Josh Kaplan

868 N Franklin St
Chicago, IL 60610
(312) 482 9179

Sommelier Josh Kaplan

mk | Chicago

Wine Tips

  1. Ask good questions and be a good listener.
  1. Make sure there are no spelling errors on your list. Use accents and the correct typographical characters for foreign wines.
  1. Take notes on everything you taste. It is impossible to store every tasting note by memory. A lot of times I will not be able to add a great wine to the list on the day or week that I taste it, but know I can refer back to the note a few months down the road when the slot is available. By taking short concise notes I am able to remember my impression of the wine.
  1. As often as you taste is as often as you should study. A good practice is to read up on the region or producer of the wine that you drank the night before.
  1. Just like our chef does with food, I try to create “wow” in the wine list. That can be done by offering selections from offbeat areas or offering lesser-known indigenous varietals. Another surefire way to achieve this “wow” is to offer a cult wine below market value.
  1. A wine list is more than plugging in wines at the right price points. It is an opportunity to express your creativity. A wine list is a changing, evolving, ebbing, flowing, expression of your taste and passion for wine. Don’t let review and scores write your list…let your gut write it.
  1. Diversify your portfolio. You can please the geeks, the collecters, and the novices all on one list. If there are some esoteric wines on your list, the geeks are happy. If there are some “Great Wines,” the collectors are happy. If you listen to and engage the novices, and then steer them in the right direction, they will be happy. Isn’t that what it’s all about?


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   Published: April 2008