Food with Eyes!

There's something you should know about the wine industry. If you enter this business, you have to be willing to eat some really weird food. This can happen at the most inopportune times, like when you'reClick photo to enlarge! the featured speaker at a winemaker's dinner. Or when you've spent oodles of time and effort trying to get a wine list placement. Or my favorite, when you allow the wine writer to pick the restaurant and you end up deep in the heart of Chinatown.

I guess by some people's standards, I'm finicky. While I absolutely LOVE to eat, I generally prefer my meals to be recognizable, especially if the item was alive prior to being served to me. The husband on the other hand, will eat just about anything and loves watching the television show “Bizarre Foods.” Thankfully, I have a cast iron skillet for a stomach so rarely does any one ingredient or dish disagree with me.  But, I am a bit squeamish-especially if the meal includes something with eyes. Call me wimpy, but I just don't like my plate to stare back at me!

What's a Click photo to enlarge!winery owner to do?  With so much of wine sales and marketing centered around food, it's inevitable that you'll be faced with this dilemma at some point in your career. Pretending you like something when in fact you are about to gag is a learned skill, trust me. And you can't afford to offend the chef by politely saying “no thank you.”  

This is top of mind as I leave for New York, one of my favorite cities, but a culinary minefield for anyone even slightly timid. I still remember an evening about 10 years ago. I was in town to launch our Endeavour Cabernet to a group of wine writers. Normally I would handle the dinner arrangements, but this group asked if they could pick the location. All they asked was if I was adventurous. That should have been my first clue. We ended up at a place in ChinatownClick photo to enlarge! unlike any Chinese restaurant I'd ever been to. The gooey duck, chicken toes and fish heads paired seamlessly with the Endeavour Cabernet, which I found myself drinking in larger than normal quantities that evening.

Earlier this week, I had a similar experience at Sushi Ran—a fantastic sushi restaurant that has an amazing wine list. We just got our Heritage Zin on the list and wanted to stop in to say thanks. Thankfully, my palate is expanding and I no longer tremble with fear when I see a stray tentacle or eyeball on my plate.  But if you're planning to venture into the wine biz, do yourself a favor and start expanding your food repertoire early. It will pay off later on, I promise!

| | Comments (2)


CHUCK JOHNSON Author Profile Page said:
May 14, 2010 8:54 AM

Well Kim, I guess you have to eat what you have to eat to get the wine sales! I'm not all that eager to eat foods myself that I don't feel comfortable eating. I hear in China, they serve their food live! Congrats on getting on the wine list of Sushi Ran. Do you & Don cook? I've seen some of your staff pouring at several wine events but I haven't seen you pour at these evens in a while! What's up Kim? Good luck on your trip to New York!
Tell Trevor, Taylor, Dave, Don, Matt & the crew I said hi!

Kim (aka Wilma) Author Profile Page said:
May 20, 2010 3:05 PM

Always good to hear from you Chuck. I'm just back from NY where thankfully, I didn't have to eat any "weird" food! I did have an amazing dinner at the new about creative cuisine. Yes, Don and I still pour at a lot of wine events. In fact, one of the things I did in NY was pour our Old Vine Zin and Mariner at Wine & Spirits Magazine's Top of the List event, which was a tasting of their top rated wines. It was fun to be in such great company!

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This page contains a single entry by Kim published on May 10, 2010 12:03 PM.

Are Tasting Room Hours to Blame? was the previous entry in this blog.

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