Your First Gateway to Exploring Wine
There are tens of thousands of different wines produced across the world. Almost every country produces wine, and each state—including Alaska— in the United States has a winery. For the seasoned wine sipper, the task of trying as many wines as possible in a lifetime is exciting. However, for those without tasting opportunities, the mission to educate oneself about wine may seem daunting.
In Central Oregon, an easy and interactive way to expand one’s own personal knowledge about wine is housed within our local restaurant walls via the restaurant “by-the-glass” wine program. Some local restaurants feature over a dozen wines through individual glass pours. Regardless of the list size, the by-the-glass options allow patrons to try different wines before committing to a full bottle at the dinner table.
“We have gotten to know many different, smaller producers in the Willamette Valley after trying hundreds of wines for our by-the-glass wine program.” — Rosie Itti
“I like the fact that Marcus, our wine buyer, hones in on unique varietals and features them in our by-the-glass program,” says Skylar Prescher, a bartender at 900 Wall in Downtown Bend.
The by-the-glass list at 900 Wall changes, frequently, in order to keep it fresh and fun for customers.
“The rosé of Txakolina from Spain and the Cabernet Franc from Oregon are two wines we have currently, that are really interesting for customers to try,” Prescher says.
And, while not every wine tried is always going to be loved by the person trying them, sampling something new can open up other possibilities for the palate.
“If someone doesn’t like a wine I have poured for them, I try to find out what they don’t like about it and then work on picking out something more suited to their tastes,” adds Prescher.
Bend’s Wild Rose restaurant features Northern Thai food as well as an interesting by-the-glass wine list. Their list has allowed owner Rosie Itti to expand her own knowledge about wine as well.
“We have gotten to know many different, smaller producers in the Willamette Valley after trying hundreds of wines for our by-the-glass wine program,” says Itti. “Our passion for learning about these producers naturally extends to our customers.”
Drinking an entire bottle of wine, especially if you haven’t tried the wine before, can be a costly way to find out that you don’t like a particular style, or type, of wine. Itti has had fun introducing her customers to both dry styles of Riesling and sweeter versions. She finds that people never wanted to commit to a full bottle purchase of Riesling before she and her staff dedicated time and energy to sampling small pours of various Rieslings.
“We love to drink Riesling, both sweet and dry, with our food, and think it pairs beautifully with Northern Thai cuisine,” adds Itti.
Itti is also quick to say that they are always happy to serve their customers what they want.
“If a customer wants a Cabernet Sauvignon, of course we are happy to serve them exactly what they want . . . that’s the principle of hospitality, giving people what they want,” Itti says.
With thousands of choices of wine to choose from in the retail environment—as well as hundreds of selections on a restaurant’s bottle list at a restaurant—it is easy to be overwhelmed by the sheer number of wines from which to choose. Your favorite restaurant’s by-the-glass program offers a great way to experiment with different wines, and perhaps learn something new, on your next culinary outing.