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In recent years, many restaurants have made significant upgrades to their wine-by-the-glass programs. That’s great news if you like to try different wines at dinner without springing for the full bottle.
The upgrades to the wine-by-the-glass experience include increased selection, more unconventional wines, higher-quality glassware and the introduction of preservation systems that keep wines fresh after opening.
A New Jersey model for a great wine-by-the-glass program can be experienced at the Bernards Inn in Bernardsville, which regularly offers more than 45 selections, including many that are unique. Wines range from $7 to almost $50 a glass—from Moschofilero from Greece to Tannat from Argentina to Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley. There’s something for every taste.
Glassware also is important in an ambitious wine-by-the-glass program. Specialized glassware can enhance the attributes of the wine, with specific glassware for whites, lighter reds such as Pinot Noir, and fuller bodied reds like Cabernet Sauvignon.
Some restaurants have added wine preservation systems that create endless opportunities to offer off-beat wines and higher-dollar selections. Agricola, the new Princeton restaurant featuring a dynamic farm-to-table concept, features an Enomatic wine-serving system that keeps eight of their 30 wine-by-the-glass selections preserved for up to three weeks. This allows the restaurant to continually offer new selections, regardless of the price, with little-to-no risk of spoilage. It also gives you the confidence to order a wine without wondering if your glass will be poured from the bottom of a bottle opened three days ago.
Both of these restaurants’ wine-by-the-glass programs—and a growing number around the country— take sampling and exploring to a new level by offering a choice of glass size. At Agricola, a choice of 3- or 6-ounce glasses encourages diners to sample a diverse selection and to try different pairings with each small plate or course.
With wine-by-the-glass programs getting more adventurous, the opportunity to try new wines is growing. In the case of Bernards Inn, one has the chance to enjoy a glass of library vintage wine that is extremely limited such as 2003 Lokoya Diamond Mountain Cabernet for $48.75 or Domaine de la Côte de L’Ange Châteauneuf du Pape 2004 for $22. At Agricola, you can order a glass of any wine on their wine list, regardless of bottle price—thanks to the flexibility of the Enomatic system.
On the Vine is written by George Staikos, noted educator and founder of The Educated Grape, a company dedicated to interactive wine classes, tastings and special events.
A 25-year veteran of the wine and hospitality industry, George Staikos is known for his role as an educator, sharing his passion for wine appreciation. He is the founder and president of the Educated Grape, a company specializing in interactive education programs and in-home wine entertaining for wine enthusiasts and companies. He is a professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University’s International School of Hospitality Management, where he teaches “Introduction to the Study of Wine.” He is also Vice Echanson or regional wine director for the mid-Atlantic region for the Chaine des Rotisseurs, a worldwide food-and-wine organization.
Staikos is a graduate of Florida International University in Miami with a Bachelor’s degree in Hospitality Management. He is married with three children and lives in Flemington.
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