There is no video in this lesson. Wine knowledge “pre-interview” should be kept to the basics. Of course, you can always do some research on your own to get really familiar on the subject.

the basics of wine and wine coolers

If asked about wine in the job interview, it’s most likely going to be a very general question. You should know the very basics that I outline below. I used to ask some very simple questions:

“Tell me, Mark, would you serve a glass of white wine at room temperature?” The answer is, “Only if the customer asked for it, otherwise, I would always serve white wine chilled.”

“OK, Mark, you’re opening a bottle of wine and the cork falls through into the wine. What do you do?” The answer is, “I would immediately put the bottle of wine to the side (remember – people are watching you!), and open a new bottle of wine, and then follow bar policy in retrieving the cork from the original bottle of wine and eliminating waste.”

True Story:
I finagled my way into a fine dining restaurant as a bartender and got hit with a 100 wine bottle list. Ouch. Fortunately, one of the food servers took time out to teach me the basics – and more. I learned a lot, but really struggled those first few weeks. Moral of the story: If you’re applying at a place like this, do your homework and get a book on wine. Or something.

I’ve seen bars dispense their house wine through a “gun” or dispenser. I’ve seen them pour out of boxes or gallon jugs. Some bars will pour only out of the original 750 ml bottle. All bars are different!

How do you open a wine bottle? This is very basic, and I won’t waste your time here. I might do a video later, but for now just Google “how to open a wine bottle” and you’ll get tons of hits. Common sense here.

Types of Wine Sold In Bars

  • White Wine
  • Red Wine
  • Rose or “pink” Wine
  • Wine Coolers
  • Champagne

Wine Basics

  • Usually 750 ml bottles
  • Can be dry or sweet – and anything in between
  • Alcohol content can be anywhere between 6% and 15%. Sometimes higher. Average is around 10 – 12% by volume.
  • About 5 glasses per 750ml bottle
  • About 5 – 6 ounces per serving. It all depends upon the bar and the types of glasses they use. And the Bar Owner.
  • Many bars will carry only one type of wine glass – and one type of champagne glass (a “flute).
  • Champagne flutes are usually around 6 ounces. Bartenders will pour 4 – 5 ounces.
  • Wine coolers are usually sold by the 12 ounce bottle
  • “Made from scratch” wine coolers are simply wine and 7-Up. Or plain soda. Make it in a tall or “Collins” glass with cubed ice. Garnish with some fruit.
  • Many bars will have their own version of a “Sangria.” Simply wine with some sort of fruit juice and other stuff. Don’t sweat it.

White Wine

Just what it sounds like – white colored, straw-yellow, or yellow gold,. You get the picture. Made from the non-colored pulp of grapes that can have any skin color. Could be dry or sweet. Easy. Popular Brands:

  • Chablis – high acid, sweet. These days, mostly made from Chardonnay grapes
  • Chardonnay – oaky, smokey, heavy, a bit sweet
  • Pinot Grigio – light and light-bodied, crisp, acidic. Italian-style wine
  • Riesling – sweet, traditionally from France
  • Sauvignon Blanc – crisp, dry, very popular these days

Red Wine

Again, it’s gonna be red. Color can be brick red or dark violet. It’s all over the place. Most red wines are a bit “dry” but they can be sweet. Made from dark colored grape varieties. Popular brands:

  • Cabernet Sauvignon – strong flavored, dry aftertaste, heavy acids
  • Merlot – mild, medium, berry flavored
  • Pinot Noir – light, medium bodied, berry
  • Zinfandel – not sweet, fruity

Rose Wine (Pink)

Pink, usually served chilled. Made with the either one type of grape or a combination of two or more. Many Rose’s have added flavors and are sweet.

  • Pinot Noir
  • Cabernet Sauvignon Rose
  • Tempranillo Rose
  • Grenache Rose

Wine Coolers

Wine coolers are getting to be like craft beers. There’s a new one that pops up every day. Most bars will carry only one brand – with maybe 3 – 5 flavors. Popular Brands:

  • Mikes Hard Lemonade (Not really a “wine,” but in this class)
  • Truly Hard Seltzer’s
  • Smirnoff Ice
  • White Claw
  • Spiked Seltzer

That’s it for wine. Just read through this lesson a couple of times and you’ll be just fine.

If you’re following along in the Basic Bartending Course:

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