Saturday, March 25, 2006

Cellar Tours

Its a little known opportunity, but I do like taking people down into the cellar and showing off some of the great wines that we have down there. Its something that we used to do quite a bit of at Gleneagles, because it gave you a chance to try and upsell something to someone who obviously was interested in wine (they wouldnt be down there otherwise!). But also it was an opportunity to establish some rapport and bond with the guests, which often resulted in a generous tip. Now the cellars here at the Grosvenor are not as cavernous or photogenic as the cellars up at Gleneagles. But what we lack in location we more than make up for in stock and "story"-bottles. A "story" bottle is a bottle of wine that I can pick up on a cellar tour and tell a little story about. At the Glen my story bottle was a bottle of Chapoutier Hermitage with a braille label. This gave me an opportunity to spin a yarn about how he came to label his wines and literature in braille. (Ive since heard three different stories so Im not sure which is true and which is urban legend). Here Ive got my pick of lots - a 1921 d'Yquem which was re-corked in 1991, an 1961 Chateau Croizet-Bages with an ullage of below bottom shoulder that give me a chance to talk about storage of wines. Or theres a bottle of 1959 Dom Perignon Oenotheque, or any of a range of five grower champagnes that give me the opportunity to promote smaller producers over the large grand marques.

One reason I like doing cellar tours now is that it gives me a chance to show off a little bit, to tout my knowledge and experience of some of these wines, and hopefully encourage you to try something new, something different, something a bit more expensive than you originally planned to. I am a salesman after all. I offer them to someone that shows an interest in the wine-list, who i think would appreciate a look, or who just asks. So if you ever come into the hotel and fancy a look around the cellar, just ask and if im free I'll come and show you around.


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