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Wine and the Experience Economy: Examples from Oregon

  By Carl Winston, Director, L. Robert Payne School of Hospitality & Tourism Management at San Diego State University   You may have read about the Experience Economy and how people nowadays are “collecting memories” via experiences of all sorts. Today’s winemakers, tasting rooms and venues are all stepping up their game to make wine experiences even more competitive.   I would argue you are competing not just with one another but also with activities ranging from movie theaters to hiking to shopping.   On a recent trip through Oregon, I stopped by the Willamette Valley to visit a couple of venerable “Dundee Hills” favorites. I had wonderful, traditional and expensive tasting experience, conversations with winemakers and a lovely day in the summer sun. As a “wine geek” this was a mini nirvana experience for me.   One or two of the places seemed more “down to earth” than others and some were superbly polished but a little “stiff.” I liked...

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One Million of You, Tasting Wine

Pam Dillon, Co-Founder, Wine Ring Remember when you first started tasting wine? I mean really taste. When instinctively you knew how much acidity or tannin a wine had. When you could taste the nature of the fruit. When finally, you could sense where the grapes were grown. [eltdf_blockquote text="Now imagine one million of you, tasting wine." title_tag="h2" width=""]   There are about a million wines in the world. No matter how many wines you taste every year, it’s not possible to taste each one. What if you could use your phone to taste a million wines? Turns out you can, more or less.   People and machines have begun to evolve together, and the future belongs to those who combine human expertise with the power of technology. Wine experts, especially sommeliers, will become ever more valuable in this brave, new world.   No longer is artificial intelligence or machine learning considered the province of academics. Soon every technology...

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Of Tropes and Traps

Our Los Angeles Panel Lays the Groundwork for - and Discovers the Pitfalls - of Blind Tasting   [caption id="attachment_889" align="alignnone" width="2000"] The lineup for our first Blind Side tasting included wines from Rioja, Napa Valley, Collio, Valle de Uco, Sonoma and Chinon.[/caption] Story and Photos by Karen Moneymaker With so much emphasis being placed on sommeliers today for testing and structured tasting, The Somm Journal decided to roll up our shirtsleeves and dive into the world of blind tasting, pairing two sommeliers from our team—Allyson Gorsuch, Deputy Editor and Advanced Sommelier, and Karen Moneymaker, Senior Editor and Certified Sommelier—with Master Sommelier Christopher Miller and Advanced Sommelier Eduardo Bolaños. Guided and grilled by the erudite Christopher Miller, MS, here is what we unearthed in our first tasting. Be careful about ambiguous terms: It is fun to get creative with descriptors when tasting, but be careful of terms that might mean one thing to you and something...

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Are Short Wine Lists Truly Back in Style?

Randy Caparoso, The Somm Journal “Water, water, everywhere,” wrote Coleridge, “nor any drop to drink.” That’s how I’ve always felt about the palatability of big wine lists—in my book, anything over 150 selections. Way back in the late 1970s I read about Kevin Zraly, who said, “Eighty percent of our wine sales always came from about 40 wines . . . the other 800 to 1,200 wines on our wine lists [at New York’s legendary Windows on the World] were no more than window dressing.” As a young sommelier I took that to heart. In fact, inspired by Michelin-starred French chefs who hand-wrote their dinner menus each day, for a short time in the early ‘80s I tried writing out (and photo-copying on parchment) 50- to 60-selection wine lists—until computers came along, at which point it became even easier to bang out our short wine lists, several times a day if we wanted. Freedom! [eltdf_blockquote...

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