Your Wine List
Between Seasons
By Andrew Bell
When the chef is looking to update
the menu to incorporate seasonally ap-
propriate produce and protein, you
must also be preparing to make chang-
es. New dishes will create new pairing
opportunities, calling for updates to
your wine list. While seemingly basic,
without careful inventory planning
this transition can become unnecessar-
ily burdensome and expensive. Being
long on seasonal items from deep, late-
in-the-season purchases, for example,
will hamper your ability to move into
new items from both a space and bud-
getary perspective.
Advance Planning is Key
Prepare for the transition by keeping
track of weekly depletions throughout the
season. This will allow you to accurately
project needs per item—particularly in
a by-the-glass program. Communicate
with your chef to establish approximate
timing of the anticipated menu change
well in advance, giving yourself a good
idea of when the wine program transition
will need to be complete.
The data you have collected on
rates of usage will enable you to plan
an appropriate purchasing schedule,
allowing last season’s wines to run
out on chef ’s timeline, making room
for new seasonal stock without sig-
nificant overlap.
Pay close attention to those ran-
dom bottles of last season’s stock
that don’t sell prior to the change-
over. They may seem like no big deal,
but these extras can add up over the
course of the year leading to both lost
sales and non-recuperated cost…a
double loss!
Reduce this avoidable expense by
sharing a list of one- or two-offs with
your staff, so that the sales team keeps
them top of mind when on the floor.
With everyone working to sell these
last bottles, you are less likely to stock-
pile dust collectors in the cellar and
expense on the books.
Through the Sales, Service and Buying Seminar Series,
American Sommelier is providing professionals with
the tools needed to build and maintain a successful
wine program in any restaurant environment.
Andrew Bell
s a wine buyer, one of your main responsibilities to your
employer is fiscal. Throughout the year, it is important
to maintain an inventory level that is as low and slim as
possible, so that the majority of revenue from wine sales
is being applied to business operating expenses. Never is this more
challenging than in the transition between seasons.
American Sommelier
American Sommelier—whose mission is to
cultivate awareness, understanding, and appre-
ciation for wine—offers a comprehensive cur-
riculum of wine education and provides a range
of benefits to its members. The organization
also hosts seminars, tastings, and networking
opportunities to enhance knowledge and skills
and to promote a vibrant wine community.
Classes, held in Manhattan, include
several in-depth series (24-week Viticulture
& Vinification Course; 16-week Blind Tast-
ing Course; 6-week Foundation Course) as
well as seminars focused on sales, service
and buying and topical one-time classes.
Instructors include some of America’s most
knowledgeable sommeliers—Roger Dagorn,
Joe Campanale, Yannick Benjamin and Hristo
Zisovski among them.
Andrew Bell, co-founder and president
of American Sommelier, has experienced
all sectors of the wine industry since first
working in San Francisco in 1987 alongside
famed hotelier and restaurateur Bill Kimpton.
His career has also included positions in Paris
and New York City, in importing and consult-
ing as well as at restaurants. With a team of
like-minded peers, Bell founded American
Sommelier in 1998.
American Sommelier member benefits
include discounted tuition, free members-only
events, career guidance, discounts at partner
restaurants, bars and shops, and the American
Sommelier newsletter. For complete details and
a calendar of classes, visit americansommelier.
com or call 212.226.6805.
Beverage Media
August 2013
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