She did for a bit, but then she got back to work: This week, the sommelier launched The Lusch List, a newsletter and blog designed to give people curated lists of wine they should drink and ones they can purchase at local establishments.
“After Brian and I closed The Grape, I was going to take some time off to decompress and figure out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I realized I had to start to buy wine retail like the rest of the world, and I did not like that very much,” Luscher says, laughing.
Standing in front of a wall of rosé bottles in a wine superstore made her realize a resource could be helpful for people.
“I hadn’t been in a retail store to buy wine in 10 years, honestly. I thought, ‘How am I even going to pick this, and I kind of know stuff; what do other people do?’” she says. “I took the approach of: I need to figure out how I can find some cool wine for my house, maybe I can share with my family and friends. And it just started snowballing from there.”
She launched a website other restaurant industry professionals started lauding on social media this week, and the first email newsletter is set to go out next week.
Crafting the suggestions is something Luscher is well acquainted with, of course.
“I missed all the fun things I used to do in the industry and providing fun wines and creating lists, and I just thought maybe people might be interested in this,” she says. “… I’ve been sitting on it all summer, trying to figure out does it makes sense, do people like this, is there even a need for this? Then I watched all of my industry friends trying to pivot and figure [life during a pandemic] out.
“As much as I loved the convenience of Total Wine bringing wine to my door, my friends need help, too.”
She did some pivoting of her own to promote local small businesses.
“That’s what I always wanted from our patrons: Remember the little guys, the independent guys; we’re the ones out here doing this every day,” she says. “It seems so weird, because I would be in the same boat right now if we hadn’t closed — if we’d even still be open, who knows?”
Subscribers to the newsletter get a list of wines to try and learn, for instance, how a great bottle of wine at Parigi can go well with a particular entree there, or about a fantastic red blend Veritas Wine Room just got in.
“It’s a huge hurdle. We have to all hunker down and support each other and promote each other,” Luscher says. “I just want to share, and hopefully people find it fun and enjoyable.”
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