A PILGRIMAGE TO BERN'S STEAKHOUSE WITH ERIC RENAULD
At some point in time every wine lover needs to make the pilgrimage to Tampa, Florida to have dinner at Bern’s Steakhouse, famous for having the world’s largest wine list at over half a million bottles. That’s a mind-boggling collection 56 years in the making.
In this episode of the Podcast I have a conversation with Eric Renaud, the senior sommelier at Bern’s and the man responsible for managing the epic wine program. This podcast, recorded in a dining room at Bern’s, is a step outside of the usual interview with wine production folks. I was in Florida for a family vacation and making a reservation at Bern’s was high on my personal priority list. Being that I had a ton of questions about the wines at Bern’s, I figured that lining up Eric for an interview would be a great way to not only entice him to take time out of his busy schedule on the restaurant floor, but to also share his answers and inside stories with the Inside Winemaking listeners. Eric did not disappoint.
“Bern’s Steakhouse was the largest buyer from Christies in London in the late 60′s and early 70′s. It was like insider trading.”
Eric transitioned from his career as a crew chief and jet mechanic with the Air Force 17 years ago and has been working full time at Bern’s ever since. During the podcast he explains what’s it’s like to sell 200 bottles on a typical weeknight, how he manages 170 wine options by the glass, and the questions he poses to guests in order to steer them to, or away from older bottles. We talk about the great experience I had during my meal as we were “guided” through the evening by our server (a 22-year Bern’s veteran himself) so as not to overdo it before it was time to take the restaurant tour and move upstairs to the desert room.
LINKS AND RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:
Eric’s Bio page on the Bern’s Steakhouse website, including a video of the cellar and the 3L of Latour Eric found by accident.
Bern’s Steakhouse in Tampa, Florida.