El Gaucho Revamps Luxury

Critically acclaimed wine is just a few bills away.

“They’re just grapes from a farm, that’s all it is,” said Kristen Young, former Wine Director at AQUA by El Gaucho (formerly Waterfront Seafood Grill). “People like to make such a fuss about wine.”

El Gaucho Restaurants couldn’t agree more, and are proving it by slashing wine prices by 40 percent. The goal of the “Luxury List” promotion is to sell the high-priced wines that have collected dust in their cellar, thereby reducing their crowded inventory.

El Gaucho’s wine list is priced lower than any other third party seller (wine producers are considered first party sellers, while brokerages and distributors are considered second party sellers). El Gaucho’s five restaurant locations currently offer these select wines, essentially eating up a higher product cost to benefit you, the patron — specifically, your palate.

“It’s about reminding our guests why they like good juice,” said Chad Mackay, El Gaucho’s Chief Operating Officer and Owner. “We value high quality wine and know that our guests so as well. If selling certain brands at lower prices will allow our guests to enjoy them again, that is what we will do.”

Mackay’s theory is definitely generating attention from patrons, as well as the producers his company represents. El Gaucho tops the charts as one of the best sellers of Napa Valley’s prestigious Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon; though the label regularly lists at $175, El Gaucho offers it for $115.

El Gaucho in Bellevue.

Molly Schachter, El Gaucho’s Communication Coordinator, said guests are thrilled to partake in such an exceptional value. “Why not reward your guests on your own instead of trying to get new guests by deep discounting like so many in our industry are doing?” Schachter said. “We’re building our check averages by offering our guests a better product for a little less money than the industry standard. What’s not to love about that?”

Available at all El Gaucho locations in Seattle, Bellevue, Tacoma and Portland, Mackay feels this new “wine strategy” not only benefits their guests, but the restaurant staff as well. In mid-October, servers dove into a two-hour tasting and training seminar, along with four local wineries featured on the list; a similar training was held two weeks later.

Mackay and Schacter said the Luxury List started as a test to see what El Gaucho’s team of wine sellers could put together in less than two weeks — and how guests would react. They plan to keep the Luxury List as part of their core wine menu, and currently offer “decanter pours” of other wines in 9-ounce and 375-milliliter servings.

El Gaucho is promising more “guest rewards” to come in early 2012 — and the Luxury List is just the first taste of the great, delicious things to come.

AQUA by El Gaucho  |  2801 Alaskan Way (Pier 70), Seattle  |  (206) 956-9171