I met Clara a few years back at a tasting and I was just starting out with the blogging stuff. I was probably sat in a corner feeling a bit lonely and she must have took pity on me and come over and said hello. Before I knew it I’d been invited down to a dinner with her and a few of her wine mates and I never forget how cool she was in introducing me around when I was feeling all tongue tied and nervous about everything.
So when it was time to call in the professionals to teach me how to build a wine list for the new restaurant, of course I was going to call the head of Veraison, the client education department at Berkmann Cellars; my mate, Clara.
Well, I say I called her. It was more that I think she had an inkling that I’d be a bit out of my depth and could probably do with a few wise words. So she wangled me a spot at her “Wine List 101” masterclass at Berkmann’s recent London portfolio tasting.
You know those things that seem obvious when you know them, but til someone’s told you, you’ve not got a clue?! Yeah, that was me in this 45 minutes of blistering note taking of pearl after pearl of obvious (but previously unknown to me and most of the room) gems.
A couple of examples? Ok, how are these for you? The importance of staff training is obvious, but the follow on that if your staff know what they’re doing, your punters won’t be checking their phones for ideas, stumble on the retail price and get pissed off at restaurant margins. Very useful to know. As a sweet wine fan I loved the idea of banning coffee or tea til after desserts so diners will be open to the pleasures of a glass of Sauternes or two. Definitely, definitely doing that one!
Clara, awesome stuff, thanks so much for the wise words.