The Place at Perry's is inviting guests to join its servers for its weekly distributor-led wine tasting sessions, designed to orient the staff to the uptown restaurant's revamped wine list.
Of the 150 wines on The Place's new list, operations director Devin Cox estimates more than two-thirds have never before been served at the restaurant. Since The Place doesn't have a sommelier, Cox planned to familiarize his floor staff with the new wines at 5 o'clock shift meetings on Fridays and Saturdays, serving six wines each session.
"We get information about the vineyard, tasting notes and interesting tidbits, and then we have a q-and-a. We do that with each wine,"Cox explains. "We did a couple of them and I thought it would be cool to invite other people to sit in."
Server wine tastings can be fairly irreverent affairs, with slightly buzzed staffers cracking jokes about customers and the wines they're willing to buy. But Cox says The Place's servers don't mind having a civilian audience for their commentary.
"I think it may give servers the chance to show off," says Cox.
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Cox adds that guests are often more comfortable with their servers after seeing them demonstrate their expertise during the tasting. But he concedes not everyone at The Place is yet capable of commanding an oenophile's respect: "I'm the first to admit some of our servers are aficionados, and some of them are pretty green," he says.
That's part of the impetus behind the sessions, which Cox stresses aren't for "wine geeks." The fast-paced classes are appropriate for drinkers of all backgrounds, he says.
"We just feel like it's more personal than a typical wine tasting or a wine dinner," he says. "The typical wine dinners, as far as I'm concerned, they're boring as h-e-double-l."
The tastings are free with a 6 p.m. dinner reservation and will be offered every Friday and Saturday through the end of August.