(The Wine Guy, aka The Wine Santa, at a pre-holiday tasting conducted by a wine wholesaler)
In one of my earliest blogs on Roger’s Grapevine, I extolled the benefits of attending wine tastings. (See “Taste More-Learn More” in the blog archives: 7/19/09) That blog dealt mainly with tastings conducted at winery tasting rooms. Another source is the many tastings conducted by wholesale distributors.
Many of these are for the benefit of the trade. Wholesalers will invite both their on-premise (restaurants, bars, etc) and off-premise (retail shops and stores) clientele to trade shows and special client specific tastings to review their portfolio of offerings as well as sample new selections. Regular readers will note that a number of my blogs have been taken from these events as they have given me an opportunity to explore, sample and learn about wines and wine producers. Sharing that information is part and parcel of what this blog is about.
Good wholesale distributors and their better representative staff will also support wine tastings for the benefit of their client’s customers. These are great opportunities for the consumer to try and sample new wines before purchasing. While the client's staff may conduct the tastings with sample support from the wholesaler, many are conducted by the wholesaler’s representative. These are your best opportunity to learn about the wines being sampled. The representative is usually quite familiar with the wine itself and with the producer’s history and can provide a wealth of information along with the sample tasting of the product. There may be a slight “tasting fee” as there often is at winery tasting rooms. However, this fee is often waived with a purchase of the wines being tasted. In many cases, the tasting is complimentary.
The photos attached are of Michelle, an experienced wholesale representative in the Arizona market for Republic National Distributing Company. Michelle focuses on retail chain accounts for her wholesaler. She works with these accounts in assessing their inventory levels, processing orders to maintain adequate stock, providing background information and sampling opportunities for her clients. She also regularly invests time in conducting sample tastings for her client’s customers. Back in day when The Wine Guy (prior to my retirement)was responsible for managing the beverage department of one of Michelle’s client’s she was one of the best trade representatives I had and I make it a point to attend her tasting events when I have the opportunity.
Check with your regular suppliers of wine, be they retail or on-premise sources and discover if they regularly offer wine tasting opportunities. Taking advantage of these events is a terrific way to advance your knowledge of wine and to explore your taste preferences. All of us have preferences in wine but venturing from them to try something new can be enjoyable. Most of us will also find that these preferences can change and vary over time.
Exploring what wine has to offer is always worthwhile and with the help of professionals such as Michelle, it can be fun and informative, as well.
Try something new from the world of wine soon!