Terri Baldwin has been in the restaurant industry her whole life; she’s spent the past 25 years at The Bernards Inn in Bernardsville, New Jersey, and she’s not going anywhere. “I landed a homerun job; they created the position for me because they never had a sommelier, so I’ve been the only sommelier ever,” she says. Deanna Gonnella spoke with her about what’s selling this year.
What’s the most noticeable trend affecting wine sales to your New Jersey-based clientele right now?
People are still going crazy over rosé. It’s male and female, and a lot of males are coming in and drinking rosé by the glass. We actually have four of them. We always have at least that many and they are offered year-round. We offer one from the Rhône, one from Provence, one from Argentina and one from Germany—a little different variation.
Surprisingly, in November and December we sold quite a bit of rosé. That’s the beauty of it. You can drink it year-round and I think people are starting to realize that. It’s like any other glass of wine. They drink chardonnay year-round, they drink sauvignon blanc year round… Well, now they are starting to drink rosé year-round.
Your top selling wine was the 2011 Mt. Brave Cabernet from Napa’s Mount Veeder. Aren’t people avoiding the 2011s from Napa?
I’ve known Chris Carpenter [the winemaker] for a long time, and I always support his wines. The 2011 vintage was one of the vintages that got ‘poo-pooed,’ and a lot of people were staying away from it. But the rep brought it to me to try and it was outstanding, so I bought a lot of it.
A pinot grigio from Alto Adige, the 2015 Pietro, was your top by-the-glass wine. Are people brand-conscious or region-conscious when it comes to pinot grigio?
People who like pinot grigio, they don’t ask for the name. They could care less; they don’t ask or care where it’s from. That’s the one varietal that the majority of people don’t focus on. And Prosecco: As long as its brut, people don’t ask what the name is. They know it’s value, and if it’s brut, they know it’s going to be dry and just fine for them.