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Earth, Wine And Fire... and Wine Lists

Shall we explore the world of restaurant wine lists, while interpolating the badassness of Earth Wind & Fire in the process?

What the hell, why not?

First, we can establish the baddassness of EWF right away - that's easy: They funked, singing harmonies in octaves that would require most people to otherwise suck helium to achieve, all the while dancing in reflective costumes with capes. If that's not badass, then I don't kow what badass is.

What brings EWF to mind (in other words, what the f--k does this have to do with wine)?

I recently did a restuarant wine pairing review of a new wine list concept at nearby Teikoku for West Chester PA foodie website WC Dish. According to the Teikoku website (bolded items highlighted by me):

"For millennia, many eastern cultures have embraced the notion that five fundamental elements govern all aspects of life and environment. Though these elements appear in many forms, the most common are Earth, Water, Fire, Wind & Sky. At Teikoku we believe that wine can be represented by these elements as well. Keep in mind that our wines are not arranged according to conventional methods. We have selected a more transcendent form of organization. Perhaps our philosophy will offer you a unique perspective on your dining experience."
I found the wine choices to be quite well done, and in some cases even inspired, with very good by-the-glass selections reflecting quite a bit of the diversity in today's wine market (Spanish Rose, Torrontes, Carmenere, etc.).

But it's the Elemental wine concept that obviously stands out as unique. I've seen many, many styles of restaurant wine lists, from the stuffy and mundane "By Region" to wine flights inspired by a wine's palate weight, proces or even just fun, semi-random themes. But this is a different take entirely.

Teikoku's list certainly brings the Earth Wind & Fire funkiness. The trouble is, I'm not sure it actually helps anyone navigate the wine list any better than a more traditional method.

Some of us might feel a need to be more "grounded" on a particular day and gravitate towards the Earth (get it?) theme wines... but I can imagine many others looking at the Earth heading and wondering if the wine is going to taste like a mouthful of dirt.

But... you've got to give props to Teikoku for what they're trying to do. Unless you think they're trending towards the gimmicky side.
What do you think? Are they bringing the funk with this kind of wine list? Or are they just wearing the silver jumpsuits and capes?

Which got me thinking, Are other restaurants doing this? Will we see a more progressive trend towards different wine list presentations? And if we do, will these help the consumer? Or just confuse them even more?
Let me know YOUR thoughts!
Let's Groove, baby!


(images: 1WineDude.com, associatedentertainment.com)


Anonymous said...

I confess: I will not clik on that video, for fear that Ba-de-yah will ring in my head all day....
Did check out the list, though, and agree that it is not necessarily any more helpful than other formats. If they had taken the wine descriptions into that "spiritual" tone as well, then maybe.... but that would mean people would have to really r-e-a-d the list, which is no fun when you're out to dinner with normal people.

Credit for trying something different though, and if their waitstaff can back it up and talk the talk, then good for them.

John and Lisa Howard-Fusco said...

Now I have 'September' stuck in my head. Not the worst thing in the world, mind you. - John

Anonymous said...

Super fun post, as always! Cheers!


Joe Roberts said...

Thanks, everyone!

I do think that Teikoku and Heather & Matt are to be commended for trying something new. It's through experiments like this that the restaurant industry can really get to better & better ways to connect with wine consumers.

That, and playing funky-ass tunes during dinner.


Anonymous said...


I'm not sure about this. Some restaurants and a few retailers in ATL have tried stuff like this, and it is often more confusing than helpful.

Just instead of the elemental stuff- they'll use emotional bunk like "Sensual Reds" "Confident Whites" "Playful Pinks".... This makes me want to barf ; )

Dig the EWF stuff. I've met Sonny a number of times here in the ATL. Sick drummer.


Joe Roberts said...

Dirty! My man!

Thanks. You met Sonny? You live a charmed life down there, bro!

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