Friday, July 10, 2009


Our semi-annual Staff Showcase, or should I say, Showdown, begins tonight at our two stores. These tastings involve a simple task I give my wine staff – find what they believe is the best bottle we have in our stores for under $50 – and with their choices, we line them up, and let the customers vote which one is truly the best.

It’s not as easy a task as it sounds.

Our simple selection of around 3,000 different SKUs is just barely scratching the surface of all the wine out there (maybe 250,000 different SKUs (or types from all the various producers) on the market, maybe more) so what we have is certainly not a “BEST EVER” kind of event. No, we are a humble lot, in a small market (Cincinnati, Ohio) that simply wants to give our customers the best product we can, at competitive prices. An admirable goal we strive for everyday.

Yet getting back on point, the two stores have been divided into two teams – with 5 wines each, and this time, we brown bag them, and cloak them in complete anonymity. At no time will anyone know what we are pouring, other than the hints I dropped on Twitter earlier today ( I can sum up by saying that the wines break down like this: California, France, Italy, Spain and Australia are represented in this lineup. (That’s all you get.)

We provide ballots for the customers, with a separate sheet for note taking. If the customers wish to purchase these wines, they must PLACE AN ORDER with our tasting hosts, simply by denoting what wine they wish get pricing/order (the wines have been numbered 1-10). There will be no reveal whatsoever. No pricing will be given. You are completely in the dark. We may do this each time we hold these tastings (which are semi-annually, as I mentioned before).

Let the games begin.

[NOTE: I will post the results on Sunday.]

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