Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Songs to Change the List By

Finding new wines is the easy part. Introducing delicious wines to the staff is no big problem. But putting those wines on the list, going line by line and making sure everything is spelled correctly and presented just right, well, that requires some music to keep things flowing. Whether you rock the headphones during the afternoon when the office is full of reservationists, or stay late to get the run of the place and max the speakers, good tunes are an important component of any list alteration. No bass line? No harmonizing? Then no successful wine program, and it is as simple as that.

Knowing how important the right tunes are to a wine list update, I've decided to go ahead and share with you some of my very favorite music to change the list by.

Put It On by Big L, featuring Kid Capri

I'll be honest with you, this is the secret to every great wine list I have put together. I get psyched to put wines on the list when I hear this song. Basically, I think of myself as Big L. Like my name is Levi and I'm tall, so I figure if I had a rap name it would be Big L. Makes sense, right? I think it makes sense. Anyway, when Kid Capri is all like "Com'on Big L, put it on! Represent! Put it on and on!" I feel like Kid is right there in the office telling me to put new wines on the list. Kid Capri in the office with a bunch of other dudes being like "Hey, oh!" is a lot of encouragement right there. I think I've featured more '94s on my lists than any other sommelier in America because of this song. And you know for sure when a wine is 86'd it isn't gone, it's out, it's out, it's out, it's out...

The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down by The Band

One of the greatest live performances of all time, and I challenge you not to sing along when it is playing, whoever you may be. This is my go to on those long overnighters where you have to input all the inventory numbers and then go ahead and change several pages of the list as well. Those nights where there is some crazy good party going on that you can't be at. The nights when you are stuck working and you don't want to be. Man, this song just washes over everything the way they sing it in this performance. I don't know of a better working man's catharsis than this song.

It Takes Two by Rob Base and DJ E Z Rock

HIT IT!! This is my unofficial wine list MANTRA. You don't like Gravner? So what, I don't care! I got a real funky concept: don't cheer me, just hear me out!

I'll tell you what, this jam changes everything any time and anywhere you play it. Situation different, right about now! You need an extra lift to pull you through a 14 hour shift and make that wine list poppin'? Then this is your music. Listening to this will guarantee a list that flows. 1-2-3 Get loose on the list now! It truly does take two: this song and you.

Adagio For Strings by Tiesto

The ecstatic nature is of this, well, whatever it is, is just freakin INSANE. I mean, if I could ever lead a wine tasting that went anything at all even remotely like what happens in this video I think I would just retire right then and there afterwards. No more wine, no more dinners, that would have been it, the pinnacle. Another plane of existence. I get so excited when I am just watching this video that I can't sleep afterwards. I feel an incredible sense of urgency to run, to jump, to type out lines and lines of text spiralling off into forever. MAGIC. MUSIGNY.

I don't even like Tiesto. But this one video, I mean, it's just nuts.

Flowerz by Armand Van Helden

This springtime favorite has become seasonally appropriate once more. A must listen for those adding Roussannes, Gewurztraminers, Rieslings, and Friulanos to their list. Not to mention Rieslaner. Remember that at this time of year, you should always be giving flowers. Of course, Armand Van Helden himself is no stranger to the old school wine junkies who read this blog.

So there you go. Those are the tunes I listen to most when I am changing up the list. I'll be honest and say that I've gone ahead and listened to my share of 50 Cent and whatever too, but I think that was also when I caved and poured some commercial junk by the glass just to keep the distributor happy. So be careful how and when you play what you play. Because it all goes down on paper at some point, and guests see that.


Anonymous said...

haha put it on. you crack me up Levi. Very refreshing blog to follow. I know you just write for yourself, not your audience but I figured to show some love. TY TY for the entertainment & keep writing!

Anonymous said...

oops, meant to say: but i figured i'd show you some love**

leviopenswine said...

Thanks, Anon!

That's nice of you.

Anonymous said...

Just awesome!!!!! Thank you for coming up with that stuff!!!