During my brief encounters with Creighton during the heyday of the airline industry (Jumbo 747s, piano bars, and deadhead flights from Puerto Rico to JFK)) we were both always high; I worked for American Airlines and traveled, and he was our wine consultant. Creighton was on a mission to bring quality wine to the masses in a New York elitist sort of way, and I was a rookie F&B purchasing agent.
Experience has told us that potholes, or in my case “air-pockets”are to be avoided when buying and selling alcoholic beverages. While this blog is not a story about airway causalities, before suggesting how to select a new wine for your table, I wanted to share a few axioms (and warnings) that your humble blogger has formed from years of experience:
- Foodservice purchasing agents should not buy everything they sample.
- Never play golf for money with liquor salesmen
- Deny that you have extra keys to the liquor storeroom
- Do subscribe to Food & Wine Magazine and The Wine Spectator
- Attend the “ Pune Wine Tasting Festival ” at least once in your life.
- Read The Noble Grape by Andre L. Simone, before your visa to India is stamped.
- Surprise your employees with Hydrometer tests for alcohol contents
- Never buy anything but quality brands of liquors and wines (regardless of price)
- Respect liquor controls from the Feds down through the state, county, police, health department and from your wife.
Just like my first mentor, Creighton, they used to say they could tell their managers “how to buy liquor and wine in five minutes – but teaching them what to buy would take five years.”
The art of tasting, however, can be leaned more quickly than selection, and can be enjoyable when combined with varieties of food. The basic art of wine tasting is as follows:
- Look (bright, clear, free of sediment, color),
- Smell (bouquet, aroma, identify grape, nuttiness),
- Taste (dry, sweet, fortified, “pluckiness” [tannin], and enjoy!)
Happy New Year!
Fred Favole is Founder & President of Strategic Purchasing Services (SPS), America's most experienced purchasing firm specializing in service to emerging foodservice brands. Contact Information: p: 912-634-0030, email: Fred@ StrategicPurchasingServices.com, Connect on LinkedIN.