Restaurants are environments where wine tends to flow. And if you're a wine server, you'll know that wine is a perfect menu item to upsell. That's why it pays to have some basic knowledge about it to increase your tips.
Being knowledgeable about wine has become far more popular amongst the cool kids in recent years. People no longer view the industry as a snobby one (thank goodness).
As a result, a lot of new people have come forward to educate people about wine. There are plenty of websites, blogs, videos and other resources that can transform any wine-newbie into an expert.
To help you out, we've rounded up a few wine resources that are great for no-nonsense information. So if you're a server who wants to brush up on your wine knowledge, you'll know exactly where to go.
Beginner wine knowledge to focus on
Most of the resources mentioned below are full of information. Where should you get started as a server who is completely new to wine? Here are some topics that can help you in the restaurant:
- Different wine types, what they are, and how to pronounce them
- Wine and food pairings, so you can make accurate recommendations for your diners
- Wine handling; how to present the bottle, how to open a bottle, how to pour, etc.
- Common wine terms
Now you know where to begin, let's bring out the resources.
Wine resources for servers
Winefolly is one of the most complete wine resources on the web. You'll be able to find a lot of good info about wine there, along with some cool infographics (like this one) for those who prefer visual learning. Their Wine Basics page provides links to pretty much everything you want to know about wine. This website is a great place to start for complete beginners.
Recommended reading: Deconstructing a Wine Dinner from Starters to Dessert
Whitney Adams is a certified sommelier with a blog and a bubbly YouTube channel. Follow her blog to find out about her latest wine-related adventures and discoveries, then go to her YouTube channel where you'll find ramblings and useful tips about all things wine.
Recommended viewing: Wine Geek Terms Demystified
Vinepair's got it all: articles, wine information for beginners, 'booze news' and even a list of wine apps. Their coverage also extends beyond wine to beer and spirits guides, should you want to brush up in those areas as well. On their Wine 101 page you'll find links to information about tasting wine, serving wine, types of wine and some fun facts about wine. Their resources are super informative and easy to navigate, which makes Vinepair an awesome website to just browse and get lost in.
Recommended reading: What Is A Tannin? A Guide To Tannins
Jancis Robinson is a wine critic and journalist. There aren't a lot of people who have written more about wine than she has. I mean, she edited the bloody Oxford Companion to Wine and co-wrote the World Atlas of Wine. This lady knows her stuff. Her website has grown into a full-blown wine platform where there's a lot to be found. I'd suggest starting in the Learn tab and going from there.
Recommended reading: Food Matching – Food Then Wine
Say what you want about the Dummies franchise, but they got the concept of information for beginners down. Their information is presented in a well-organized way and they get straight to the most important points. You don't even have to purchase the book. They've published a cheat sheet you can access for free. Would be great to keep handy or even hang on the wall!
Suggested reading: Wine for Dummies Cheat Sheet
Jennifer Anderson (not to be confused with Jennifer Aniston) from IamWaitress.com is an experienced sommelier and restaurant server. In this podcast, Ken Burgin from Profitable Hospitality talks to Jennifer about selling more wine in your restaurant. Jennifer shares tips about upselling, and how to sell wine by the bottle. Listen to this on the way to your next shift to boost your wine sales (and tips!).
"We're all about wine; without the wankery" is the The Wine Wankers' tagline. This blog by two Aussie boys is perfect for those who just want to sit back (with a wine, of course), read some articles about wine and have a bit of a chuckle. Their Twitter account is also a fun place to hang out.
Suggested reading: 10 Things You Hate About Wine Service In Restaurants and Bars
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