The catalyst for starting this blog about my experiences in the wine & restaurant world was this NY Times article in which Sanford Weill calls for the break-up of those “too big to fail” banks. Reading this article brought back the memory of the original deal in which Sandy Weill and John Reed agreed to create the first “too big to fail” Bank, a little company named CitiGroup. I was in the room during that deal, serving fairly expensive wines to them and their bankers, executives and others at a little wine dinner in the Wine Cellar of The ’21’ Club.
That was 1998, I was the Sommelier there until February 2000 and had some amazing experiences with both celebrity people and celebrity wines. With the Merger Dinner of Travelers Group and CitiCorp, the wines were nothing unusual which was typical for such dinners. The wines ranged in list price from $90 to $200 a bottle. These where the price point of the wines I would choose for guests booking the Cellar Room for dinner. The cost was $450 a person and that included five courses paired with wine chosen by the Sommelier. Typically such corporate merger events used wines that were priced in a fashion that is neither cheap nor ostentatious. This was not the case for other dinners and events. Often the celebration of a holiday for a successful company or an IPO would create far more interesting discussions about wine selections.