Wine Culture and Information since 2002 - Volume 22
×
Home Page Events Wine Guide Wine of the Day Aquavitae Wine Places Guide Podcast Polls EnoGames EnoForum Serving Wine Alcohol Test
DiWineTaste on Twitter DiWineTaste on Instagram DiWineTaste Mobile for Android DiWineTaste Mobile for iOS Become a Registered User Subscribe to the Mailing List Tell a Friend About DiWineTaste Download DiWineTaste Card
About Us Write Us Back Issues Advertising General Index
Privacy Policy
 
☰ Menu


   Share this article     Summary of Editorial column Wine Tasting 
  Editorial Issue 225, February 2023   
The Wine of Restaurants and Wine ShopsThe Wine of Restaurants and Wine Shops  Contents 
Issue 224, January 2023 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on TwitterIssue 226, March 2023

The Wine of Restaurants and Wine Shops


 The relationship between wine and the places where it is usually served, is often difficult and controversial. I'm not referring to restaurants only, but also to the whole business sector which – in various and different ways – deals with the production and sale of food, therefore involved with cooking, without excluding those categories which, at least apparently, would have, as the main commercial aim, the sale of other goods and in which food would seem to play a complementary role. I am therefore referring also to those commercial activities which would have wine as their primary business core and that in Italy are called with a good number of names. Including “wine bars”, in which in Italy, often, they believe it is enough to show off a name in English language or, in the recent Italian mania, to make use of the so called itanglish – with names often chosen at random, untranslatable and non-existent – to be rightfully placed in the Olympus of excellence. Well beyond those “poor compatriots fellows” who – miserable simpletons – still dare to use the very vulgar, ancient and disqualifying Italian language.


 

 I am also referring to wine shops which, very often, in addition to selling bottles of wine, offer both service and catering activities. There is nothing wrong with this, after all, any commercial activity has the purpose of making a profit, even through the diversification or improvement of the offer. Regardless of the category and purpose of the commercial activity, I still note today – with disappointment – that very often, the service of wine does not enjoy “excellent health”, on the contrary, very often it is mortified and mistreated, both with words and in service. Fortunately, this generalization is contradicted by exceptions, and it happens to see wine served the “right way”, in every aspect and regard. These are, as far as I can personally say, exceptions, unfortunately becoming more and more rare. I am aware I may sound opinionated, but it is now a long time I see a sad correlation between the inadequacy and insufficiency of the service, as well as the arrogant presumption of those who, for various reasons, are in charge of the wine service.

 Completely incorrect temperatures, unsuitable and useless glasses, incomplete and sad wine lists, badly written, with a wrong composition and presentation, often accompanied by unsolicited eloquence blathered at random to the unfortunate clients. But also a clear incompetence, technical, theoretical and practical, that – following any request or clarification – the answer is always the same: “I need to ask, I have to check it out”, therefore admitting their incapacity and bad professional skill, even when they pompously qualify themselves as “sommelier”. I admit it: superficiality and approximation are attitudes – especially in the professional field – that I don't tolerate, in particular when they are shown with arrogance and presumption, while expecting, not least, they should be considered normal and acceptable. Respect for those who work – any job – is always and in any case an indispensable and indisputable condition, however this must be deserved and not expected as a duty, especially when “disrespectful” and superficial attitudes are shown.

 When a professional does not behave like one, it is certainly a disrespectful attitude towards those who pay to obtain a service that should be performed competently and coherently with what is requested when the bill is given to the client. I am certainly willing to pay, but I expect as much in terms of value and quality according to what I pay. In case it is asked the payment of a high price, I unquestionably expect the quality of what I have purchased to be equally high. In other words, if the bill is, so to speak, modest, I am certainly willing to forgive certain inaccuracies and ignore certain mistakes; conversely if the bill is high, I'm not willing to forgive or ignore anything. You ask me a lot, I want and demand the same; you ask a little, I already know that I can't expect much, I am aware of it and I don't demand it. And in case you act arrogant and conceited, as well as superficial, then – really – I'm not willing to forgive anything, no matter how much you ask me.

 In some cases, then, ordering a wine in a restaurant or place with a kitchen is something that I even avoid when I realize the low quality of the service. In that case, I may order a wine suited to the style and type of service of that place, also because – in all truth – the idea of enjoying a meal without accompanying it with wine always gives me a strange sensation of “incompleteness”. For example, if I notice a lack or inadequacy of the glasses used in a place, I never order wines that I already know are not suitable and appreciable with those glasses. I admit that this happens frequently, as the availability of wine glasses is often limited to two or three types, trusting, so to speak, to the universality of the glass, which, notoriously, never happens. In other words, there are places where they have only one type of glass to be used for any white or rosé wine, one for all the reds, sometimes a small one for dessert wines which, in some cases, is even served in a small flûte, which is also used in all the cases when a sparkling wine is ordered.

 There is however a condition that makes me lose any desire or interest in ordering a wine: the superficiality of the wine list. I simply think that, if in that place the wine list is written in a superficial and incomplete way, incorrect in every form and mean, the service of the wine is surely much worse, the quality of the wines certainly poor. I'm talking about those cases in which the wine list is dirty, creased and worn – and this also applies to the menu – with approximate or incomplete names of wines, often without vintage or producer, incomplete or incorrect appellations. Of course, I am not referring to the quantity of wines in a list: it is certainly not the number to make its quality and functionality. If a list is made up of a few wines, but absolutely suitable for the cuisine of that place, complete in its form, construction and description, even if there are only five wines, its communicative value is accomplished and complete. I order the wine, but – I admit – not before having made sure which glasses are available in the restaurant, even by simply taking a glance at the other tables and see how the wine has been served.

 I fully understand the purchase and management of wine glasses represents a significant cost for any restaurant, not to mention the incidence represented by the glasses which, during the use and service, may break and need to be replaced. I am aware the management of glasses is not always simple and practical, however I understand, as a customer, the equal importance of enjoying a wine properly served. In this regard, I would like to mention two cases personally happened to me, when a sweet wine made from dried grapes was served – in two different restaurants – in a small flûte and in a small grappa glass. After expressing my disappointment to the staff, on both occasions the answer was almost the same “that's how we serve it, no one has ever complained about it”. A clear admission of the lack of professionalism of the restaurant in addition to the bleak cultural level of their clients. It then makes me smile when I hear them complaining about the fact they do not sell much wine, in particular the more valuable ones, sold at higher prices and with which they could have greater profits and revenues. They complain without thinking that, most likely, it exclusively is their fault, as they are unable to sell wine. Clients who could possibly be interested and willing to buy those fine wines are evidently not the same ones who are happy with an insignificant sweet wine served in a grappa glass and at a completely wrong temperature. Serving wine is an art and selling it is just the same.

Antonello Biancalana



   Share this article     Summary of Editorial column Wine Tasting 
  Editorial Issue 225, February 2023   
The Wine of Restaurants and Wine ShopsThe Wine of Restaurants and Wine Shops  Contents 
DiWineTaste Polls
How do you consider your knowledge about wine?


Result   Other Polls

 Share this poll   
What kind of wine do you like having in May?


Result   Other Polls

 Share this poll   
How do you choose a wine for a food?


Result   Other Polls

 Share this poll   


☰ Menu

Privacy Policy

Download your free DiWineTaste Card  :  Test your Blood Alcohol Content  :  Follow DiWineTaste Follow DiWineTaste on Twitter Segui DiWineTaste su Instagram

Download DiWineTaste
Copyright © 2002-2024 Antonello Biancalana, DiWineTaste - All rights reserved
All rights reserved under international copyright conventions. No part of this publication and of this WEB site may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, without permission in writing from DiWineTaste.