Last week I shared with you that it is time to change the wine list for the fall and winter seasons and it is my responsibility to see it through. After meeting with my boss, Aaron, he graciously allowed me to make changes to whatever wines I wanted with the exception of two, the Aruma Malbec and Whitehaven Sauvignon Blanc which are both BTG (by the glass) options. This is the first time he has allowed me so much freedom with the list which is great but as I was working on everything I wanted to change, I realized how much work I was really in for.
I emailed Aaron to let him know what I was thinking of changing; he too realized that I was in for quite a bit of work in a short period of time so he offered some advice.
- Figure out what wines were going to be on our ‘core list’ meaning they weren’t going to change in the next 9 months or so. These will also be the wines that we list BTB (by the bottle) in the guest rooms.
- Make all the BTG changes you want (with the exception of the two mentioned above) and write descriptions for each.
- Write a new dessert wine program, this area needed the most help out of all of them. Make sure your staff can get behind what you are doing otherwise all of your work will be lost and we will lose money on top of it.
Now that I had some guidance on how to go about all of these changes, I put my head down and got busy. I put together a general list of varietals/styles/regions that I wanted to taste with my vendors and it was a lengthy to say the least. After all of the tastings with our vendors I had to strategize the list, I started with the BTG program first.
- I wanted to do a new sparkling wine flight that did not involve such a big name like Chandon so I found Gruet from New Mexico. The wines are incredibly full flavored and they are a little more ‘local’ which I think is much more interesting.
- I dropped Rombauer and chose Martinelli Chardonnay from Sonoma County, California instead. This was a risky move but it is a much better wine in my opinion, more clean and stylistically correct. And it happens to be a favorite wine of our owners!
- I dropped Domaine Wachau Gruner Veltliner and chose Ken Forrester Old Vine Reserve Chenin Blanc from South Africa. I think South African wines show incredible value and it makes the guest reach outside of their box a little bit which is always fun.
- I kept the Fess Parker Riesling because it is stylistically correct and our guests love it. Plus, this was a wine I brought on last spring so I don’t necessarily have to change it this time around.
- For another outside of the box wine I chose to bring on an Italian Chardonnay, Rivera Preludio No.1. This will replace the Mer Soleil Silver (an unoaked Chardonnay). My strategy with this is to either get the guest to be more adventurous for less ($12 BTG) or if they want a true California Chardonnay, they have to upgrade to the Martinelli ($18 BTG).
- I kept the Anselmi Pinot Grigio because we get such a good deal on it that we can use it in banquets and amenities if needed. Also it’s true to its style and region.
- I also kept the Whitehaven Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand for the same reason as the pinot grigio.
I am very excited to see how the guests react to these changes, hopefully I can introduce them to something new that they can appreciate. We will see…
This is just part one of two regarding all of the changes I’ve made, next I will share with you all of the red wines and the dessert wines that I chose. It’s just a little too much to share it all at once and I don’t want to bore all of you! Until next time…
I would just like to say thank you for following me on my journey to become a Master Sommelier, it means so much to have your support. Please be sure to leave a comment and subscribe to my blog so you can stay up to date on all of my latest adventures!