Isaac Chavel wrote:Let me take a stab at starting the conversation. (I see that Pinchas beat me to it.)
I guess that, at least three, requirements are necessary to be a sommelier:
1. You must genuinely like people, be pleased when you manage to please them, and pledge to yourself to do better next time when you fail.
2. You have to have a sense when not to oversell a higher priced wine.
3. You have to know wines, especially the medium and lower priced ones. My guess is that people ready to spend for the upper-tier wines know about them already, and do not require a sommelier. He/she is there for the less obvious choices.
As to why there is little wine-drinking in the restaurants, just look at the prices.
1. The young people, to start with, are not that into drinking wine; certainly the price lists are sure to intimidate them.
2. From what I read, restaurant prices of wine are usually somewhere between 200 and 300 % of wholesale or store prices. (Yes, I know there is a big difference.) But when I see a wine close to or over 300% of what I pay in the store, why should I buy? The restaurant in NYC has to cover its expenses? Then be happy selling less wine. That's their decision. Volume versus profit margin. Every business faces that.
3. The total kosher world of wine is not that large --- but happily expanding --- the mevushal selection is even smaller. So, here in the US, there is a good chance that wine drinkers know at least a large part of the, if not the complete, selection upon entering the restaurant. So there is less of a "discovery" experience that would be at the heart of a sommelier's job. Add to that the fact that the medium-tier (quality and price) mevushal is really small. How many people are ready to pop for restaurant priced Hagafen, Covenant, and Herzog-upper-end, and their corresponding French fellows?
Yehoshua Werth wrote:With the right person and the right wine back-list the location could see a massive growth in style of clientele and sales.
Would have to be a super personallity & very keen on Food matching not on big names or prices.
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