Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Where You Least Expect It--Heaven to Earth, Gillette

My New Year’s resolution was to focus on businesses that promote wine, and though I haven’t posted every week since I began, I really have been trying not to neglect my blogging responsibilities.  Today, I’m focusing on the promotion of wine in a place many may not have necessarily expected it:  a gourmet kitchen store.  I wouldn’t necessarily call myself a “foodie” (only because of time and calorie constraints…hehehe), but I do love interesting and unique foods, both making them and consuming them.  I love so many aspects of kitchen stores and kitchen gadgets.   Most kitchen stores have a wine-related section that has wine tools and glassware.  However, Heaven to Earth in Gillette has taken this sometimes small relationship with wine to a whole new level!  A level I highly appreciate!

Gail and Emerald, owners at Heaven to Earth, approached me some time ago after they had surveyed their customers and found many were interested in wine, so Gail and Emerald were quick to oblige.  The proprietors of this wonderful store quickly came up with the idea to create a wine and food “club” so to speak, where students would first learn the basics of wine (that’s where I came in), and then learn different aspects of food and wine pairing, with monthly sessions that would focus on different foods, wines, and food and wine tools.  Gail and Emerald also wanted to have multiple sessions of the Intro to Wine Class, so that the large numbers of their interested patrons could ensure a date that worked for them.  I put together a class introducing the basics of wine with important terms, wine evaluation techniques, and food pairing basics.  If I do say so myself, I thought my class was first-class.  But even tooting my own horn, the information of my class was nothing compared to the atmosphere Heaven to Earth created for this class!

The tables were covered with black table clothes, set with glasses, Bling and Ty Nant bottled water, gold silverware, fun wine napkins, oyster crackers in artichoke shaped bowls, marinated olives in stoneware dishes, and a beautiful wine journal.   This was only the beginning of the fabulous spread for the evening.  During the tasting of the two white wines that evening, Gail’s kitchen staff served lobster ravioli with alfredo sauce, crusty bread with warm artichoke dip, and fresh vegetables.  With the two red wines, the kitchen presented a mini-cheese plate with hard salami, aged white cheddar, and mixed dried fruits.  The wines were great, and the food was wonderful!  The staff served the tapas portions to customers and made sure water glasses were full all night.  It was better service than I have witnessed in many restaurants.  Beverage Broker of Gillette—which I highly recommend readers check out—provided the wine and had the bottles that we tasted that evening for sale to take home that night.  Of course, Riedel glassware was available for purchase from Heaven to Earth, as well as the wonderful food we had with our wines and the many other gourmet products the store offers.  I left feeling these were the best classes I have taught!

In my quest of promoting wine in my rural area this year, I must remember not to overlook businesses that aren’t directly selling wine but may actually be supporting the wine culture on a whole other level!  Heaven to Earth is doing a fabulous job encouraging the wine industry, and they do it with extraordinary style!  I look forward to the classes I will be teaching there.