Tag Archives: Clara Klein


Winecast 68: Clara Klein and restaurant wine after the pandemic

Clara Klein
Clara Klein, Sunday Vinyl: We have challenges, but we’re dealing with them.

Clara Klein: “The restaurant wine business is good.”

Know all that bad news we’ve heard about restaurant wine prices? Clara Klein, the lead sommelier at Sunday Vinyl in Denver, says it’s not necessarily so.

Klein, the blog’s official restaurant wine expert, returned to discuss what she is seeing as the restaurant wine business works its way out of the pandemic. She is seeing some significant changes in restaurant wine, including better pricing and more choices. “It’s important not to dumb it down — we’re having too much fun,” says Klein.

Among the subjects we discussed:

• Rose season should proceed on schedule, with prices more or less the same and decent selection. Which, of course, is good news for the blog’s 15h annual rose extravaganza next week.

• She is working diligently to keep pricing fair and selection high. How about a quality bottle of restaurant wine for $35? Sunday Vinyl also has expanded its wine by the glass offerings and has added tasting flights for some of the most expensive bottles on its list. That way, says Klein, customers can get a chance to taste rare wines they would not otherwise be able to afford.

• Working conditions have improved as well — health insurance and 401K plans included. In this, she says, the restaurant has been able to attract more and better qualified employees.

Finally, you’ll notice what is perhaps the first discussion of Greek wine on the blog. Which, as I note, is almost surely the last discussion, given how difficult it is to find Greek wine in most of the country.

Click here to download or stream the podcast, which is about 19 minutes long and takes up 13 megabytes. The sound quality is very good to excellent.

Photo courtesy of 5280, using a Creative Commons license


Winecast 45: DCanter’s Michael Warner and wine retail trends during the duration

Michael Warner
Michael Warner of DCanter

Our wine purchases during the duration? Cheap and cheerful, says this Washington, D.C. retailer

Michael Warner, the co-founder of DCanter, a neighborhood wine shop in Washington, D.C.’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, has seen all the reports about wine buying during the duration: More expensive wine to treat ourselves, lots of this and some of that, and even boxed wine. But he thinks he has seen something significant at this shop, which has more affluent demographics than most.

“Cheap and cheerful,” says Warner, whose store is seven years old. “People are buying less expensive wine. They’re not entertaining, which is when they would buy more expensive wine.”

In this, he says, his customers are buying more vinho verde, the cheap Portuguese fizzy wine, as well as half bottles. That’s because those who live alone want wine for dinner, but don’t want to waste it, and that’s what half bottles are for.

We also talked about:

• That wine delivery and Internet sales have become as important as the studies suggest. Dcanter sold more wine on-line in the first two days of D.C.’s stay at home order than it did in the previous three years.

• The need to update delivery and on-line ordering regulations to reflect the 21st century. DCanter’s customers who live in Maryland,  just a couple of miles away, can’t get delivery. But those in Virginia, also a couple of miles away, can. How much sense does that make?

• The obstructions in the wine supply chain thanks to the pandemic, and that it is becoming more difficult to find imported wine.

• Wine retail websites, and how too many of them look and work like they were put up during GeoCities’ heyday.

Click here to download or stream the podcast, which is about 11 minutes long and takes up 4 1/2 megabytes and was recorded on Skype, the blog’s unofficial podcast software.


Winecast 44: Clara Klein, Sunday Vinyl

Clara Klein
Clara Klein, Sunday Vinyl

Stuck at home? Then there’s nothing wrong with $12 white Bordeaux, fast food, and pantry staples, says Clara Klein

Clara Klein, the lead sommelier at Sunday Vinyl in Denver, bought a house in October. Six months later, she was unemployed, courtesy of the coronavirus pandemic.

Hence, the reason for this podcast — Clara offers smart, insightful perspective on wine and the restaurant business during the duration. I’ve known Clara for a couple of years from judging the Colorado Governor’s Cup, and she understands that not all wine costs $100 or needs to be Napa Valley cabernet sauvignon. How many people in her line of work are willing to admit that?

Clara is also a passionate supporter of local restaurants, local jobs, and local food. And her plea for federal aid to help save local is one of the best I have read or heard. If four out of five restaurants close because of the pandemic, do we really want the one restaurant left to be a national chain?

The good news is that she has plenty of inexpensive wine at home, and she and husband Ian Palazzola (laid off from Denver’s Acorn) have been able to cook, drink wine, and spend time together. Which, she says, doesn’t happen much. Finally, a mea culpa: Sunday Vinyl is in Denver, despite my saying it was in Boulder twice.

Click here to download or stream the podcast, which is almost 11 minutes long and takes up 4 megabytes. The sound quality is very good; we’re back with  Skype, the blog’s unofficial podcast software.

Photo courtesy of 5280, using a Creative Commons license