Sparkling Wine Symposium
I'm currently sitting in a session of the first ISWS (www.sparklingwinesymposium.com) which I've been involved in organizing. It's finally here! After a lot of organization and last-minute shuffling...
We've got a great bunch of speakers, and some excellent participants, and so far it has gone brilliantly. One of the great things about an event like this is the chance to meet lots of new people, and that's been true today.
Last night the speakers and organizers met for a meal at The Running Horses in Mickelham, which is a gastropub that is aiming to be a serious restaurant. The food was pretty good, although it took a long time to appear. The service was bad: sullen and with attitude. The wine list? Pretty mediocre, which is a real shame.
It was one of those lists where new wine names had been created for the restuarant trade, which meant that even though we were in the trade, we only recognized a couple of names. It was short, too. I really don't like this sort of list: how can you choose when all the producer/brand names are made up? And it was no good asking for help. I ordered our wines (Vergisson Macon and Taltarni Cab/Merlot) by name, and the server said abruptly 'number!'. It felt like ordering from a take-away.
Couple the good food and nice surroundings with a proper wine list and good service, and you have a winning combination. But the pub was full, which suggests that people tolerate mediocre wine lists and bad service; they aren't the things that matter to many customers.
We're currently in a technical panel. After this we have some consumer research that we've commissioned, which should be really interesting. Then we have a business panel, before the grand tasting and dinner. My job for the day is simply to introduce each speaker and tell people where to go.