The SOMM Journal

October/November 2014

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Page 76 of 120

76 { THE SOMM JOURNAL } OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2014 { hot property } ALWAYS IMPECCABLY DRESSED, POLITE AND BRANDISHING A WITTY humor, Aria's Wine Director Kim Wood and Property Mixologist Craig Schoettler are two influential figures in the continuously evolving Las Vegas food and beverage scene. Under the leadership of Ari Kastrati, VP of Food & Beverage, both are respon- sible with cultivating a high-end wine and spirits mixology program in the competitive and demanding environment of world-renown resorts on the Las Vegas Strip. Francesco Lafranconi: How long have you been working at Aria? Kim Wood: I have been here since the opening in December 2009. Craig Schoettler: I was offered this position about a year ago. I used to be the property mixologist at The Aviary in Chicago. How many outlets do you oversee? KW & CS: We are responsible for the wine and spirits mixology program for seven gourmet rooms, four casual dining restaurants, the club, pool bars, 24hour Aria café and a buffet, as well as five casino and service bars. How do you introduce new alcoholic beverages to Aria's employees who work across the many bars and restaurants? Is this a challenge? KW: Of course it is always a bit of a challenge, but we train the trainer. In each venue there is a new item launch program—whether it is wine, liquor, beer or saké. CS: We have a system in place where new POS, new SKUs and a sensory evaluation (pre-shift tasting) are the basic steps for implementation. Our weekly portfolio training is very interactive and involves all types of alcoholic beverages. We utilize a training room where we invite guest speakers (e.g., distributors, brands owners, winemakers, master distillers or brand ambassadors) to share their knowledge with our staff. What type of beverage certifications does the Aria F&B team provide to their staff? KW: We opened in 2009 with Bar Smart—an on-site course and certification for all bar - tenders. We also host the Court of Master Sommelier Level One Certification, which is Southern Wine & Spirits of Nevada's Executive Director of Mixology & Spirits Education, Francesco Lafranconi, interviews Kim Wood and Craig Schoettler of Aria Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, the men behind the property's high-end wine and mixology program. Fine & Dine Craig Schoettler, Property Mixologist at Aria Las Vegas. PHOTO: MONA SHIELD PAYNE Kim Wood, Wine Director at Aria. Q: Q: Q: Q:

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