During my brief encounters with Creighton in the mid-1970's, during the heyday of the airline industry (Jumbo 747s, piano bars, 1st class wine tasting, carved roast beef, King crab and wonderful deadhead flights from JFK to Paris or Puerto Rico ). We were both always high; I worked for American Airlines and was sky-high, and he was high on life and wine. 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 with a $115 million budget.
Experience teaches 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 drinking causalities, before suggesting to you how to select a wine for your table or business, it would be best if you would draw a glass of your favorite port or chardonnay, as I share a few tips and quips.
- Foodservice purchasing agents should not buy everything they sample.
- Never play golf for money with a liquor salesmen
- Deny that you have an extra set of 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 expires or they outsource your job.
- Surprise your employees with a Hydrometer test (for alcohol contents)
- Never buy anything but quality brands of liquors and wines (regardless of the price or free trip to Las Vegas)
- Respect liquor controls from the Feds down through the state, county, police, health department and especially your wife.
Just like my first mentor, Creighton, both Kevin and Don used to say that they could tell their managers or Chefs “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 this can be a very enjoyable process, especially when wine is perfectly matched with great cuisine.
Here are the basics of wine tasting:
- Look (bright, clear, free of sediment, color),
- Smell (bouquet, aroma, identify grape, nuttiness),
- Taste (dry, sweet, fortified, “pluckiness” or tannin )
To Higher Profits,
Fred Favole is President of Strategic Purchasing Services (SPS), America's most experienced purchasing firm specializing in outsourcing, and cost reduction services. Contact Information: p: 912-634-0030, email: Fred@ StrategicPurchasingServices.com