When we opened 333 Pacific Restaurant in Oceanside, we were unsure of what the market was going to be like. Putting the list together was a bit of a challenge. There really wasn’t much in Oceanside as far as restaurants. For the most part there were chain restaurants and fast food chains. 333 Pacific was going to be the “new thing” in that area. The idea behind 333 Pacific was to host a quasi steak and seafood restaurant similar to Island Prime. The restaurant is situated directly across the street from the Oceanside pier. What sort of clients were we to get? Were we going to appeal to families, beach bums, local businesses or guests from the resort hotel upstairs?
The basic idea was to have a large bar/lounge which features 100 vodkas. Every vodka was priced at $7 whether it was Smirnoff, Grey Goose or Marx, they were all $7. So in creating the wine list my challenge was to see how much we were going to do in wine sales. Would we have a wine crowd or a cocktail crowd. Would we have big spenders looking for eclectic brands or guests looking for the store brands that they were comfortable with. I decide to play down the middle and offer a bit of everything, but make it very approachable.
Where I decided to experiment was in the way I formatted the wine list out. Rather than doing a traditional wine list in which the wines are listed by price or varieties or regions, I decided to put it into categories. I choose several categories: Stand Out Whites, 90 point wines, Eco Friendly Wineries, Female Wine Makers, Light Bodied Reds, Medium Bodied Reds, Full Bodied Reds and European Wines. It might have been a bit confusing at first, but once the guest started perusing it made it a bit more interesting. This also forced the wait staff to study and get to know more about the wine list. Below is a copy of the original wine list.