Sunday, December 13, 2015

The Social Side of Wine

Last month, we had a fantastic dinner at Fleet Street Kitchen - it was the third in the Fork and Cork series, which was a collaboative effort between the sommeliers and chefs from FSK, Wit + Wisdom and Aggio.

I've mentioned the meal here already, but what I didn't say was how much we enjoyed hearing from the sommeliers, especially Julie Dalton, of Wit + Wisdom, who ended up at our table a couple times and who was just bubbling over with excitement about the wines. When someone is that psyched about what they're pouring, it's hard not to get on board.

I was thinking about that dinner today and remembered that a couple years ago, I interviewed Julie for a Sun article about restaurants and bars using new approaches to wine dispensing (taps, etc.). 

During our conversation, Julie and I talked about a lot of different things, some of which were eventually cut from the article for length - including her take on people using social media to learn and share about wine.

That conversation took place over a year and a half ago, but I think what she shared is still pretty instead of letting it languish in a file on my computer, here it is:


Wit + Wisdom's Julie Dalton on the Social (Media) Side of Wine

At Wit + Wisdom, the Millennial clientele is highly experimental with different varietals, says Julie Dalton, and they incorporate technology into their wine drinking experience on the social side. "It's crazy what social media has done for the wine industry," she says. Activities like "sabering" (opening bottles of sparkling wine with swords) and drinking directly from porrons (double-spouted glass pitchers from Spain) have gained in popularity thanks to social media sites like Instagram and wine-oriented apps.

"Right now everyone is sabering any sparkling wine because they're seeing videos and the hashtag #sabering," she says. "They follow people on [the app] Delectable to see what other people are drinking. People use it to see if they're drinking 'cool' wine." (Delectable is an app that lets people to share photos of what they are drinking; from the photos it identifies the wine and users can rate and buy the wine via the app.)

Wit + Wisdom is tapping into these trends this summer (ed note: as in...summer 2014) with Instagram-worthy events like Porron on the Patio, which will be part Spanish wine class, part interactive porron experience. "It's fun," says Dalton. "And of course it's going to be on the patio because people sometimes make messes."


And because I can, here's some proof that sabering remains incredibly entertaining. My sister, accidentally knocking more than just the tippy-top off a bottle of prosecco on Thanksgiving. In slow motion:

It was more than a little traumatic. It wasn't her first rodeo, either. Tom and Cail gave us that saber for Christmas last year and Erin definitely got in on the sabering action. I actually think the above mess was my fault - I gave her a bottle that had been on its side, not standing up straight.

All was not lost, though. We had another bottle in the fridge, so we didn't have to go without. And the whole mess was much funnier since we were a) all (as in, everyone at the house, from Dixon to my 97-year old grandmother) watching from my parents' porch and b) taping the whole thing. Slow motion video is fabulous.

At any rate, I'm pretty sure the Waskom family proved Julie's point. We saber, we share, we have fun when we drink. It's a good time to be into wine.

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