Wine bars continue to pop up at a fast pace. With so much variety, it can be difficult to know where and how to best focus one’s efforts to achieve a great wine bar experience. When it comes to how to maximize the wine bar experience, keeping in mind, the following pointers will ensure a more rewarding experience.
How to Maximize the Wine Bar Experience
Whether you are an utter newbie or in possession of a refined palate, a wine bar visit is an excellent way to capitalize on exposure to wines. Rather than splurge on an entire bottle or glass, smaller tasting pours of various sizes can be tasted one at a time, or a flight of paired wines can be sampled.
My passion for wine continues to grow thanks to living in close proximity to Idaho’s Snake River Valley wine region. The state’s climate creates conditions favorable to 35 varietals, which is quite an impressive number given the temperament of some grapes. In addition to over 50 wineries and numerous wine bars, downtown Boise is home to Bodovino, a high-concept wine bar offering 144 varietals wine on tap. No other location in the US boasts as many wine emotion machines used for preserving wines.
Just because an establishment calls itself a wine bar, doesn’t necessarily mean that’s the case. Wine should be the primary beverage featured, and most (if not all) of the wines should be offered by the glass. It goes without saying the selection should be varied and numerous. Food offerings will most likely focus on appetizers or small plates than can be ordered to complement various wines. If all else fails, never underestimate word of mouth or the power of reading online reviews to find the best wine bars.
How is the wine stored?
An opened bottle of wine has a short shelf life once exposed to oxygen before it starts to turn to vinegar, and some wines are more delicate than others. If it’s not apparent that the wine bar is making use of a preservation system, observe if the opened bottles are being stored upright and out of direct light and higher temperatures. Also, wine poured from an upright bottle that’s been sitting too long will have an off taste. Never hesitate to let the staff know so a new bottle can be opened.
A good wine bar should offer an assortment from regions of multiple countries. With Bodovino’s wide selection, it’s possible to literally take a walking taste tour of the world as the bottles are arranged geographically. Part of the appeal lies in the chance to try an unusual wine or take a chance on tasting an expensive wine you would not be likely to ever splurge on the full-bottle price. Take advantage of all those smaller tasting pours, and save a full glass for later to save the one you most fall in love with.
It’s easy to get excited about the opportunity to sample so many wines, but can be quite pricey. Don’t be afraid either to ask if any new offerings have arrived that are not on the current list. Be sure to openly communicate your budget to the wait staff so they can tailor advice. Also, so many labels can be overwhelming, so a wine app like Vivino can come in handy to keep track everything. When wine cards for the dispensers can be pre-loaded with cash, stick to a predetermined limit.
The bartender should be passionate about wine and have a deep knowledge of what’s being offered. The servers may not be as knowledgeable, but they should still be able to answer general questions most wine enthusiasts tend to have. If that’s not the case, consider finding another wine bar. You might not be the type of person to normally chat with the wait staff, but doing so is crucial when it comes to how to maximize the wine bar experience.
What have your wine bar experiences been like? What advice might you add to this list?
Time for a glass…
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P.S.: One last thing, while your hear check out and purchase a few of my favorite wine tools and resources below. 🙂