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Podcast title Wine Biz 360
Website URL https://winebiz360.com
Description For people who sell wine at every tier of the industry -- distributor reps and managers, retail wine shop personnel, on-premise / restaurants (sommeliers, waiters/waitresses), and those who work at wineries and importers. Each episode features someone in the wine business who shares their knowledge and experience of selling and marketing wine. If you sell wine and want to sell more -- or at least, understand what you're selling -- subscribe today.
Updated Mon, 03 Jun 2019 03:00:06 +0000
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1. Jon McDaniel On How To Make Wine Fun, Motivate Waitstaff, And Increase Restaurant Wine Sales
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Chicago-based sommelier Jon McDaniel is the founder of Second City Soil, a restaurant wine consulting company that fills the gap between buyers and sellers. Jon was one of Food&Wine Magazine‘s 2018 Sommeliers of the year and also on Wine Enthusiast‘s 2017 “40 Under 40 Tastemakers” list.

In this episode, Jon says the wine selling process is not just outdated, it’s broken. He explains how it can be fixed, and, he gives tons of tips on how to create a wine list, motivate and train waitstaff, and bring value to a restaurant as a sommelier. The key is to make wine fun.

Being a Sommelier

First off, Jon talks about how a sommelier needs to be his/her own best PR agent, to both promote oneself and the establishment, and it all begins with creating content.

Content begins with the wine list. It should be creative and fun. “I’m trying to make wine fun for my guests,” he says. Jon laments that the wine industry is very slow to catch up to the rest of the beverage world in terms of fun and creativity. Wine can be seen as boring and uppity, so it’s important to make it fun and accessible.

As for what type of content should be created, Jon suggests that you ask yourself what are you doing in your restaurant that is different from what’s being done at the restaurant across the street.

He also points out that today, the sommelier is similar to the chef of a restaurant, in that he/she is kind of a celebrity — guests come in and want to talk to the somm.
Motivating and Training a Waitstaff

Most restaurant servers are not looking to spend their entire lives in hospitality service — they’re trying to figure out life, get through the week, and pay the bills. Keeping that in mind is key to motivating and training a waitstaff.

Begin by talking about wine as an ingredient. For example, how might a glass of Sauvignon Blanc make a dish taste better or worse? Wine should be a positive addition to the experience.

Motivate by helping waitstaff understand in simple terms how they can put more money in their pocket. As Jon says,
“It’s impossible to get someone to order an extra cheeseburger or another steak, but they can get a second glass of wine.”

If a server can sell 20 extra glasses a week, that’s $200, which is an extra $40 in their pocket, and over $2000 a year. Put into those terms, and the light goes on inside a server’s head. So, the first thing Jon says when he walks into a restaurant for a staff training is, “if you listen to me, I will get you a free month of rent … there’s no other revenue stream in the restaurant that can sell and can earn them as much money as selling wine”

Jon emphasizes that servers need not be wine experts. In absence of a sommelier, they have the menu to “back them up.” They need to feel like they are just one step ahead of the customer when it comes to knowledge of specific wines. Arm them with the few words they need to describe a wine and why it goes with certain dishes. Start with that as the foundation and they’ll learn more and more as they gain confidence.

Further, Jon recommends that you get the service staff excited. He talks about a sushi restaurant where the staff got excited about a wine from Verona, Italy, called “Ferdi.” It’s the staff’s most popular wine and, Jon says, “they sell it like they invented it.” It’s that kind of excitement that leads to the staff connecting with the guest and selling more wine. “If you can get the service staff hooked on something, then they can hook the wine drinker that is also learning as well.”

As for developing an eclectic wine list, Jon discusses the importance and process of gradually adding unusual, lesser-known wines to the list. The thought should be moving someone 10% away from what they know — you can’t jump someone off the deep end because if they don’t like it, it creates tension at the table that the wait staff has to deal with, so they stop selling the wine, and then the wait staff stops trusting you. You need to earn the trust of your guest and earn the trust of your wait staff.
On What Young People Are Drinking

What are the millennials and Generation Z drinking? Jon states flatly, “They don’t want to drink what their parents drink.”

Perhaps because more young people today did a semester abroad and/or have done more traveling than past generations did by their age, they better understand that wines come from everywhere and are more open to trying wines from non-traditional places.
Economics of Restaurant Wine Service

Jon talks about the important balance between providing what the customer wants and what you as a wine person want to offer, while being profitable.

He says,

“Once you understand, in building a wine list, what the guest cares about, then you can take advantage economically of that and start to build in profit from that so that you can then pepper in those things that are a little bit more unusual or more exciting for you as a wine person that you have to go a little bit shorter on your margins. But you have to build in these wins that you know no matter what, you’re going to make money on.

If you don’t have those things and you just average everything out of saying, “Well, my list is every wine is 27% cost,” or whatever it is to get that magic number. You have to have things that are 18% and things that are 32%. You have to look at the end of how you get to that goal is by mixing those things in and by pouring things that are money makers.

If you are looking at your rosé by the glass and you have this really cool Cotes de Provence producer that is just amazing, the reality is that during the summer, people just want something that is pink and dry and light and delicious. So if you’re paying $12 instead of $7, it’s really just your fault of why you’re not making money because the reality is that the guest in most concepts don’t care about the same things that you as a wine person cares about.”

The Future of the Sommelier

Jon says “…the job of being just a sommelier is not going to exist in five years.” He explains why that is how the job is already evolving and becoming more complex. It’s more about economics and bringing value to the restaurant.
How To Fix the Process of Selling Wine

Jon points out that how distributors sell wine the exact same way they did it 15 years ago, and it’s an old, broken model. It doesn’t take into account that the buyer is younger and has more responsibilities than the distributor may realize and needs a more efficient buying process. Jon offers one solution that compares favorably to the current, inefficient three-hour winemaker lunch.

Additionally Jon talks about wine sales from the supplier side, particularly how some smaller-production, non-priority SKUs are a challenge and how his company Second City Soil fills the gap, helping to solve much of the dysfunction in the current sales model.

Second City Soil: https://www.secondcitysoil.com/

Transcriptions and more at http://winebiz360.com/10

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For questions and comments please email joe@winebiz360.com

2. Sandy Block MW On How The Master of Wine Title Can Help Your Career
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Legal Seafoods' VP of Beverage Operations Sandy Block, MW, discusses how and why he became the first Master of Wine on the US east coast, and how he has used the certification in his wine industry career.

Sandy also talks about how wines are selected for the Legal Seafoods beverage program, how wine "quality" should be judged, recent trends he's seen, and why the after-dinner experience is one of the biggest missed opportunities in the restaurant business.

Show notes, transcript, and more at
email joe@winebiz360.com

Please tap the "subscribe" button on your smart phone to receive future episodes the moment they are published.

If you're not sure how to subscribe (btw, it's free to do so!), visit http://winebiz360.com/subscribe

3. Why Screwcaps Make Sense Even For Expensive, Age-worthy Wines With Master Sommelier Michael Meagher
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Master Sommelier Michael Meagher explains what everyone -- trade and consumers included -- needs to know about wines under screwcap. In addition to being one of the few people in the world to hold the MS title, Michael holds a WSET Diploma, a Bachelor's degree from Harvard University, an Associate's degree from the Culinary Institute of America, and a Master's degree from the University of Adelaide in Australia -- as well as nearly 20 years of experience in the hospitality industry. He began his career in the wine industry with Master Sommelier Fred Dame's handpicked luxury sales team at Treasury Wine Estates, was a corporate educator and regional sales manager for TWE and later, Jackson Family Wines, and through his company Sommelier On Demand, Michael consults for companies and organizations such as Ruth's Chris Steak House, America's Test Kitchen, Vins de Provence, Johnson and Wales University, Nantucket Wine & Food Festival, Silicon Valley Bank, Bottle Rocket, and many others. His writing has been published in the Journal of Culinary Science and Technology, the Guild of Sommeliers, and the Sommelier Journal. Additionally, he serves as Chairman Emeritus of the Board of Directors for the Boston Sommelier Society. Perhaps most relevant to this episode, Michael's Masters thesis was focused on wines under screw cap. 
Topics Discussed
Why do we close wine bottles with corks to begin with? 
Michael explains the history behind how winemakers began closing wine bottles with corks, and what went wrong. Ironically, the cork issues we have today are in part due to keeping things clean!
Where the good corks go, and how the bad corks led to alternative closures.
Michael details the different grades of corks, and why winemakers in Australia and New Zealand began experimenting with screw cap closures for their wines.
What issues other than TCA can cause cork taint? (a.k.a., a wine smelling "corked")
Along the way, you'll learn how to pronounce trichloroanisole. 
How wines age under screwcap.
Michael dispels the myth that in order to age properly, wine needs a cork in order to "breathe." As it turns out, wines under screwcap can breathe just as well, and in fact, can be fine-tuned to allow in an amount of air based on a wine's character.
Why even expensive, age-worthy wines for the cellar can and should be closed with screw caps.
Yes, even the great Bordeaux, Brunello, Barolo, Barbaresco, and every other awesome wine beginning with a "B" (as well as wines that start with other letters).
How the flaw of "reduction" occurs in screwcapped wines -- and corked wines as well. 
Woops! Turns out it's a problem for BOTH closures!
Why unidentifiable flaws -- i.e., those that are not necessarily full-blown cork taint / TCA -- are the perhaps the biggest problem facing restaurants, sommeliers, and wine producers.
Who wants a customer to go home unhappy?
Why we in the wine industry should not accept a 7-8% failure rate when it comes to cork closures.
The only industry accepting a bigger failure rate is baseball, where you're successful if you fail 70% of the time.
How a sommelier can bring romance and drama to the presentation of a screw-capped wine in a restaurant.
OK, maybe not romance, but, Michael does give great tips on how to bring a bit of creativity to remove a screw cap.
Why younger drinkers and the older sommeliers tend to be more accepting of screw caps, and the older drinkers and younger sommeliers seem to be more comfortable with cork. 
Wait, what? Yes, seems like a contradiction, but it may be true.
How a sommelier can defuse the situation when a customer seems surprised by seeing a wine closed with a screw cap.
"Waiter! There's a fly in my soup! And a screwcap on my wine bottle!"
More about this episode can be found at http://winebiz360.com/8/ 
Learn more about Michael Meagher at his website - http://sommelierondemand.com
Please subscribe to Wine Biz 360 - you can find out how to subscribe at https://winebiz360.com/subscribe/
Would you like to be a guest on the show? Do you have a question or a topic idea for a future show? Send an email to joe@winebiz360.com

4. How Wines are Judged in Competitions with Robert Whitley
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Ever wonder how or why a wine received a gold medal at a wine competition? Ever consider becoming a wine judge? Robert Whitley, a wine journalist and director of major wine competitions, explains the ins and outs of judging wines and wine competitions, including how one becomes a wine judge, with host Joe Janish.

Robert Whitley has been a nationally syndicated wine critic since 1990 and directing wine competitions for over 20 years. He currently directs the following competitions:

Winemaker Challenge

San Diego Wine Challenge

Critics Challenge

Sommelier Wine Challenge

Robert is also the founder and publisher of Wine Review Online, where you can find in-depth wine articles and reviews written by some of the most respected and knowledgeable wine journalists in the USA.

Robert's syndicated column "Wine Talk" can be viewed at Creator's Syndicate:

You can contact Robert directly through any of the links above, or by emailing him at whitonwine@aol.com or whitleyonwine@yahoo.com.

Follow Robert on Twitter @wineguru (https://twitter.com/wineguru)

For more information about this episode and others you may enjoy, visit the Wine Biz 360 website:

Join the Wine Biz 360 LinkedIn group here:

Follow Wine Biz 360 on Twitter @winebiz360 (https://twitter.com/winebiz360)

Have a question, comment, idea for an upcoming episode, or would like to be a guest? email joe@winebiz360.com

Please subscribe to the Wine Biz 360 podcast and tell friends in the wine industry about the show. Thank you!

5. Staff Trainings That Motivate and Empower Restaurant Servers To Sell More Wine
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Sharron McCarthy, Director of Wine Education for Banfi Vintners, shares her tips for on-premise / restaurant staff trainings with host Joe Janish in episode 6 of WineBiz 360.

Sharron discusses on-premise trends such as red blends, rose, and sparkling wines, and how restaurant wine lists are expanding to include these wines.

Additionally, she explains how to educate wait staff on wine and motivate them through the power of the dollar, illustrating how servers can put more cash in their pocket by suggesting wines by the glass and by the bottle.

Finally, Sharron provides over a dozen perfect wine and food pairings.

Show notes and more at http://winebiz360.com

If you have a question or idea for an upcoming episde, email joe@winebiz360.com

6. How National On-Premise Trends Are Affecting Wine Sales
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Well-known restaurant brands such as Macaroni Grill, Ruby Tuesday, Joe's Crab Shack, and others are in distress as Americans change their dining habits. How is this affecting the wine business?

Host Joe Janish speaks with Banfi Vintners' National On-Premise Account Manager Thomas Harrell, discussing US chain restaurant trends and how they're changing the strategies of selling and marketing sales to national accounts.

After explaining how Thomas went from the golf course to the wine business, the two cover the following subjects, among others:

Affect of distressed restaurant chains on the wine industry Millennials' and GenZ's eagerness to trial beverages and foods of all types How the "fast casual" trend is affecting wine sales Where alternative sizing -- such as 187s -- fit in the new landscape Opportunities for wine in keg Importance of data in helping customers and supporting sales presentations Hot wines such as rose, Prosecco, red blends Premiumization trend The wine glut vs. the shrinking pie of on-premise national accounts Tips for finding the right fits for a restaurant wine list Responding to RFPs Leveraging themes, wine dinners, and LTOs for new items

Questions? Comments? Have an idea for a future show? Want to be a guest? Visit http://winebiz360.com or email joe@winebiz360.com

Be sure to subscribe to WineBiz360 and download every episode through the following ways ...

On your iPhone / iTunes:

(and please leave us an honest review and rating!)

Android devices:

Visit http://WineBiz360.com for more information on how to listen to the show, interact with others in the wine business, and ask to be a guest on an upcoming episode.

You can also join the Wine Biz 360 LinkedIn group here:

And, connect with us on the WineBiz360 Facebook page:

7. Wines of Abruzzo, Verona, and How To Sell Five Amarones
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How do you sell 5 different Amarones? Whether they're in your bag, on your list, or sitting on a shelf, you'll learn how to sell five different styles of Amarone, using examples from the Banfi Vintners portfolio.

Wine industry veterans Joe Janish and Lars Leicht also provide a quick primer on Abruzzo and the wines of Verona -- Verona, Italy, rather than Verona, New Jersey. Speaking of the Garden State, you'll also learn about red wines that have been traditionally found on red-and-white checkered tables at pizzerias and Italian restaurants in NJ --  Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, Valpolicella, and Bardolino -- and how those wines have evolved and improved dramatically in quality over the past decade. And, you'll learn all you need to know about Amarone, including its history, the winemaking process, and how to sell five different styles.

Along the way, you'll also learn about Cerasuolo, Chiaretto, Ripassos, porch pounders, and what all of this has to do with Tiny Tim!

Be sure to subscribe to WineBiz360 and download every episode through the following ways ...

On your iPhone / iTunes:

Android devices:

Visit http://WineBiz360.com for more information on how to listen to the show, interact with others in the wine business, and ask to be a guest on an upcoming episode.

You can also join the Wine Biz 360 LinkedIn group here:

And/or, visit the WineBiz360 Facebook page:

8. How Nielsen Data Can Help Wine Sales and Marketing Strategy with Ed Joyce
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Joe Janish interviews Ed Joyce, who provides an overview of Nielsen data as well as the Role of Sales Development and Administration in wine sales planning and marketing strategy.

9. Pursuing the Master of Wine Certification
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Winemaker and Master of Wine candidate Nicolas Quille discusses the process and challenges of obtaining the wine industry's highest certification

10. A Wine Bottle's Journey
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Winemaker Nicolas Quille and Joe Janish channel their inner David Byrne to answer the wine bottle's question of "how did I get here?"

Starting at the source -- the winery -- Nicolas and Joe trace the route a wine bottle (or bladder) takes from supplier to retail shelf, detailing each step and potential pitfalls.