Wine by the glass coming to the rooms of upmarket hotels

While many upmarket hotels offer wine by the bottle in their guest rooms, patrons of many such hotels may soon be able to enjoy wine by the glass without calling room service or having to shed their plush bathrobes and trundle down to the lobby bar.

That’s because many leading independent hotels and high-end chains are installing a wine by-the-glass dispenser called Plum in their rooms or suites.

“The hotel in-room wine experience has remained largely unchanged for nearly 50 years (while) guest preferences have changed dramatically,” the company said in an email sent to TheTravelPro. “Today’s guests want personalized service, choices, and convenience. This is where Plum’s technology has revolutionized the industry.”

The device, which is 15 inches wide and about 20 inches long, holds two bottles of chilled wine and provides those wines by the glass, within the comfort of the guests’ hotel room. Oenophiles will be interested to know that the appliance has a motorized needle that pierces the foil and closure of the wine bottle, then preserves the wine with argon gas.

Plum uses cloud software to automatically track and bill guests, while also alerting housekeeping when it is time to replace an empty bottle. It also enables hoteliers to provide complimentary glasses of wine to recognize and reward guest loyalty, celebrate a special occasion, or instantly provide a glass in compensation for something that was amiss.

The devices can be set to dispense between 1 oz. and 9 oz. of wine, the higher amount representing the larger pours that are becoming increasingly popular, particularly in the travel space.

To date, Plum has partnered with upmarket independents and chains including Four Seasons, Marriott, Langham, Hyatt, Hilton, Waldorf Astoria, and Rosewood. The most recent to install Plum is the St. Regis Hotel in Washington, D.C., at which TheTravelPro stayed and reviewed, though nearly 10 years ago.

Plums are also available for home use. They can be purchased directly from or through the Williams-Sonoma. Retail price: $1,999.

My take

I can see several benefits to both the property and its guests but I also see one drawback: its capacity.

Plum only holds two bottles of wine, and I predict most hotels would opt for a Cabernet Sauvignon for the red and a Chardonnay for the white. While many people enjoy one or both of those varietals, that is nonetheless a very limited offering.

Plum CEO David Koretz told me in an email that many of the company’s customers “(P)urchase more than one Plum to have 4, 6 or even 10 bottles on tap, but in a modular design that provides greater flexibility” than would be the case with a single large unit.

It would have to be a truly extraordinary hotel to put more than one Plum in a guest room, thereby offering the expanded choices that I would like to see. Still, Plum promises to be a nice, additional amenity to upscale hotel accommodations.

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