A bottle of Cabernet Moravia by winemaker Lubomír Glos costs CZK 990 at Zlatá Praha restaurant. The same wine on the menu of Brno’s Restaurant císaře Leopolda is available for CZK 225.
While in western Europe it is common that prices of wine at restaurants reach about double the price for which the vintner sells it, in the Czech Republic the original price is multiplied by four or five. This concerns even the cheaper Czech wines.
“In France, you can be sure that a bottle of wine is available at a restaurant for double the price the wine is sold at a store,” says Czech food critic Vladimír Poštulka. He says similar standard has not been achieved in this country yet.
Jiří Schneider, the head of a shift at Zlatá Praha, does not consider the prices of Czech wine on the menu to be overpriced. “Our restaurant is one of the most luxurious restaurants in Prague,” he says explaining why Zlatá Praha’s management adds up to 300% of the original price for a bottle of wine and why the cheapest wine costs over CZK 900.
“Even at the best of restaurants the prices for a bottle of wine should start at around CZK 300,” says Poštulka, who evaluates Czech restaurants for the German dining guide Der Feinschmecker.
Some explain restaurants’ unfavourable price policy by pointing out that in contrast to winemakers, the owners of restaurants have not yet shaken off the consequences of forty years of communism. “Producers today can compare with Europe, but restaurants lag behind in this sense. They want to profit from the boom of domestic wines,” Jiří Sedlo, chairman of the winemakers association, said.
HN decided to compare the prices of the above-mentioned Cabernet Moravia 2004 from the wine cellar of the Glas family, as this wine appears on a wide range of wine lists of restaurants all over the Czech Republic. It is sold for various prices, from the modest CZK 200, to CZK 600 (hotel Paříž) or CZK 450 (Villa Richter). At some places you can buy it even for CZK 1,000. To have this bottle in a cellar is rather a matter of prestige: Lubomír Glos is the “father” of Cabernet Moravia – the cultivar was developed by crossbreeding on his vineyards in Moravská Nová Ves.
“My most expensive wine is offered in restaurants that are located at very good spots. They have to pay high rent and so their prices have to be also higher,” says Lubomír Glos. However, for example the Restaurant císaře Leopolda, which is located in Brno’s Orlí, one of the busiest streets in the town, contradicts this theory. “We do not want our wines to stay lying here,” Martin Helia, the owner, explains why he does not charge his clients as much for the same wine as his competitors.