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06.13.2005

How The Wine Gets Into The Restaurant (and Into Your Glass)

If you're like me, you don't spend much time thinking about the mechanics of a restaurant wine list. Sure, you notice just like I do when there's a great set of wines on there -- a special bottle or two or an amazing by the glass list. Maybe, if you're a regular at the restaurant, you even notice that they change the list every week, or that every time you go there are different wines by the glass.

This is all the visible part of the restaurant's wine program, usually run by the wine director of sommelier, and underneath it is often a rigorous set of processes and objectives that are arranged to make sure that we shop up and have something good to drink.

For a little peek into the backroom of a top restaurant's wine program I point you to an blog entry about how sommeliers deal with wine wholesalers from the VinTrust blog.

AND. Because I'm not one to pass up the opportunity, here's another great post from the same blog about how wine service SHOULD work. The competence of the wine service at restaurants varies from fantastic to downright horrid, and I often find myself bristling at the fact that I can't get better stemware even if I ask the server politely or if a second bottle of wine is opened and poured without letting me taste it first.

Couched as advice from a professional sommelier to waiters, it's a nice re-affirmation of what you should expect from a restaurant that takes wine and wine service seriously.

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The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud Adventures on the Wine Route by Kermit Lynch Love By the Glass by Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher Noble Rot by William Echikson The Science of Wine by Jamie Goode The Judgement of Paris by George Taber The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell The Emperor of Wine by Elin McCoy The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson The World's Greatest Wine Estates by Robert M. Parker, Jr.