The Tasting Panel magazine

Tasting Panel October 2010

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Page 36 of 96

DOWN THE AISLE Mac Gregory, Director of Food and Beverage at The Phoenician, and Jared Sowinski, Director of Wine, taste in the open at Grape & Grain. “Jared and I will be tasting fl ights of champagne and say, ‘Hey, join us!’ to anyone walking by,” says Gregory. The Best of Both Worlds THE PHOENICIAN’S NEW RETAIL OUTLET, GRAPE & GRAIN, COMBINES THE BEST OF ON- AND OFF-PREMISE OFFERINGS WITH AN EXTENSIVE, PROPERTY-WIDE SELECTION AND ACCESS TO THE WORLD CLASS RESORT’S TALENTED STAFF by Rachel Burkons / photos by Brandon Sullivan T A bottle signed by the Herradura Master Distiller is for sale at Grape & Grain at no additional mark-up. HE TASTING PANEL is in Scottsdale, AZ to research a story on Tito’s Handmade Vodka (see our August 2010 issue), and we’re early, wandering The Phoenician’s luxurious corridors. We stumble across Grape & Grain, a retail shop with an elegant, beckoning feel. In the middle of the small, but not cluttered retail space, Phoenician Food and Beverage Director Mac Gregory and his staff surround a tasting table, where it’s clear that they are conducting busi- ness. “We do all of our tastings right here in the store,” explains Gregory. Later, as he poses for our photos, hotel guests walk by, intrigued. “Come in!” he welcomes warmly, offering them a taste of Arizona Stronghold Arizona Red Wine, artisan cheeses and gourmet stuffed olives. With the state’s largest retail stock of wine, spirits and beers, Grape & Grain gives both guests and local residents access to The Phoenician’s extensive multi-million-dollar, award-winning inventory, and doubles as both a showroom and wine cellar for the property. “It’s not uncommon to see a barback come running in here to requisition a bottle of something if one of our restaurants has run out, or if a guest orders a wine we’ve got here,” says Gregory. With the high- moving product on display (vintage-dated wines remain in the resort’s massive cellar), The Phoenician has made retail relatable, without compromising value. “By moving our inventory to front of house, we’ve taken the mystery out of it.” A veritable working cellar and tasting room in one, Grape & Grain also features sommelier hours, during which guests and passersby can come in and speak directly to the resort’s world-class staff (30 registered Sommeliers are available), asking questions and getting pairing suggestions from the likes of Gregory himself. “I’m in here all the time,” laughs the affable man. “From James Beard Award–winning chefs to chocolatiers, all of the things we provide at The Phoenician are available through Grape & Grain—not just the products, but also the people.” 36 / the tasting panel / october 2010

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