Vino 101 Spring Forward
A Server's Perspective: Break Out the Bubbly
By Jorge Eduardo Castillo

The weather is finally warmer, and during spring and summer wine lovers tend to move away from heavy red wines and move to something a little more refreshing. You'll find that people will order more Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Riesling, and other lighter-style white wines as the temperature continues to rise.

While I can enjoy all of these wines on a hot summer day, the one part of the wine list that my eyes immediately seek out is the Sparkling/Champagne section. Maybe it's the light subtle body, the crisp bubbles, or the ability to vary from searing acidity to a creamy texture, but nothing makes me feel more refreshed than a nice cool glass of sparkling wine.

I am also consistently dumbfounded as to why Champagne and sparkling wine are looked to only for toasts and celebrations - as this category always seems to me to be the most food-flexible. Nothing sets off crab, corn, berries, sweet peas and the other farm fresh delights of summer quite like Champagne.

A "Refresher" Course

Some facts about Sparkling Wine:

Not Just for Celebrations

Sure, a glass or bottle of sparkling wine is a great recommendation for a special occasion such as New Year's or an anniversary, but sparkling wine is also be a great compliment to items on just about any menu.

Some of the more popular food pairings for sparkling wine:

The fact of the matter is that the Champagne/Sparkling section of the wine list is often the most under-utilized section in many restaurants.

When you talk about wine with your restaurant guests, you should always at least throw sparkling wine out there as an option if their food choices warrant it. You'd be surprised how often people "forget" about it as choice, and you'll receive responses like "Champagne - that's a great idea!" or "Great suggestion, I didn't even think of that."

Most important, if you are able to take patrons to a new choice that pleases them, a wine that they may not have selected on their own, you will be viewed as a trusted resource and guide. They may consult your expertise throughout the visit and possibly on future visits. From my experience, introducing a guest to the possibilities offered by Champagne and sparkling wine can often be a safe bet when its comes to winning them over - and that's something to toast!

June 2007

Jorge Eduardo Castillo is a representative of Vino 101, which provides on-line server wine training.
Visit for more details.

Back to the Vino 101 index page