writer’s perspective on wines on tap.)