A glass of Chardonnay while eating out is an increasingly expensive treat as wine inventories start to shrivel, according to a new report.

The price of vino by the glass has crept up steadily over the last six months, according to Restaurant Sciences, an independent firm that tracks food and beverage product sales.

The most pronounced surge -- an 8.4 percent jump -- came in the family dining sector, in which the average meal costs $38.50 or less. Wine prices also boomed at the opposite end of the scale, swelling 5.4 percent at white-tablecloth establishments, where the average overall check is as much as $1,000.

The trend was more muted at casual and upscale casual restaurants, where bills range from $38.50 to $122.50. There, wine prices have risen less than 2 percent.

Wine -- served in glasses, bottles or carafes -- delivers $289 million in restaurant sales a year, according to the study. The report covers more than 5,000 restaurants and excludes wine sales at nightclubs, hotel restaurants, fast-food outlets and concession stands.

Chuck Ellis, president of Restaurant Sciences, attributed the uptick in prices to a growing shortage of wine coupled with increased demand.

Wineries have recently begun targeting younger drinkers, offering labels with sassier names, relaxed tasting events and easy-drinking wines.



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