Food

In Praise of Good Wine

Thursday, June 07, 2018

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The wine bar (enoteca, for the initiated) goes all the way back to 1435 in Italy (of course) where Al Brindisi in Ferrara holds the Guinness World Record for the world's oldest wine bar. So to call this a trend would definitely be, in a word, flippant. And, if history has taught us anything, it's that a good wine bar has a spectacular collection (including bottles that you've probably never heard of), great bites and a convivial atmosphere. This recipe for success has been refined by Uncorked! and the Regency Bar and Lounge at the Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel.

Speaking with Thursday Food, Uncorked!! co-principal Anna Kay von Dueszeln and Matthew Hann, marketing manager, Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel, are still reeling from their win at the 20th Jamaica Observer Table Talk Food Awards where both establishments shared the win for Best Wine Experience.

“The overall feeling is great. We've been putting in a lot of work to improve our customer experience and this award validates all that work,” said Hann. He continued, “We don't see this award as just for best wine experience but for the collection of things that go into creating a full experience at the Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel.” Both establishments demand a lot from their staff and urge them to offer guests first-rate experiences. “My staff now feels like they are the greatest staff in the world!” said von Dueszeln. “We've been working extremely hard to also be seen as a restaurant and this win, we feel, reflects the well-rounded experience guests will have at Uncorked!.”

On the heels of their win, Uncorked! and the Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel, under the Regency Bar and Lounge brand, each had a celebratory wine event. Regency Bar and Lounge had a one-night-only two-for-one special on select glasses and bottles between 7:00 pm and midnight on Wednesday, June 6. On the same night, between 5:00 pm and 7:00 pm, Uncorked! popped open two types of wine (special bottles) and invited guests to sip and sample. Fun fact: the Uncorked! sampling event will take place each Wednesday and, yes, it is complimentary.

Speaking of which, Uncorked! allows guests to sample their wines by the glass, and cheeses and certain nibbles before they order. “I am not pushing what I like,” said von Dueszeln. She prefers guests to “explore and hunt” in order to find something that they love. She continued, “When I see someone happy as they eat and drink, this pushes me to improve. I sell happy stuff and I want people to really enjoy themselves.”

Jamaica may not have a robust culture of oenophiles, but both establishments are doing their part to remove the mental and socio-economic barriers that many locals have regarding wine. Regency trains its team to attentively listen and to ask the right questions in order to effortlessly guide their patrons as they order. Starting in July, Regency will be hosting wine training events in an attempt to make locals improve their wine knowledge and feel more comfortable when ordering.

And not to be outdone, Uncorked! is getting a wine dispenser that allows guests to swipe a card and enjoy a wide range of special bottles in 1.5oz, 3oz and 5oz pours. Think of it as a wine ATM. Now you can finally try that $40,000 bottle without investing a chunk of your salary!

The Regency Bar and Lounge at the Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel and Uncorked! both offer a delightful experience that extends beyond their world-class wine lists. The service, food, ambience, knowledgeable and unpushy staff work in tandem to create experiences that can aptly be called magical.

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