Young friends having fun outdoor drinking red wine - Happy people enjoying harvest time at farmhouse vineyard winery - Youth friendship concept with focus on guy toasting in middle frame - Warm filter

In Vino Veritas LIX: The Indirect Value of Wine Tasting Events

Away on vacation for a food and wine festival hosted by a luxury mountain resort, I was fortunate enough to participate in a wine tasting conducted by Amy McCandlish, assistant winemaker at Eyrie Vineyards in MicMinnville, Oregon. The one-hour-plus presentation provided a quick overview on the winery and included a tasting of five of their top products. For the two dozen participants, it was an opportunity to get close and personal with the wine. Here, we were guided through the nuances of several wines of the same grape variety, allowing us to understand the nuances created by the vintage and cellaring processes as well as furthering our knowledge and appreciation of this omnipotent elixir. After all, learning is a lifelong process and should not be restricted to a classroom setting, unless that classroom setting involves a healthy amount of libations. For reference, the varietal in question was pinot gris which …

lmaadminIn Vino Veritas LIX: The Indirect Value of Wine Tasting Events
Waiter presenting burnished flask of beverage. Focus on wine

In Vino Veritas LVIII: Beverage Specialist Nomenclature

Educating your servers about wine so they pay that knowledge forward to patrons in the form of intelligent menu recommendations and building a rapport is a worthwhile pursuit as well as one I have wholly espoused throughout this column. However, with many restaurants already encouraging this practice and with even more waiters seeing this as an avenue for bigger tips, basic wine knowledge has become the norm rather than a value-add. And therein lies an opportunity to further enhance overall guest satisfaction. This doesn’t mean you should abort all attempts at staff education or in offering recommendations. Rather, we have to put our marketing caps on for a moment to see if there’s a way we can tweak this aspect of the meal experience so that it feels fresh once again. And an easy solution may be in further specializing your F&B team then giving these dedicated experts uniquely alluring …

lmaadminIn Vino Veritas LVIII: Beverage Specialist Nomenclature
Welcome to Oregon

In Vino Veritas LVII: Cascade Wines

The New World, and North America have come a long way in the past few decades. Since the Judgment of Paris in 1976, vintners beyond of the hallowed soils of the northern Mediterranean have sought to grow their stocks as far more than jug wine. It is the knowledge and passion for the process of winemaking that gives live to the end product, not just where you are on a map. Some 40 years later and exceptional viticulture flourishes in every corner of the continent where vines will grow, especially California where it all began. But just north of the Golden State, in Oregon and in Washington, they are doing incredible things as well, and for a fraction of the cost to consumers when compared to the some of the outrageous price tags on renowned Californian labels. While the appellations vary wildly across these two territories when it comes to …

lmaadminIn Vino Veritas LVII: Cascade Wines
Statue of Bacchus the Roman god of agriculture and wine, similar to the Greek Dionysus

In Vino Veritas LVI: Happy Liberalia

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! This is something I extol with a grain of salt as today’s holiday, which is supposed to be a heartfelt celebration of Irish history and culture, has been somewhat hijacked in recent years by rowdy revelers and college kids in search of their next excuse for intoxication. There is, however, a defunct Roman holiday – the Liberalia – which also occurs on this day. While the modern leprechaun is keen on beer, the Roman counterpart upheld wine as its hallowed libation, and therein lies a profound takeaway by contrasting the two occasions and their beverage of choice. Without going into specifics about the weird and hypersexualized rituals that the ancient Italians had for the Liberalia, what’s interesting is that it was not just a celebration to honor the god of viticulture – that is, Liber Pater, but not Bacchus or Dionysus who were the Roman gods …

lmaadminIn Vino Veritas LVI: Happy Liberalia
Bottle assembly for manufacturing traditional craft cognac

In Vino Veritas LV – Scoured Grapes

Distilled grape spirits present yet another opportunity for you to boost F&B revenues, both through their gracing of the drinks list and as worthwhile cooking ingredients or pairings for cuisine. The title here of ‘scoured’ was a shaky attempt at rhyming off of the common ‘sour grapes’ expression, but in a lot of ways it’s still relevant. To scour is to clean – albeit primarily through scrubbing – which is in many ways similar to the process of distilling the alcohol from a fermentation batch of whatever macerated fruit, pomace or sugar-filled primary ingredient a producer starts with. After all, they are called ‘spirits’ because these distilled products are first the hollow, tasteless essence of their juice before additional flavors are reintroduced through barrel aging or other supplementary processes. Enough about the science of how these beverages are made; what’s most important for hoteliers is how to wield these higher-than-20% …

lmaadminIn Vino Veritas LV – Scoured Grapes
Unrecognizable young man in a wine shop choosing a wine

In Vino Veritas LIV – Don’t Judge A Wine By Its Bottle

A riff on the classical adage, “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” let’s first examine this more common expression a bit closer to see how it applies to wine, spirits and the pursuit of restaurant profits. We are told not to base our opinions or conclusions about objects and individuals solely on their outward appearance because there is often far more happening beneath the surface worthy of our consideration, if you were only to give said object or person a chance. It’s a valuable piece of advice, hence why it sticks. But its popularity, aside from its terse and catchy qualities, can be attributed to the fact that we humans are hardwired to make snap judgments based entirely on superficial qualities. The phrase has near-universal applicability because we are genetically programmed to make shortcuts in our decision-making mental processes – a trait that is favorable when, say, debating whether …

lmaadminIn Vino Veritas LIV – Don’t Judge A Wine By Its Bottle
Glasses of mulled wine in snow

In Vino Veritas Part LIII – Mulled Wine And Other Holiday Spirits

‘Tis the season to be jolly, and what better way to help put you in a very merry mood than with a holiday-themed libation. There’s something about this time of year that brings out our indulgent side. It starts with that extra slice of pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving, and then it’s a slippery slope all the way to through to the inevitable reckoning on January 1st and all the various proclamations of austere diets that only last for roughly two weeks. In any case, knowing that the holiday season is synonymous with decadence means that you should adjust your F&B offerings to better appease this primed audience, all in the pursuit of greater guest satisfaction and hopefully a few more dollars in your wallet. As this is a wine-focused column, I’ll focus on the beverage side of things, but also keep in mind that food has an equal role to …

lmaadminIn Vino Veritas Part LIII – Mulled Wine And Other Holiday Spirits
Old village Solutre-Pouilly with vineyards, Burgundy, France

In Vino Veritas LII – Look to the Loire

As a wine producer, France is so much more than Bordeaux and Burgundy – its two most prestigious growing regions and perhaps the only two that most people can name offhand. Wherever you can harvest grapes, the French are already doing just that, and there are many fantastic hidden gems (sometimes at bargain prices) waiting for you and your guests to discover, thereby helping increase meal satisfaction and revenue per table. From a North American perspective, the Loire Valley isn’t terribly well-known. While your patrons yearn for a bit of education to enrich their dining experiences, they don’t want to be force-fed a lecture. As such, when introducing an appellation, varietal, winemaking process or anything else from the vintner’s glossary of terms, start simple then expand only when prompted. What I’ve previously alluded to as a wine or growing region’s USP (unique sales proposition), the one for the Loire would …

lmaadminIn Vino Veritas LII – Look to the Loire
Wine bottles stored in a shelf, very shallof DoF

In Vino Veritas LI: You Wine List Is Too Long

One of the fundamental marketing principles I abide by is: Keep It Simple Stupid. While that fourth word is often incorporated only to make it into a highly memorable acronym (KISS), it is not far from the truth. Perhaps the more apt word is ‘busy’ in that we are all too rushed and distracted to notice everything that’s happening around us. For example, you stand at a busy urban intersection. Have you noted what the make and model of every car that passes by? Have you read every billboard? Do you notice the attention to detail that goes into each person’s fashion sense? We have so much on our minds that concentrating on any one particular thing for an extended period of time or even giving something the attention it deserves is impossible. In this sense, we are all indeed stupid because there are so many worldly fascinations and so …

lmaadminIn Vino Veritas LI: You Wine List Is Too Long
Two glasses of white and red wine with food at sunset, toned

In Vino Veritas L: Love Every Region

As this is the 50th edition of the ‘In Wine There Is Truth’ column, it’s a good time to reflect on many of the oenophilic topics addressed in the past. As the Roman numeral for 50 is ‘L’, the first word that comes to mind is ‘Love’. That is, once you begin to truly engross yourself in viticulture, you’ll start to relish in all the details that distinguish the subtle characteristics of one bottle from another. Once you deepen your knowledge of all things related to this worldly grape libation, you’ll realize that wine is as much about what’s in the bottle (varietal, production methods, vintage) as it is where the bottle came from (terroir, climate, regional traditions). As such, it’s important to have a few key facts handy about each name of origin to further develop the narrative and appeal for a customer. In this sense, communicating that you …

lmaadminIn Vino Veritas L: Love Every Region