Every night I post wine trivia questions for my staff on a dry erase board. Through out the night the employees place their initials next to the best answer. I continue asking questions and tallying their scores, until the last question is placed and then the person with the most correct answers takes a bottle of wine home. I do this because it keeps my employees thinking about wine. It might even trigger a conversation at a table. It is just one of the ways I try to educate my staff and keep them thinking about wine.
Another method is providing regular wine tastings. This past Monday I decided to practice blind tasting with the group. There were about 15 employees in attendance and each at a different level. Some were hostesses just promoted to cocktail servers, others bus boys now working as server assistants and their were veteran servers. The knowledge pool was all over the place.
I handed out our Blind Tasting Grid, the same grids the Court of Master Sommeliers uses for exams. When I started tasting with them I realized that this could go over many of their heads. Trying to explain brightness, concentration, viscosity, balance, complexity and other terms became daunting. By the end of the hour tasting I was proud to see everyone contributing and following along. Our newcomers were tasting right along side the veterans and taking it all in. I then thought, maybe it is not all that difficult. Maybe we make things harder than it seems. So I came home, sat my 5 and 7-year-old down and asked them wine trivia questions. I really wanted to see what sort of answers they would give, maybe it really isn’t all that difficult. Well here is that wine trivia session with my kids.
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What is wine?
5-year-old girl… “A drink for grown ups.”
7-year-old boy… “It’s grapes that got smooshed and it becomes wine”
What does it mean when wine is balanced?
5-year-old girl…”it’s not balanced if you drink a lot of wine”
7-year-old boy… “it will move”
What does it mean if a wine has good structure?
5-year-old girl…”It’s the top of the wine”
7-year-old boy… “I don’t know”
What does it mean if a wine has acidity?
7-year-old boy…”it’s going to the end of the world”
What does it mean if the wine is full-bodied?
5-year-old girl…”It makes your body lose balance like my aunt, ….”
7-year-old boy…”it means that it is full of wine”
What is a fruity wine?
5-year-old girl… “it has a lot of sugar”
What if the wine has flaws?
5-year-old girl… “it makes you go to sleep”
What does it mean if a wine has a lot of tannins?
5-year-old girl…”only grown ups can drink it”
7-year-old boy…” you can shoot it”
What does it mean if a wine has concentration?
5-year-old girl…”a relaxed wine”
7-year-old boy…”if you concentrate it makes you fall down”
What is an appellation?
5-year-old girl…”it’s an apple”
7-year-old boy…”where apples come from”
What is Botrytis?
5-year-old girl…”it’s a fruit that melts into the wine and you mix it in”
7-year-old boy…”it’s a BOO!”
At this point in the interview I am beginning to lose the 7-year-old’s concentration and it’s getting a bit silly. So I carry on with the 5-year-old girl.
What is Biodynamic?
“It can make you fall down and go to sleep”
What is an oaky wine?
“Drink too much wine you go to the center of the earth”
What is high alcohol?
“It means you can lose your balance”
“It can make you lose your balance and fall to the center of the earth”
What is a dry wine?
“It makes your throat dry”
What is a corked wine?
“If you drink really much you can go down to the earth”