I work in a small wine & spirits shop. It’s my side gig. I see a small share of customers and although the wine is not the main focus of the shop, I take it seriously. After all, I’m a Somm, it’s my job as well as my passion.
Actually, I am the only employee who takes it seriously or has any kind of formal training. I make sure the temp on the beverage cooler is correct. Someone keeps turning it down too low for the white wine. I turn it back up to an average temp so that all the wines can live happily in the same environment and last as long as possible.
The selection of wine in the shop is small. I have expressed my interest in making it more profitable for the business and even more fun for the customers, but the boss just doesn’t want to do anything with the wine. So be it. My private wine tastings and classes are built around the fun. My belief is that wine is one of the elixirs of life (the others being coffee and whiskey). I enjoy myself and I want my wine students to go away as excited as I am about discovering the world of vino.
Some of the wines in the shop I cannot serve with a clear conscious. Let’s face it – not everyone that produces wine is good at it. Fig wine? No, thank you. I’m sure there is some producer that makes a good one, but I won’t be looking for it when there are 1,000 other wines that are more palatable for the general population of wineaux that I meet.
Another reason I may not offer a wine to taste is because of the Coravin. This is the weapon of choice in many bars and restaurants, including the shop. Wine preservation has become a trendy thing. The Coravin is a fancy gadget, a high-priced toy. I can’t tell you how many people ooh-and-ahh whenever I have to pour from it. I just roll my eyes silently.
It’s really an unnecessary (and somewhat troublesome) piece of equipment. Coravin is great – if you plan to save a wine for a few days and then finish it. Beyond that, what are you saving it for?
Wine is meant to be tasted, discovered and enjoyed. I’ve tasted many wines – Coravin versus uncorked – and many Coravin wines take on an effervescence that just doesn’t belong in it. I can “blind smell” many varietals without tasting them at all, so I pass on any argon-infused, Coravin pierced wine in restaurants. It’s a good idea to ask your server while going over the wine list if the wine they serve poured from a Coravin or other argon gas contraption.
Instead, buy the bottle, pop the cork on a brand new bottle and enjoy wine as it was meant to be enjoyed.