Planning the perfect party -The “Artisan of Wine” Services may be the Answer for You
A story about a start-up business based on passion
By Jim Murphy – The “Artisan of Wine”
April 2, 2011
My profession is Marketing and Advertising but my Passion in Wine and Wine Parties! I love to educate people about wine and at the same time help your guests have a great time.
The following information has been complied by me after 25 years in the restaurant and wine industries and some of the observations I have made. I have worked in every type of restaurant from fast food to fine restaurants. I have also dined and made keen observations in thousands of restaurants across the USA. One restaurant where I worked in particular taught me the joys of food and wine. As I gained more knowledge about wine, my passion only grew. This is meant to be educational as well as a way to gain more appreciation for wine.
A Short History of Wine
Wine has been an integral part of society for almost 10,000 years. The Phoenicians around 4000 BC were dependent on wine for trade. The Roman Empire by far has had the largest impact on the development of viticulture and enology (the science and study of all aspects of wine and wine making). Wine was an integral part of the Roman diet. As the Roman Empire expanded so too did the wine industry. The Romans invented the first wine bottles and barrels and also saw the start of the current appellation system identifying certain regions as being better than others for growing grapes.
In the 18th Century, wine was universally used almost exclusively by the Catholic Church and as its missionary ventures expanded, wine went with it. By 1823, the missions had established themselves in Sonoma, California.
During Prohibition the wine trade was subsidized by “church wine”. As Prohibition ended, the wine industry grew and evolved into what it is today. Major improvements occurred in the 1960’s that led to advanced methods of producing higher quality wines.
How Wine is Made
The key components of wine making are soil, climate, and propagation. It normally takes 3-5 years to establish vines.
The harvest begins at varying times depending on climate, grape, and geography. Once grapes are harvested they are crushed resulting in the “must”. The must is 80% juice, 16% skins (wine pigment), 4% seeds (tannin). All juice is white, exposure to the skins and seeds imparts color and flavor. After the crush the juice is pressed and fermented. After fermentation wines are aged and/or bottled.
Wine is identified in different ways depending on the origin and type of wine. Generally, Old World wines are named by the chateau or area and negociant/grower and not by the grape. In the New World most wine is identified by the grower/winery and type of grape. Reading the label will always provide the pertinent information regarding alcohol content, vintage, type, origin and source.
Storage of Wine
Historically in Europe wine was stored in natural underground caverns. A constant temperature of 55-60 degrees F is best for storing wine. Fine wines can and do improve with age but there can be a limit when wine reaches its peak and begins to decline.
Riedel is the world leader in wine glasses. Their crystal designs are made for all types of wines. Certain shapes and contours lend themselves to certain wines and allow the best expression of the variety.
Food and Wine
The ultimate in wine enjoyment is the marriage of fine food and wine. Wine compliments food and vice versa, but always pair the wine with the food and not the food with the wine. There are three types of food/wine pairings – contrast, compare and compliment Classic pairings would be Pinot Noir with salmon, Chardonnay with seafood, red wine with beef, and port with bleu cheese.
Proper serving temperature of wine
We often serve our white wines too cold and our red wines too warm. Use the 20 minute rule – put your red wines in the fridge for 20 minutes and take your white wines out of the fridge for 20 minutes before serving. White wines should be served a little colder than red, 38-40 degrees. Reds should be room temperature. Too cold of a temperature can inhibit any wine. Champagne should always be served well chilled.
Opening and serving wine
There is an art to properly opening and serving a wine. Basic steps include: present bottle and verify selection, remove cork without piercing side or bottom, pour for tasting and smell to test if there is spoilage. After host approves, serve ladies first by pouring 1/3 glass and then return to host.
Decanting wine is an integral part of serving wine, especially older vintages. As wine ages it can naturally produce sediment that drops out of the wine as a result of the tannins settling. In older vintages you can separate the sediment by slowly pouring the wine into a decanter and leaving the sediment in the bottle. Newer vintages can also benefit from decanting by exposing the wine to air and beginning the oxidation process.
For your next party enjoy your party while we help with the education and serving of wine.
By Jim Murphy – The “Artisan of Wine”
April 2, 2011