We like to call them Wine Essentials!

 

What is a wine essential? By my classification, it is a product or idea that has the ability to help you enjoy more and/or better wine. When it comes to products, most wine essentials are, or can be, accessories, however, not all wine accessories are essentials. There are also products that, when taught to be used properly, can become essential.

To many of us, wine can be a largely unknown and sometimes “scary” topic. We all know something, but we also seem to know so little. Ever sit in a restaurant and stare at the wine list or worry that you’ll be asked to select the wine? I know I have. We rely on others, waiters, sommeliers, and even bartenders etc. to help us select and that is o.k., however, keep in mind two things .. 1. With all the wine options in the world not everyone can be “all knowing” 2. Everyone’s tastes are different, so any selection may or may not be right for you at any given time.

From the variety of topics that I write on, hopefully most of you recognize that there is an attempted common thread to help you enjoy your wine experience(s) whether at home or traveling. I try to, through information and education, so that you may gain an understanding which translates to comfort and confidence when relating to wine. By introducing wine essentials, we hope it will help you continue to grow and expand the quality of your wine experience(s).

Here are a couple categories I’d place on the wine essential list:

1.Wine Aeration – wine aeration has been around for years, although until recently much of it was occurred with the process referred to as decanting. Essentially the benefit with wines (predominately used for with reds) is to “soften” the wine by exposing it to air “loosening” the tannins. Decanting also has the added benefit of separating sediment. As of the past 10+ years, the process has taken on a more modern twist using products that aid the process. I’ll go more in detail in an upcoming article and describe the why’s, what’s and how’s.

                                                             
 

2.Wine Preservation – I am very biased on this, however, I am not bashful to be adamant on the importance for this category to be known and understood. For consumers and the retail and restaurant trade, this category can help expand the enjoyment of more and better wine more than any marketing campaign. Education, comprehension, trust and use are key. There are many methods with pros and cons and some being better than others. I look forward to discussing this more.

                                                                       

3.Experiential Wine Events – this is a very WIDE range of angles that will fill the qualification of being a wine essential. These events can be at home, restaurant, local or near/far away as destination experiences. They can be formal, casual or event oriented. As you can tell, it is not all about where wine is drunk, but just simply that you are drinking wine and able to enjoy more and better. Look for multiple topics here.

                                       

With all the above said, as we continue down the path of these WAVE Wine Club articles, I may not teach you specifically about particular wines, however I’ll do all I can to talk about ways to enhance your wine experience. For more info, feel free to go to Silvadore Wine Essentials. I look to hear questions and ideas from all of you on products or experiences and hope to turn them in to wine essentials for you and your friends.

Gary Gottfried is the Founding Principal of Crosslink Marketing LLC and has over 30 years in the food and wine industry. He consults for the Specialty Food Association based in NYC and Chairs their Food Service Council. He is also a partner in Silvadore Brands a wine essentials company. He can be reached at (440) 463-4663 and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Respect the Power of Your Palate

Have you ever tasted a wine then read the wine notes on the bottle and thought hmmmm, I don’t taste or smell that at all? Or, have you been at a wine tasting heard the wine reps’ long list of descriptors and thought I obviously don’t know much about wine because all I smell is … wine? Then keep reading I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Wine tasting is relative and totally based on personal perception. What I taste as pear, you may perceive as green apple. What I perceive as tropical fruit may translate on your palate as mango and pineapple. Who is right? We both are. Taste, in all its forms is based on personal perception. To appreciate the power of your palate you must first become aware and respect your taste.

Become a Student

Pay attention to what you smell and taste in a wine then make a mental note or better yet, jot it down. Revisit wines and compare what flavors stand out as you re-taste. Make a habit of attentively smelling everything - coffee, fruit, flowers, etc … and make a mental note of what captures your attention. Learn to appreciate and savor the taste and smell of the foods you eat. As you become of student of taste you will begin to better recognize and describe what you taste. And that leads to trusting your palate.

Make Time to Taste

Drinking wine is what you do when you are just hanging out and enjoying the moment. Tasting wine is an exercise in attention, appreciation and thought. Attending wine tastings at your local wine shop is a great, cost effective way to experience the art of tasting wine. Chances are the wine tasting will offer some new and interesting wines allowing you to expand your tasting experience. Pay attention to the wine descriptors the wine rep shares and see how they fit with your own assessment. As you broaden your horizons you will develop “palate recall” and an understanding of what Chardonnay or Cabernet tastes like to you. As time goes by you will develop a recognition of the nuances and differences in wine and even be able to distinguish where they are made and by whom. You will become your own wine expert.

Remember it’s all Relative

As you gain confidence you will understand that its okay that what you taste, or smell may be different than the wine notes on the bottle. What matters most is knowing what you taste and what you like.

And always remember, whether the wine glass is half full or half empty, always fill it with quality wine. Happy Sipping, Yolanda Albergottie, Wine Education Coordinator, Chuck’s Fines Wines, Chagrin Falls, Ohio. 440.247.7534. Follow us on twitter @chucksfinewines.

Just How Serious of a Wine Person Are you?

 
 
Pardon me … please do not take this as a challenge, but rather just as an assessment of where you want to be, knowledge wise, in the world of wine?

First you should be true to yourself on whether you want to be a professional in all or many aspects of wine, or a more versatile and educated wine consumer, or simply a hobbyist who is interested in pure learning and knowledge. Once you know that, you can select a program that is “right” for your needs.

There are plenty of local programs (may be that can help get you started, but if you are more focused and seriously minded there are wine and culinary schools that teach wine and entry level programs.

Do you know someone who wants to work in the wine/spirits/hospitality industry but they just don't know where to start? All of the certifications and programs out there can be a bit intimidating when you first start out. The Bev Specialist Certificate made available by the Society of Wine Educators is a wonderful place to start (full disclosure, I am a member and a big fan of this organization).

The Hospitality/Beverage Specialist Certificate (HBSC) is an entry-level, beverage knowledge program designed to fulfill the needs of the hospitality and culinary industries and their employees. The Beverage Specialist Certificate can also be used as an entry-level course for those planning to pursue higher levels of wine, beer, or spirits certification.
The HBSC provides a broad base of knowledge, covering all commercially relevant beverages, not just wine or spirits. The program’s content covers: coffee, tea, beer, sake, cider, perry, wine, and spirits. Details about sensory evaluation, tasting notes, and service standards for each beverage type are included as well as a chapter on the responsible service of beverage alcohol.

As an added thought, I’ll place a little “plug” right now for SWE. This year’s conference is almost in our backyard being held in Rochester NY (near the NY Finger Lakes). Those of you inclined may want to consider attending or, at the very least, learn more about it. Nice way to tie in a trip some to great regional wineries (pictured below is from Bet the Farm Winery, Kit Kalfs, the “guy” in the picture, at one time lived in our NE Ohio area ). Did you know that NY State is home to the 4th largest number of wineries, behind CA/WA/OR?
 

In addition, enjoy touring an areas full of nice surprises i.e. Corning Museum of Glass, Watkins Glen, or even within a short drive to Niagara on the Lake.

Gary Gottfried is a wine preservation specialist who consults on helping consumers enjoy and businesses sell more wine. He consults to the food and wine industry. Contact Gary at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The Best Summer Bash Ever Entertainment Guide

Graduations, weddings and hot weather all mean party time! Here are some great tips to help make your next event the one everyone remembers as the best summer bash of the year.

Basic questions to answer before you head out shopping:

How long the will the party last?

How many people will be drinking wine –vs- beer?

How many white wine, red wine drinkers?

What is the budget?

To give yourself some cushion calculate a drink per person per hour. There are approximately 60 glasses of wine in a case. However, keep in mind you will need a little more if people are self- served rather than bartender served.

KISS

Keep it simple sweetie! Consider limiting choices to one red, one white and one rosé. The more options you give the more unused or half used wine you will have left over. So, if you feel you must give choices make sure they are wines you won’t mind drinking.

Shop Small, Shop Local

You will want to make a visit to your local wine shop where you are sure to find a nice selection of crowd pleasing wines at price points that won’t break the bank. The beauty of shopping small and local is the wine buyers curate value priced selections of artisan wines not carried in big box stores. The last thing you want is your party goers to see the same cheap wine stacked high at the grocery store now proudly displayed at your and everyone else’s party this summer. How gauche! Plus, you now have the added bonus of being the one who sniffed out that cool, crisp, new white wine everyone is raving about. It can be your secret where you found it and how much it cost.

Screw It!

Whether you hire a bartender, handle in-house or go the self-serve route, make it easy on everyone and choose stelvin closures aka screw caps. A wide variety of beautiful, summer quaffable wines are available in screw cap. It’s ecological, quick and easy.

Pound it!

Porch pounders are what I affectionately call wines with stelvin closures that are light, crisp easy to drink and retail under $15. There are many great porch pounders on the market right now. Consider these fun, crowd pleasing bit different varietals for a change of pace: Pic Poul de Pinet or Gavi for whites and light bodied reds like Gamay, Barbera and Dolcetto which tase great with a slight chill.

Whether the wine glass is half full or half empty, always fill it with quality wine. Happy Sipping, Yolanda Albergottie, Wine Education Coordinator, Chuck’s Fines Wines, Chagrin Falls, Ohio.

Follow us on twitter @chucksfinewines.

My Favorite Wine Tale (Part 2)

 

For Gary’s Gulps, the time is already here for my “Favorite Wine Tale Part 2” and in a Paul Harvey kind of way (for those of you who remember Paul Harvey) …. here is the “rest of the story”. By the way,I know this may come across a little boastful. lt is not intended to be. It is more about what I can happen in the wine world through simple unexpected happenings through establishing everyday friendship. I’d like to encourage each of you to open yourself up to what can happen.
A refresher, in the last wine tale, I mentioned how I met one of the great grandchildren of George and Fernande Latour and what an aid she was to open doors at some well known Napa wineries.
 
Well a friendship that started on a chance meeting continues to this day 6 years later. Since I annually attend the Fancy Food Show in San Francisco in January and have for a number of years now, I try to make a visit to the various wine regions surrounding San Francisco while out there. In the early years, I’d go to Napa regularly only to learn to change it up for the experience (i.e. Livermore, Mendocino, Sonoma, Amador County, Paso Robles), however meeting Dagmar and Patrick made going back a must.For the wine .. for sure, but even more so for the remarkable history and experience that places everything in to context. Beaulieu Vineyards, constitutes over 130 acres in Rutherford right off the main drag of route 29 and right across from the BV Wine Tasting room and the very well recognized restaurant, The Rutherford Grill. I had the unique opportunity to be invited to stay on property (it is now under control of the family trust) and take it all in.

Extra special because they were gracious to include our son, Will, who was helping me at the Fancy Food Show. Thanks to their friendships, we got to experience several special visits at wineries including Inglenook, which is owned by Francis Ford Coppola and right next door to their property, and Raymond Vineyards which is a Jean Claude Boissett winery and one of the most entertaining wineries to visit.

Add to that being privy to seeing family photo’s with Julia Child and Henry Kissinger, to name a few, on property in them, really gives one a sense of the history and what it means if the proverbial “if the walls could talk” was to occur.

It is evident that meeting Dagmar and Patrick and watching them be interacting with friends, they are revered not for who they are but what they are … just darn good people. They are friends first and foremost and no matter whatever happens in life, that is what I hope is what they will always be.
 
An added footnote, given my food background and consulting business I am now involved 
with helping them with their seafood business, Wild Grill Foods (check it out at wildgrillfoods.com). By the way, care to see the property yourself? Well it is possible through a third party rental program for weddings and events. I have thrown a few photographs. Enjoy your wine travels!
 
 
 
 
Ever have a desire to share a fun or interesting, wine experience or story? We all have our own wine tales.  I am fortunate to be able to do so thanks to Gary’s Gulps, but I’d more than welcome being able to share one of yours sometime. Simply drop me a note with your fun tale at my email address noted below.   
 
 
Gary Gottfried is a wine preservation specialist who consults on helping consumers enjoy and businesses sell more wine. He also consults more broadly to the food and wine industry through his Crosslink Marketing business.  Contact Gary at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.