The Tasting Panel magazine

September 2012

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Page 42 of 132

LAS VEGAS Erin Gleason by the Enomatic at The Hostile Grape at M Resort, Las Vegas. Label-Driven Tasting W SOMMELIER ERIN GLEASON MAKES WINE A VISUAL EXPERIENCE AT THE HOSTILE GRAPE AT M RESORT by Allyson Siwajian / photo by Deacon Tyler ithin the proficient care of Las Vegas sommelier Erin Gleason, wine tasting at The Hostile Grape Wine Cellar, Bar and Tasting Room in M Resort has graduated beyond flavorful and olfactory experiences to include visual cues and interaction with brands' labels. In this hip, underground venue, where wine bottles are esthetically showcased in Enomatic tasting machines, guests may walk the eclectic cellar floor, select wines to sample and press buttons that pour either one, three or five ounces into their glasses. "It's so visual," Gleason says, "they don't have to look at a wine list to pick the wine that they want. They can look at every bottle." As The Hostile Grape's Head Sommelier, Erin Gleason loves to experience the world through wine. But she has also traveled the globe beyond beverages. Gleason has journeyed internationally as a business consultant, and she competed in the 1998 Nagano Olympics with the USA Short Track Speed Skating team. While The Hostile Grape is renowned for its machine- dispensed wines, Gleason also seizes opportunities to engage with guests and deliver customized experiences. "I 42 / the tasting panel / september 2012 can immediately gauge their reaction to a wine and ask them what their experience was with that glass. Then we can pick our next step," Gleason says. "They can get personalized, tailored service from me." Since Gleason devotes time to guests' interactions, she can also accurately gauge which wines to procure and place in The Hostile Grape's rotation. This collection features over 400 international and domestic selections, including The Hostile Grape favorites such as Francis Ford Coppola Blue Diamond Merlot, Merryvale Carneros Chardonnay and upcoming Papapietro Perry Pinot Noir 777 Dijon Clones. As Gleason observes guests gravitating toward certain sta- tions within the three-bay cellar, she discerns which wines will perform well. "We can see which labels people are attracted to," Gleason says. "It's the science of labels and marketing." Through each bottle and brand, wine transports its tasters to another place and tells its tale. With Gleason available to share these stories at The Hostile Grape, all guests have to do is press a button. Then tasting becomes more than flavors, aromas or even visual edge. Wine, as Gleason says, is a "vehicle of experience."

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