In Our Server We Trust

With expanding wine lists, selecting a wine can be harder than it seems. This is when we entrust our taste buds with our who is supposed to be knowledgeable in both food and wine. Sure, we bullshit to a certain extent only because we really aren’t too sure if that $200 bottle of wine develops from white pepper to smoke with a hint of cocoa on the end. We only know as much as you do sometimes.

Is it the server’s fault they lack the tools to enrich your meal?

Yes and no.

I have worked in quite a few restaurants ranging from corporate to fine dining. Many of the restaurants will not allow their staff to sample the wine, which makes it harder to sell. I worked at a wine bar that featured 100 wines by the glass. Here the staff was encouraged to sample the wines for their own knowledge. By sampling we were able to sell better and also match the guests requests. We also were visited by wine representatives who would tell us about their wines. Here we gained information that would not be featured on the wine list, a little something more to tell the guests.

Just like when you go to wine store and ask for recommendations, your server at a restaurant should ask you a few questions in order to gage where your palate stands compared to theirs. Simple questions, such as do you prefer light, medium, or full bodied? What do you usually drink? Is there a specific region you are drawn to? I was lucky enough to be able to give samples of any of the 100 wines we sold. From here I would bring two to three different wines over that I thought my table would enjoy, but I wouldn’t tell them which was which until after they tasted it. Sometimes when people hear a name they will go with it because it sounds familiar. This is why I was a fan of the blind tasting, people would learn that they actually did like Mouvedre or that Merlot they turned their nose up at before because it simply was a Merlot.

I’ll admit I’m guilty of name association as well. When I go to the wine store, I get overwhelmed, not because I don’t know what anything is, but because I can’t make up my mind. Here is where I entrust the wine clerk to pick out the wine for me. There are some wine stores on Long Island and in Manhattan that allow samples of specific wines. These wines are hooked up to a system that when you push a button a sample will pour into your glass. Yes, these wines are usually the ones they are trying to push that month, but hey if I can try it before I buy it then I might just be inclined to buy more. It’s just smart marketing.

If you’re out at a restaurant and you want to politely ask the server about their wine knowledge you should ask them if they are allowed to sample the wines. If yes then close the menu, if no then ask them for their based on a select few you’ve chosen. In restaurants that I’ve worked where we hadn’t sampled the wines, I would base my answers on what other tables have told me about that wine. “It’s very popular” is polite waiter-speak for I haven’t personally had it but everyone orders and enjoys it so it must be good. Trust your server, they won’t steer you wrong on purpose because, hey,  if you hate it then they have to listen to it. Take chances, take recommendations and as always remember to Wine Your Diet.

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Posted in Dining, Wine | 2 Comments »

  • http://www.gocubans.com Gennie

    The author has shared his personal experience and gave a nice explanation about the role of servers in choosing wine according to the taste and choice of every person.
    Meghan emphasizes that the servers should be allowed to sample because it’s the right way to satisfy customers.
    This is really an impressive post,i think more information should be shared here.

  • http://www.gocubans.com Gennie

    The author has shared his personal experience and gave a nice explanation about the role of servers in choosing wine according to the taste and choice of every person.
    Meghan emphasizes that the servers should be allowed to sample because it’s the right way to satisfy customers.
    This is really an impressive post,i think more information should be shared here.

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