Thursday, May 7, 2009

Good Cause Bad Wine

You know the old saying – “The food was terrible and there wasn’t enough of it”? Well, I heard its wine equivalent today. I was at a fund-raising luncheon for an important national women’s organization where wine was served, both red and white. The lunch was held at a suburban club, which can only be praised in terms of its view (a panoramic look at the Long Island Sound) certainly not in terms of its service, its food – or its wine, which was awful. (A past official of the organization later complained to me, “I heard the wine was terrible and I couldn’t even get a glass.”)

This has happened to me – and I’m sure many of you– over and over – at fundraisers, benefits, bar mitzvahs and weddings- all the places that people gather to feel and do good. And apparently be served terrible wine. And yet there has never been more good wine around - at rock-bottom prices- than now. There are excellent Torrontes from Argentina that cost $2 a bottle wholesale; there are Muscadets that cost a couple dollars more, ditto some nice juicy Malbecs. Where does catering hall wine come from anyway? Is there some big factory in American Canyon, California that’s churning it out?

When he’s through with the auto companies and the banks, I want President Obama to consider appointing a Catering Wine Czar to ensure that all the right-minded people who gather together to celebrate (and to write checks for worthy causes- as I did) to enjoy a good glass of wine. I’ll even volunteer for the job- free of charge!


  1. So true! But of course i feel the same way about trade tastings. Elbowing my way through a throng of busboys and cooks for a one-ounce pour of swill and plonk is not my idea of a fun or educational experience.

    Sad really, when as you said, there is real value - quality and price wine in the market today. I source wines for a number of non-profits here in Naples, Florida and can always find high-quality low-price options. I also attend a number of events where the wines are so poor, I just opt for water.

  2. Wow - I'd say Florida busboys have a better deal than those in New York... I've never seen a busboy at a NYC trade wine tasting but if so, they're still probably better dressed than most wine writers I know!
    What are some of your favorite high quality-low price wines for your non-profit clients?