Jenise wrote:And if Olive Garden is raising the bar....even by a millimeter...for wine appreciation in this country, then I'm all for it.
No argument. But isn't it fair to think that Sam's great experience has far more to do with met a particularly competent employee than it does OG's corporate policy toward selling more wine? I would assume so, by the same token that I don't presume my one poor experience proves that OG is committed to serving burned food.
Oh, sure, Jenise, I agree.
The manager that Sam encountered is a standout--and would be in any organization. But make no mistake that in part the actions of that guy were "vetted" (generally supported by) the corporate organization as good policy.
It is important that OG made a serious committment, within the scope of their context, their price points and their culture, to create a more wine-friendly internal environment. When a company, especially a bottom-line oriented company, which a mega-chain HAS to be, devotes time, money, and infrastructure to promoting employee wine focus, it means one thing: that company is recognizing that their is increased revenue available in appealling to the wine-drinking population, and they are willing to stake their profit on by establishing that identity as part of their marketing focus.
That is a pretty significant change from the past in this country. And it appears to be working (for OG anyway). It's not a novel concept for us here to think of having wine with a meal---but it is for average America, I can assure you. We live in a country where approx. 11% of the people drink about 90% of the wine, remember. (Thanks for doing more than your fair share, by the way, Jenise. )
Many people...many people on this particular site....bemoan the fact that we don't have a "wine culture" blahblahblah. Yet OG makes a significant step in helping to inculcate/build a wine-culture in this country (to be specific, wine as a part of a good meal) at the populist level....and they largely get sneered at by the very people that are always saying they want America to have a wine culture!
Again, I don't dine at OG. Don't like the food, and am less than whelmed by the wine, obviously. But I can still applaud what they are trying to do.