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SELLING MORE THAN A BIT OF THE BUBBLY

Here's what Boyd has learned since taking over the kitchen at The Restaurant at Domaine Chandon, the winemaker whose Yountville headquarters is arguably the epicenter of sparkling wine knowledge in the country

  1. Boyd points out that sparkling wine is one of the most versatile, food-friendly wines your customers can buy. He suggests you recommend it as an alternative to Chardonnay for any patron whose menu choice would otherwise call for a dry white wine.
  2. Keep in mind that sparkling wines must be properly chilled, which requires careful handling on the restaurant's end. Boyd says that for optimum refreshment, you should place a room temperature bottle in the refrigerator for three hours prior to serving. If not that, put the bottle in a bucket filled with a slush of ice and cold water for thirty minutes prior to serving.
  3. Do some of your servers lack confidence about popping a sparkling wine bottle's cork at the table? Try drilling this mantra into their heads: Turn the bottle, not the cork.
  4. Do you know how many bottles of sparkling wine it will take to serve a large group? Boyd offers this rule of thumb: One bottle pours approximately five glasses.
  5. There's a reason you want to serve sparkling wines in narrow flutes or tulip glasses: these shapes help conserve the bubbles. Their slender openings reduce the amount of exposed surface area, which in turns helps keep the wine's bubbles lively longer. It's a key part of the merchandising.
  6. Keep in mind that sparkling wine is made in several different styles and that some of them—Brut, Blanc de Noirs, Rose and Extra—pair particularly well with certain types of food. Boyd's top picks include Brut with salads or sushi; Black de Noir with salmon or pork; rose with lobster, turkey or veal; and Extra Dry with spicy food such as curry.

Finally, don't forget what Boyd dubs the "three-day rule." Sparkling wine will stay fresh for as long as three days in a refrigerator, as long as you use the proper sparkling wine reclosure.

Follow Boyd's advice and you can boost your sales of sparkling wine year-round, not just in these next two weeks.

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