K&L Wine Merchants hosts regular wine tastings in both of its Bay Area locations. At the San Francisco store wine tasting are held each Saturday from Noon to 3 p.m. and on Thursday evenings. In Redwood City tastings are held on Saturday from 1 to 4 p.m. Wine tastings provide a wonderful opportunity to discover a new wine region or variety, or rediscover some old favorites—without having to commit to the purchase of an entire bottle! No need to reserve a space, just come on in and pull up a glass! For further information about other special monthly tastings and dinners, please see our website at www.klwines.com and click on the “local events” bar.Tasting Upcoming Thursday evening Tastings at K&L San Francisco: 04/20/06 Cain Vineyards 04/27/06 Darioush 05/04/06 Honig 05/11/06 Ruston Family Vineyards 05/18/06 Cliff Lede 06/01/06 Clos Saron 06/08/06 Duckhorn Vineyards 06/22/06 Vinum Cellars
Wonderfully provocative article in the San Francisco Chronicle last thursday on restaurant corkage. This is a hot button issue for wine savvy diners, and your piece exposes the flaws and attitudes with regards to wine markups. While I don't agree with Pizzeria Delfina's policy not allowing diners to bring in their own wine, the restaurant has created a solid and inexpensive list. Any diner should be thrilled with this situation. However, Delfina's Stoll says "What if you collected fine tablecloths... so you wanted to bring one in to eat off of?" At my restaurant I would ask my customer "On which table you would like me to drape it?" Richard Reddington states that "I have investors that I need and want to pay back. How do I make up the profit?" Let me guess: exorbitant corkage and high wine prices? More Reddington: "When you write a budget, you think wine is going to represent a big chunk of your revenue. When it doesn't, the numbers don't make sense." "(Corkage) really undercuts our business model." Sounds like you botched the business model, Richard. Don't make it the diner's problem. Bobby Stuckey of the French Laundry says corkage is only beneficial to people with a lot of money and not beneficial to the rest of us. When I look at a restaurant wine list and see Edna Valley Vineyards Chardonnay for 35 bucks, corkage is only for rich people? Ronn Wiegand says that the markup of wine in restaurants is the same as the food. Great, so the diner pays 200 to 300 percent of the cost on food, and the restaurant says that it can't make a profit unless the same markup is used for wine? Hmmm. Restaurants CAN offer mature wine. They do not have to cellar the wine for years and charge prohibitive pricing. Some wholesalers offer older vintages that can be ordered and shipped within a day or two. So strike that argument. Reddington again: "All that corkage really covers is the 12 glasses that get ruined every night." "We broke a $100 decanter the other night, and there's your corkage." You broke a decanter, and that is justification for charging astronomical corkage fees? Not great customer service. That's right, customer. Restaurants are in the food SERVICE business. On the flip side, the 'BYO' advice listed in the article is golden. Diners, don't bring wine that a restaurant has on its list. And if you DO take advantage of corkage, you should tip as if you purchased wine off of the list. The do's and don't go both ways. And if you are put off by corkage policies, don't dine at that establishment. If you don't like commercials, don't watch T.V. Anyone out there feel the same? Differently? I'd love to hear your comments. And don't worry, I'm not really this cranky. I wrote the above as a letter to the editor but decided it was too harsh. It still is- but my feelings about this issue still strongly favour a corkage policy and a fiscally responsible wine list. --Joe Zugelder
In an effort to stay out of prison, we had to suspend wine shipments to Texas. Recently we got served with a formal cease and desist order from the friendly lone star state's Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC). Seems they believe that Bordeaux or Brunello is ok in Texas as long as it doesn't come by way of an out-of-state retailer like K&L. The Pulitzer Prize winning Dallas Morning News has written their own story on the lawsuit that K&L and other retailers filed against the TABC, fighting back against this insanity. Read the Dallas Morning News coverage. We are part of a group called the Specialty Wine Retailers Association (SWRA) and just recently took the fight with Texas to the next level, filing a lawsuit against the TABC, challenging the constitutionality of Texas' laws prohibiting adult consumers from purchasing and receiving wine directly from out-of-state retailers. Read details about the lawsuit here.
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