You’re Over Thinking It

Don’t get me wrong, I love it when someone is really interested in wines or spirits that I’m vibing on. I love the conversation and comradery that take place in the moment. As someone who spends majority of my free time studying and working on my personal knowledge of the beverage universe, it’s validating in a way. But it doesn’t always have to be that way. 

We, as wine and spirit professionals, spend an enormous amount of time on education. We obsess and pour over every bit of written word or fruit liquid we can get our hands on so that we can properly assess and satiate your appetite. You don’t need to spend all of your time researching the best value red and white wine that won’t destroy your bank account because you have a party coming up. You don’t need to stress about the expensive bottle of whiskey you are getting your boss for Christmas this year. Should you use Roederer Estate or Torre Oria Cava for your Mimosas? I say you don’t have to do this, because we have already done the work for you. 


Personally, I’ve tasted a lot of wine I thought was great but the price didn’t match or it was too niche and I didn’t have anyone in mind that I could have introduced it to. We even use a grid format in tasting to make sure the wine is balanced and not flawed. Some are more sophisticated than others but I like the WSET level 3 grid for wine tasting. You don’t always have to use the grid but in a professional sense, it creates a good structure for building muscle memory when it comes to breaking down wines of all price points and regional specificity. If I can find a $18 wine that drinks like a $40, then I’ve done my job. Consistency is the only way I can accomplish that. 


It takes time for us to learn how to decipher what a customer really wants that comes in and says, “What’s your best red wine for $20?” The amount of questions that spew from my mouth when I hear that is me trying to figure out what you like and don’t like. There are a ton of incredible wines from $18-25 and the process is all about getting you what you want. There’s no quick, “This is the best $20 wine you’re looking for. Have a good day” response. I’m not trying to talk over you at all, I just want you to get your $20’s worth. In most cases, we can read between the lines and see that you don’t care about which AVA your Chardonnay comes from, you just want it build for spend and to work for the money. Then that, is an easy answer. 

Good servers, great bartenders, proven wine shop associates, and sommeliers don’t do well or last long without a thirst for more knowledge. If it makes a diner’s experience in the restaurant better or a customer that trusted us to pick out wine for Supper Club not worry about that aspect of hosting, then we’ve done our job. 

Now, if you are really interested in our areas of interest then, by all means, read and research your heart out. The beverage industry if full of areas of interest and you can spend a lifetime studying it and never hit everything. Hell, I’m happy to sit and talk wine, whiskey, cocktails, or pairings with you all day. No beverage is off topic.  

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5 TV Shows That Drive Me To Drink

It’s not a surprise to anyone that we are influenced by what we see on television and digital media to want to buy… Or drink. We’ve seen a clever ad and then some how, magically, have an uncontrollable urge to use, eat, or drink that product within the next few days. It’s almost like we are being told what to do…..

Now when I say drive me to drink, I’m not talking about a suspenseful plot line or stressing me out about which of my favorite characters will die next(*cough* Game of Thrones *couch*). I’m saying I want to drink what my fictitious friends are drinking while I’m watching whatever shenanigans are happening in front of me. Basically, I don’t feel completely fulfilled in finishing an episode unless I’m having a beer Tim Riggins or drinking all the Dornish wine with Tyrion Lannister. So here are my top 5 TV shows that drive me to drinking:

5. Friday Night Lights and Shiner Bock  

Personally, I think FNL is one of the best shows ever made. And for the record, I’m not even super into football. Coach Taylor taught me a lot about life in 5 seasons. “Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose” has been a mantra for me in many situations. But it’s not Coach Taylor, Buddy Garrity, or even the incredible soundtrack by one of my favorite bands(Explosions in the Sky) that make me want to drink. It’s Tim Riggins. The troubled bad boy that can’t find peace is relatable to everyone right? Not me but I just like raising an ice cold bottle of that Texas beer in the air whenever I hear anybody say “Texas forever.” Shiner Bock is the flagship beer of the Spoetzl Brewery out of Shiner, Texas about an hour to an hour and a half out of Austin. Shiner Bock is easy to get and FNL is on Netflix.

4. Treme and Great Raft Southern Drawl

New Orleans is probably one of my favorite places in the world. It’s history, culture, and community pride overwhelm me every visit. New Orleans is more than Hurricanes and Bourbon Street and Treme shows the rest of the world that. The show isn’t action packed like creator David Simon’s previous shows(The Wire and Generation Kill), it about the struggle of chefs, musicians, politics, and the community trying to build their city back just 3 months after Hurricane Katrina destroyed it. Musically, it’s everything New Orleans from Rebirth Brass Band to the street musicians trying to get by. So why a Shreveport beer like Great Raft Southern Drawl with a New Orleans show? Seeing the struggles and triumphs of people building their city back up all the while fighting to keep their traditions of Mardi Gras, festivals and dancing alive makes me proud to be from Louisiana. What better way to show local pride than with a tasty brew from my home town? The entire Emmy award winning series of Treme is on HBO Go. If you’re reading this or live in Shreveport and don’t know what Great Raft is or where to get it, you should probably move to Canada.

(Sidebar: GR broke into the New Orleans and Baton Rouge markets just these last few months and are killing it)

3. Bloodline and Patron Añejo

Friday Night Lights’ Coach Taylor, Kyle Chandler, stars as a protective family man when his black sheep of a brother comes home to their Florida Keys family business and wants in. Shady things start happening and conspiracies arise. The shows tag line of “We’re not bad people, but we did a bad thing.” is enough to draw anyone in. The world dominating tequila brand Patron is all over the show from the Silver to the Añejo. It’s architectural web of secrets and lies around this family are enough to make you want to sip on some Patron Añejo or take a shot of Patron Silver. Bloodline is a Netflix original series and Patron Añejo is readily available at any spirit shop worth it’s salt, and lime, for around $60.

2) Justified and Buffalo Trace Kentucky Bourbon  

This is one of my favorite FX shows ever. U.S. Marshall Raylan Givens, played by God’s gift to swagger Timothy Olyphant, is sent back to his poor coal mining Kentucky town of Harlan from Miami after he shot a fugitive on sight in a quick draw contest. Set in modern day, it’s a roller coaster ride of devastatingly intelligent banter, hill billy organized crime, meth turf wars, and betrayal. People in the show are constantly drinking bourbon and I always get the urge to sip on on of my favorites. You see people drinking Pappy Van Winkle throughout the show so Buffalo Trace is as close as I can get(Pappy is distiller at the Buffalo Trace Distillery). The Justified series is finished now and all seasons are available on DVD and Blueray. A liter of Buffalo Trace Bourbon(liters are the best value for your buck with spirits) will run you about $32-33 a bottle.

1) Game of Thrones and 2013 Pierre Chermette Beaujolais 

game-of-thrones-season-4

Probably the most frustrating show ever made. George R. R. Martin(author and creator of the series)has a super natural ability to get you to love a character, pull for them, and then kill them off. After every episode ends, I have to take an extra glass of wine and 20 minutes to collect myself and process what I just saw. I like to think Dornish wine, which is always referenced, is like Beaujolais. I don’t know why, that’s just where my oenophile mind goes. Probably because its exotically French, fruity, and easy to drink when watching the devastation at Hardhome is tough to swallow. Game of Thrones is available on HBO Go streaming and on DVD/Blu-ray and you can pick up a bottle of Pierre Chermette at Wine Country Bottle Shop for $17.

If you need a weekend binge on TV shows and get hobo hammered while you do it, here’s your starting point.

Wine