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If you're like many small art gallery owners and managers, you're toying with the idea of holding regular wine tastings in your establishment as a way to generate more interest—or maybe you're considering simply serving wine during special events such as artist receptions and community-wide celebrations. Either way, those without any particular experience in the food and beverage industry often find working with wine daunting, even if they've got substantial experience as a consumer. Fortunately, once you get a few basics down, serving wine in an art gallery is easy. Here's what you need to know.
Get the Proper License
The first step is to get the proper license, which shouldn't involve too much red tape. Most municipalities offer a streamlined process for occasional events involving wine and beer that usually involves purchasing a single-use permit for a specified date and time. Someone at your local city or county government office should be able to fill you in on the details.
Keep It Simple
Don't try to be too elaborate, especially during your first few efforts. All you really need are two kinds of white wine and two types of red, although you might choose to create a festive note during the holiday season by serving sparkling wine.
Keep It Local
Selecting products from local wineries creates a connection between your gallery and the larger business community in your area, and customers like the idea of being able to try local wines. Owners of boutique vineyards might also be interested in attending your event and speaking with others about the wines you're serving. At the very least, they may be able to provide business cards so that those interested in purchasing some of their wines will be able to easily find them.
Keep It Professional
Simply setting up a self-service wine table is never a good idea in any business setting. You could find yourself facing a significant fine in the event that someone under the age of 21 helped him or herself to a glass of wine while on your premises. Another consideration is that even though the chances of it occurring are low in an art gallery, there's also the possibility that someone may be over served and pose a danger if they're driving. The best thing to do is to hire a professional to handle pouring and serving the wine — in fact, many local laws specify that the person dispensing the wine have a permit to serve alcohol.
Serve Appropriate Hors d'Oeuvres
You don't have to go overboard on hors d'oeuvres, but you should have a plate or two of something for each of the types of wine you're serving. Water crackers with white cheese are fine to serve with white wine, while you'll want something with a more robust flavor profile for the red wine. Cheddar cheese slices with roast beef or pepperoni are an excellent choice for serving with red wine. You can always go a little fancier and serve seafood mousse or foie gras on crackers if the occasion calls for something along gourmet lines.
Use Quality Glassware
Even the best wines and tastiest hors d'oeuvres won't seem special if the wine is served in paper or plastic cups. You might be able to get away with these for very casual, one-time affairs, but if you're planning on serving wine on a regular or semi-regular basis in your art gallery, you should invest in some quality glassware that reflects well on your business. All you really need is one set of glassware for red wine and another for white wines, as well as Champagne flutes to use on festive occasions. Sturdy glassware designed for restaurant use is recommended because it's built to resist breakage. Check out websites like http://louiswohl.com to learn more.