Skip the Highball Next Time You're at a Lounge


Rise of the Malbec

Scott Gerber, principal of Gerber Group, explains the surge in popularity of Malbecs among his patrons, and how the recession changed consumers' wine habits.

I think many people presume that when they walk into a sexy lounge they have to order a cocktail, like a gin and tonic or a martini. There’s an immediate assumption that lounges don’t serve qualities wines.

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But wine lovers rejoice.

Scott Gerber, principal of Gerber Group, and arguably one of the influential nightlife proprietors in the world, is trying to change that.

As the founder of 23 iconic venues worldwide like The Whiskey; Whiskey Blue; Living Room; and Stone Rose Lounge, in Manhattan, he frankly has no choice.

As of June 2011, Americans now drink more when than the French. So the demand is there.

And while wine orders are still only about 25% of his business, Gerber is paying attention. He selects light, easy-drinking wines that do not necessarily need food to compliment them. He says the hottest trending red right now is Malbec because customers believe it represents value and quality. “We sell Tierra Secreta Malbec from Mendoza, Argentina.  It’s a great balance of fruit and acidity.”

And the new hot white? Pinot Gris, the American version of Pinot Grigio, that tends to have more body. Gerber sells Etude Pinot Gris, which is actually considered a cult wine at the moment.

So he is trying to stay ahead of the curve.

That’s why adding the Honig Cabernet makes sense too. Honig, a family-owned sustainable farmed winery in California, is the pioneer of the responsible farming movement in the wine-making industry. Customers love that.

Gerber knows what he’s doing. The Gerber Group is credited with opening the first as a ‘hip’ hotel bar with The Whiskey at The Paramount Hotel, in 1991.

The company also has strategic partnerships with Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Host Hotels & Resorts, Accor, W Hotels Worldwide, Sofitel Luxury Hotels, Strategic Hotels & Resorts, Related Companies and Noble Investment Group.

So know that you can walk into any of Gerber’s lounges and skip the highball. Order yourself a fine glass of wine instead.

Cent ‘Anni.

Questions for Our Wine Pro

What is your death row wine? Opus One.What region produces the best wine? Napa Valley, CA.What is the best wine and food pairing you’ve ever had? Opus One and a great burger.

What will the U.S. wine industry look like in 10 years? The U.S. is now the largest consumer of wine, but like Scotch and Bourbon, I think Asia will start importing more U.S. wine. If that happens, U.S. prices may increase and we most likely will start importing more wine from Chile, Spain and Argentina.

What do you think?

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