At Wine-Focused Restaurants, Embracing the Unknown

Posted by | Posted in White's Wines | Posted on 05-13-2014

rippleAs regular readers know, I write a free, twice monthly wine column that’s distributed to newspapers across the country.

These columns are hosted by Grape Collective. If you don’t see my column in your local newspaper, please send an email to your paper’s editor and CC me (David – at –

In my latest column, I praise the growing number of courageous sommeliers who are gently guiding wine consumers outside their comfort zones.

At Wine-Focused Restaurants, Embracing the Unknown

“Representing real people who make real wine has always been very important to me,” explained Danny Fisher, the general manager and beverage director of Ripple, a wine-focused restaurant in Washington, D.C. “When you’re drinking wine — or any kind of beverage, really — you want to know that someone has put time and effort into it. It shouldn’t be mass produced, toyed with, or manipulated.”

Fisher and I were chatting about the wisdom — or foolishness — of loading up a restaurant wine list with small-production, unfamiliar offerings.

Sure, Americans have fallen for wine. We surpassed France as the world’s largest wine-consuming nation in 2010 and have been drinking more each year. But consumers still feel most comfortable with major grapes like Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Sauvignon Blanc. And most stick with easily recognized brands, like Duckhorn, Kendall-Jackson, and Chateau Ste. Michelle.

In restaurants and wine bars across the country, however, a growing number of courageous sommeliers are eschewing these obvious choices and gently guiding patrons outside their comfort zones. These efforts are having an impact. Thanks in no small part to people like Fisher, Americans are beginning to embrace the unknown.

Check out the rest of the piece on Grape Collective!

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