August 12, 2010
Jam Club Meeting
4:30 to 6:00 pm in the audio studio
Responding to the Oil Spill with Art
As frustration builds over the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, art is becoming an outlet for some trying to understand, process, and cope with the environmental disaster. From designers rebranding the BP logo to artists who are creating paintings and sculptures inspired by the oil spill, the responses are only natural, according to Beth Remsburg, Graphic Design Instructor at The Art Institute of Indianapolis.
“Artists and designers are very passionate people,” she says. “When something motivates us to act, we do. There are certain events that tug at our souls; our very being.”
As the months have gone by since the spill began, millions of gallons of oil have flooded the Gulf of Mexico, killing and injuring birds, marine animals, and other wildlife. Estimates show more than 1,200 birds have died along with more than 400 sea turtles and about 50 mammals. The oil has washed up on shorelines in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida.
Artists say that creating works reflective of the oil spill can be one way to feel more empowered in the face of an overwhelming disaster that keeps getting worse.
“It’s hard not to be impacted by the scope of this devastation whether or not you have an appreciation for the arts,” says artist and sculptor Michael T. Boroniec.
Boroniec has created a collection of pieces titled “Crude Awakening” that includes terra cotta sculptures of birds covered in oil and a silk screened American flag portrayed by motor oil on canvas.
“I was particularly struck by the all-consuming feeling of the environment being damaged and habitat that may never recover being destroyed,” he says. “Feelings motivate art and elicit passion in my work. Realizing the magnitude of this crisis was a call to action — to express my outrage and pain for what is transpiring in the Gulf through my art.”
Artists are also demonstrating their outrage in a more direct way — by recreating the BP logo. Greenpeace and LogoMyWay have each sponsored a contest for designers to create a new logo for BP that is reflective of the oil spill.
Part of the contest brief at LogoMyWay.com reads: “I can’t tell you how frustrated and upset we are about BP and how they are handling this oil disaster…. I think the (6,000) creative logo designers at LogoMyWay should update the BP logo with a more suitable design and brand.”
Designers have responded. The site has pages and pages of results ranging from dead fish and birds to skulls. Remsburg says she is not surprised to see so many artists and designers responding to the crisis with art.
“We feel compassion for the people and wildlife that is affected by something that makes no sense,” she says. “We feel anger and even outrage at irresponsibility and greed.”
Through social networking and the internet, artists are sharing their work with more people than ever. From the fake BP public relations Twitter account to special reports from the Gulf on YouTube, people, including artists, are taking to the web to express their disbelief, frustration, and disgust with the oil spill. Remsburg says the technology and applications are providing unprecedented exposure to individuals’ messages.
“At no other time in the history of the world can one small voice be heard around the world — literally,” she says.
It is difficult to predict how long the environmental disaster will continue to inspire artwork, Remsburg says. Artists, like anyone else, can be easily distracted and move on to something else for inspiration, she points out.
“I hope that the response continues and grows because unfortunately the impact of this will last for generations,” she adds.
Boroniec hopes his pieces will help people remember the oil spill and the devastation it has caused. That’s why he’s still working on his collection.
“By adding to the work, I can keep it current and keep the public focused on this crisis and the ongoing nature of the devastation that is occurring,” he says. “This ongoing expression through art makes it far less likely that people will soon forget the damage that is being done and the magnitude of what is occurring.”
Read the entire article HERE
Designing the Look on the Cover of Books
Go ahead and judge a book by its cover — artists work hard at designing book covers to make them eye catching, representative of the story, and something that will grab the consumers’ attention.
“A poor cover can make or break whether … a book gets featured in an article or even placed in a prime selling spot in the stores,” says Christy Moeller-Masel, a designer and 1991 graduate of the Visual Communications program at The Art Institute of Colorado.
The cover also can be key, she adds, to a “buyer actually picking it up to read it in the first place.”
As with so many things, first impressions are extremely important with books. Packaging makes a difference to consumers, so book cover artists take different approaches to creating the best possible design.
“I work incredibly close with authors, editors, and publishers,” says designer Dave Carleson. “In my personal experience, the more you try to work as a team the better the end product will be.”
Carleson is a 1994 graduate of The Art Institute of Seattle in the Visual Communications program. He illustrated the Bill the Warthog Mystery Series for Legacy Press. He says a good working relationship with others involved in the publications, as well as freedom use his own imagination, make for the best projects.
“I know a project is going to be fun and turn out well when an editor has a solid idea of the general layout but leaves most of the rest up to me,” he adds.
“Often times, what an author thinks is the best representation of a book is not as marketable as other imagery,” she explains. “If I am working directly with an author, I usually show them both a version of their vision and a few of my own.”
Moeller-Masel takes a similar approach to publisher suggestions, saying she tries to present a range of cover possibilities. A key goal with the design and typography, she adds, is to give the book a fresh look.
“If the design is outdated, the customer will assume the book is outdated as well,” says Moeller-Masel, who runs her own independent publishing company called Creepy Little Productions.
Breaking into the book cover business isn’t always easy, designers say.
“It was difficult to begin with, but the key is to find your niche,” says Moeller-Masel. “Mine happens to be independent publishers. I started by attending local publisher meetings and getting to know the publishers in my area.”
Dan Henderson, Illustration Department Chair at The Art Institute of Atlanta, says that aspiring illustrators should try to get more exposure by sending their work into annual competitions like the Communication Arts Illustration Annual, the Print Regional Annual, and Spectrum: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art.
“The most important thing is to be seen,” advises Henderson. “Sending direct mail promotional pieces to the design departments of publishers is a good follow-up. There’s lots of competition, so you have to persist and stand out from the crowd.”
While designers say there are no hard and fast rules for which designs stand out from the crowd, they agree that some bad designs wind up on store shelves.
“I think the worst ones I have seen are just ones that use the straight type without any thought to how it could be different,” Moeller-Masel says. “A book’s title is like a logo and should be designed rather than just typed out. It needs to have a recognizable feel that can be used separate from the rest of the book cover for other promo material.”
There are some rules of thumb when it comes to book covers. In general, certain types of books, like cookbooks, will have photographic covers while science fiction and other types tend to have illustrated covers. But such rules should not hamper an illustrator’s creativity, designers say.
“I think some of the best covers are the ones that go against the normal ‘guideline.’ Design should never have rules,” says Moeller-Masel. “The rule breakers are usually the ones to become trend setters.”
There is one rule of the book business, though, that can trump all the successes or failings of a particular cover design.
“Some books sell due to the reputation of the author, in which case the cover design may be ultimately less important,” Henderson points out.
Read the entire article HERE
Start your creative career at The Art Institute of Portland!
The Art Institute of Portland offers programs in Advertising, Design Management, Design Studies, Design Visualization, Graphic Design, Industrial Design, Interior Design, Apparel Accessory Design, Apparel Design, Fashion Marketing, Digital Film & Video, Game Art & Design, Media Arts & Animation, Visual Effects & Motion Graphics, Visual & Game Programming, Web Design & Interactive Media, Culinary Arts, Baking & Pastry, and Culinary Management.
Summer classes start July 12th, 2010 - it’s not too late to enroll!
Are you a current AiPD student who plans to take 4 or more classes this summer? You could be eligible to win a $1,000 AiPD Summer Scholarship!
Simply register for 12 or more on-ground credits for Summer Term 2010 by 5pm on Friday, June 25 and complete your Summer Scholarships application by 5pm on Wednesday, June 30 and you could be on your way to a scholarship this summer.
Applications are available in the Student Financial Services Office on the 2nd floor.
Questions? Contact Chrissy Purcell: firstname.lastname@example.org or 503.382.4856.
International Comic-Con Unleashes Future Comic Book Superstars
Action-movie fans wanting to experience the blockbuster success of Iron Man 2 can head into any North American multiplex this summer to see what Hollywood’s superhero du jour is up to.
But for true comic-book aficionados craving a glimpse of the blockbuster superstars of the future, the International Comic-Con in San Diego on July 22 through 25 is the place to be. Now in its 41st year, San Diego Comic-Con International attracts over 100,000 people, making it the largest comic book and pop culture expo in the world.
Adi Granov, the conceptual illustrator who designed the Iron Man 2 lead character and several of the film’s supporting characters, got his start in the comic book industry by attending International Comic-Con in 2000, armed with an incredible portfolio and a graphic design degree from The Art Institute of Seattle. The overwhelming popularity of comic-book superheroes on the big screen means artists like Granov can witness their creativity across popular culture, thanks in part to cross-branding campaigns like IM2’s $100 million marketing budget and 11 advertising partners.
“It’s satisfying to see my work everywhere,” says Granov, who began working on the Iron Man character for Marvel in 2003 and served as suit consultant on 2008’s Iron Man. “I just saw a Burger King commercial with Iron Man, which is my Iron Man. It’s surreal to see.”
Granov’s last appearance at International Comic-Con was in 2008, when he promoted Iron Man, signing memorabilia alongside the film’s director Jon Favreau and star Robert Downey Jr.
Granov hasn’t always worked in the comic-book industry; after graduating from The Art Institute of Seattle in 1998, he began his illustration career as a concept designer for Nintendo. Granov recommends anyone interested in working in the comic book industry make a pilgrimage to Comic-Con International in San Diego at least once.
“Any convention where big companies send editors is a good place to find work,” says Granov, adding that he earned work on a comic book short story from Humanoids Publishing after showing them his portfolio at International Comic-Con 2000. “Because San Diego is the biggest convention for comics in the world, it’s the best place to go to meet people.”
Bob Hanon, now an animation and drawing instructor at The Art Institute of California – San Diego, got his start in the comic book business at an industry convention as well. He attends International Comic-Con every year, and suggests students attend the convention’s portfolio reviews not only for job opportunities, but to hear feedback from respected professionals.
“The San Diego Comic-Con is one of the top three conventions in the U.S. that every industry will go to and be represented,” Hanon says, adding that every San Diego hotel is already booked for the week of Comic-Con. “Hollywood doesn’t have far to go, and they’re willing to put on a huge show for this.”
For example, Hanon recalls Comic-Con 2001, when Paramount Pictures staged a jaw-dropping promotion for Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. The studio flew the movie’s star Angelina Jolie in on a helicopter, then dropped her into the convention.
Another instructor at The Art Institute of California – San Diego, Asa Enochs, has seen Comic-Con International evolve significantly since its early days.
“Comic-Con is an interesting beast,” says Enochs, who recently wrote his master’s thesis on comic books. “It’s more about pop culture and entertainment than comics.”
Enochs points to the physical layout of Comic-Con as the most obvious evolution of the show. Whereas Comic-Con used to position small comic book retailers on the main showroom floor, today’s comics sellers are pushed to the side. The movie creators are now the primary focus of Comic-Con, Enochs says.
And that change is evident in the relationship between Hollywood and the comic book industry in general, he says. Enochs cites a company called Radical Entertainment, which creates short runs of comics for the sole purpose of trying out new comic identities to sell to film studios.
“They’re using comics as a format because it’s cheaper than using something else,” Enochs says. “It’s about creating the intellectual property to sell to Hollywood.”
Vincent Zurzolo, the chief operating officer for both Metropolis Collectibles and ComicConnect.com, has seen the comic book world change in many ways since he began dealing in the industry in the 1980s. At that time, comic book production underwent a huge boom, then bust, but hasn’t yet returned to its peak levels of the early- to mid-1990s.
Today, comic books are usually printed in small print runs in the tens of thousands, Zurzolo says. But the internet has helped to drive sales of vintage and new comic books – some at record prices. For Zurzolo, the big sales prove the future of comic books is in good hands.
“Vintage comic books will continue to increase in popularity,” Zurzolo says, adding that he expects to see the comic book art form integrated into major art museums, not just Hollywood studios. “Certain genres will fall out of favor, but mainstream superheroes and classic artists and writers from the past 70 years will continue to be highly appreciated.”
Read the entire article HERE
June 1, 2010
From Classical Greeks to Computer Geeks: How Poets, Book Artists and Animators Shape Time & Space with Visible Language
4:45 - 5:45 pm, Room 263
Marilyn Zornado, Ai Instructor, will give a visual presentation of her these for Master of Fine Arts, Computer Animation from Miami International University of Art & Design, & show a sneak preview of the short animated film she created in the program: “SPRING LINES: Poets Celebrate Spring”
Saturday, May 22 2010
Check-in: 11:00 AM
Event runs until 2:00 PM
1122 NW Davis, Portland, OR 97209
At The Art Institute of Portland’s Open House, you will be able to:
Learn more about all of our programs,
Tour our facilities and get a feel for our school,
Speak with current students, faculty, and admissions staff,
Learn about student services, scholarships, grants, and financial aid (available to those who qualify),
The Open House event is your chance to spend your day celebrating creativity and the many future doors your talent can open. We believe that inspiration is an everyday occurrence. If you are looking for a place to be inspired, look no further; we can take your natural abilities and shape them into so much more.
We offer programs in the following areas:
CULINARY * DESIGN * FASHION * MEDIA ARTS
AiPD Creative Arts Scholarship - Apply NOW for Funds - Deadline May 27, 2010!
If you are a current student enrolled in a degree program at the Art Institute of Portland with financial need and at least a 3.0 cumulative grade point average (CGPA), you may be eligible for up to $5,000 in Creative Arts Scholarship funds! Applications are available in the Student Financial Services Office - don’t hesitate to complete your application and miss out on this amazing opportunity!
If you have any questions, please contact Chrissy Purcell via email at email@example.com or via telephone at 503.382.4856.
Art Student Volunteers Use Talents to Help Others
When staff members at Lowcountry Food Bank were searching for volunteers to lend a hand at their annual Chef’s Feast fundraising gala last year, they called on The Art Institute of Charleston.
Culinary students and faculty from the school supported the cause by preparing and serving meals. Design students also volunteered – they painted a mural at a new Lowcountry Food Bank facility as a tribute to the nonprofit organization, which offers hunger relief resources and services. It was an impressive display of “art at work,” says D. Jermaine Husser, Executive Director of Lowcountry Food Bank.
“We are fortunate to have the Art Institute of Charleston in our community,” Husser says. “The students come from all over the country, and bring to our organization various talents, gifts, and intellect to help us improve the human condition of all our clients.”
The food bank story provides just a few examples of how students majoring in a variety of artistic disciplines are volunteering their skills and talents. At schools such as The Art Institutes, volunteerism is encouraged as a positive way for students to express themselves creatively.
“We definitely have a mindset that giving back is the right thing to do and we want students to be connected to the Charleston community,” shares Paige Canaday Crone, public relations director at The Art Institute of Charleston. “While they are helping our community, they are building on their work skills.”
Crone says that in addition to the Chef’s Feast gala and the mural, students at her school have volunteered for events ranging from fashion shows to art exhibition fundraisers.
“At (Charleston) Fashion Week, the photography students were in the photographer’s pit with international professional photographers,” Crone offers. “The interior design students designed the press lounge, and fashion and retail management students interned year-long with the Fashion Week staff. So, volunteering can offer a lot of experience that is relevant to careers.”
Web Raising is another volunteering event that gives art and design students an opportunity to hone their professional skills. Offered at various Art Institute school locations, it challenges student volunteers to develop a website for a local nonprofit organization and launch the site during the Web Raising event. The activity is reminiscent of the old-fashioned barn raising, an event where a community comes together to assemble a barn for one of its households. During Web Raising, students tackle situations they could encounter in the workplace.
“Web Raising is a really great way for students to gain valuable experience,” says Griffin Walker, a Web Design and Interactive Media instructor at The Art Institute of Portland. He serves as an advisor for the Web Raising project at the Portland school.
“We get a full range of students — from sophomore to senior levels — so there is a lot of mentoring in these events with the experienced students helping the inexperienced students,” Walker adds.
The Web Raising event is the culmination of months of hard work.
“Each year, we get inquiries from nonprofits asking us to help them with their web presence either by redesigning a site that does exist or producing a new site,” explains Ameeta Jadav, department chair of Web Design and Interactive Media at The Art Institute of Atlanta and Web Raising advisor. “We do a preliminary requirements analysis and if we feel students can handle the request, we choose the nonprofit.”
Volunteers are divided into teams and experience a crash course in teamwork and customer relations. Since each nonprofit has different web goals and resources, teams must provide maintainable interactive solutions for their assigned organization.
Both Walker and Jadav say their Web Raising projects have supported a wide range of non-profit organizations.
“In total, we have worked with 84 organizations since 1999. We have worked with arts organizations, organizations that work with the homeless or those that help women or children,” Jadav says of Web Raising at The Art Institute of Atlanta.
Sometimes alumni come back to volunteer for Web Raising by serving as consultants to the student teams. Alicia Scarborough, an alumna of The Art Institute of Atlanta, participated in Web Raising as a student and has continued to volunteer after graduating. Now working as a user interface developer at Moxie Interactive in Atlanta, she knows firsthand how volunteer work can pay off in the workplace.
“Deadline, that is one of the most important things we learn as well as customer satisfaction,” she says.
Scarborough’s views are similar to those of Topher Kohan, also an alumnus of The Art Institute of Atlanta.
“I took part in Web Raising all four years I was at The Art Institute of Atlanta,” says Kohan, a search engine optimization coordinator for CNN.com. “I saw a direct effect of giving my time and knowledge to help others. I know what it can do for the people I am helping and also how that can help me be better at what I do.
“Now I find time to volunteer whenever I can.”
Read the entire article HERE
DIY Interior Design: A Trend for the Future?
With so many television shows teaching viewers how-to tips and techniques for home renovations, it’s no surprise that more people are turning to do-it-yourself interior design tools. Using free web software, in-store demonstrations, and even magazine clippings, DIY neophytes are embracing their creativity and pinching their pennies when it comes to changing up their living spaces.
It’s a trend that professional interior designers both admire and debate. While DIY projects allow individuals to unleash their imagination in new ways, some projects are simply too large or complex to be undertaken without professional guidance.
Michele Boggs, an interior design instructor at The Art Institute of Indianapolis and owner of MB Designs, believes that while popular DIY shows make for great TV, they can present unrealistic views of the design industry. “These outlets tend to make people believe design is easy and that anyone can do it,” she states.
She relates the story of her college professor, who noted that while anyone could “decorate,” design was the result of talent and education. But today’s economic climate is forcing many to forego trained designers in an attempt to get the biggest decorating bang for the buck.
“People who haven’t been able to sell their houses are staying in their homes, just re-doing them. They are able to save money and sometimes receive quick results by doing the work themselves,” says Boggs. And many of these people are turning to online sites for guidance and inspiration.
Icovia, Ladies Home Journal Arrange-a-Room, and Google SketchUp are some of the popular destinations for DIY interior designers. Boggs is particularly impressed with Google SketchUp, a free downloadable program that allows anyone to create and view interior spaces in 3D. “I had one client actually design their basement, before they hired me and put it in Google SketchUp,” she states. “(The client) hired me to help with the selections, but they handled the construction part of the project. Their basement ended up very nice and they wanted to handle the project themselves to save money.” She cites this collaboration as a great example of mixing DIY and professional services to create a well designed finished product.
Major retailers have noted the DIY movement and adjusted in-store programming and website applications to offer more hands-on options. “Stores such as Pottery Barn are cashing in on the DIY trend. They offer decorating classes, advertise these events, and allow people to come into their stores and teach them how to decorate tables for entertaining. It’s brilliant marketing,” notes Boggs. Home Depot’s Home Improver Club also teaches a number of DIY courses. And Lowe’s offers Build and Grow clinics to start even junior DIY-ers on the path to creative greatness.
Michael Hampton, Principal of Michael Hampton Design in Washington, D.C., believes that the attention DIY shows and programs have brought to interior design has been extremely positive. “I have really noticed over the last decade that good design has become more accessible to the public with stores like Restoration Hardware, Pottery Barn, and Williams Sonoma Home, to name a few, [that] have created this almost perfect image of what home can be.”
But he cautions that the pristine homes shown in magazines and on TV are often the work of professional interior designers. “Most people don’t realize how much work and planning goes into designing a house and its interiors. It is easy for it to look like it was seemingly effortless and easy to achieve (on TV),” he states.
Although Hampton believes it’s a bonus that good design has become more accessible and affordable, he urges caution when turning to a computer program or 3-hour course as the backbone to a home decorating project. “Computer programs for DIY-ers are very limiting and barely touch upon all that is involved. One has to think of the scale of furniture, the quality of light, the architecture, and so many other things a computer program just can’t do,” he emphasizes. “A computer, no matter how sophisticated, cannot replace the human eye.”
It’s a belief shared by Scott Fazzini, Domicidal Maniac interior designer. Fazzini, a 2002 interior design graduate from The Art Institute of Pittsburgh, has seen an increase in the number of clients bringing more information into initial meetings — everything from magazine clippings to textiles, paint samples, and floor plans. He attributes the DIY revolution to a can-do attitude that’s been inspired by tough economic times and the easy accessibility of interior design related media.
While Fazzini finds many of the DIY computer programs to be rather time consuming, he believes they can produce fine results when used in conjunction with a trained professional. “A good interior designer will help to understand your space and to manipulate it if and when necessary. There are so many secondary factors to take into account when designing a room such as color, textures, materials, lighting, and efficiency,” he states. These are elements that cannot always be adequately represented or considered by a computer program.
He adds that if money is the issue in considering the DIY route, consumers may find that a professional designer is able to provide solutions that fit within a tight budget. “When you hire a good, honest, and thoughtful interior designer he or she will inform you of the most vital places where you should spend more time and money, and also inform you of the areas where you might be able to do something on your own and save some money.”
The Art Institute of Indianapolis instructor Michele Boggs backs up Fazzini’s notion regarding DIY cost-effectiveness, especially for people who want to express their creativity. But she emphasizes that it’s important to hire a trained and licensed professional when possible. “When clients handle their own design projects, designers give up control and that can cause many problems. A designer will make sure things are going right and if something happens, we are there to fix any issue.”
She also mentions that DIY is not for everyone. Projects can be much more difficult or take far more time than anticipated to complete. “Be aware of unrealistic time frames that the television shows give. And be careful when taking on big projects. In the long run, it could cost more if you don’t hire a professional.”
Learn more about DIY design on these websites:
Ladies Home Journal Arrange-a-Room
This Old House
Read the entire article HERE
In April, high school seniors from across the U.S. and Canada competed in Best Teen Chef Local Cook-off Competitions at participating International Culinary Schools at The Art Institutes locations throughout North America including The International Culinary School at The Art Institute of Portland.
Beating out four competitors, Genaro Vargas has been named The International Culinary School at The Art Institute of Portland’s Best Teen Chef for 2010.
The Art Institutes created the Best Teen Chef competition in 2000 to encourage and recognize young culinary talent. According to Chef Ken Rubin, Culinary Director, “The Best Teen Chef competition sets the stage for aspiring culinary professionals to show their passion and commitment for the culinary industry. I want to thank all of the contestants for their outstanding ability to work under pressure and produce deliciously crafted food. We stand ready to provide an outstanding educational experience that will serve them as their career flourishes.”
Learn more about The Art Institute of Portland: www.artinstitute-portland.com
The Art of Ordering Wine
When it comes to ordering wine, it’s easy to feel intimidated. Chablis or Shiraz? What’s the difference between Pinot Grigio and Pinot Noir? Which entrée is best matched with a Chianti, a Cabernet, or a Chardonnay?
“Wine is very complicated,” says Jamie Kluz, a 2009 Culinary Arts graduate of The Illinois Institute of Art — Chicago. “Some places have incredibly long wine lists that can sometimes be a bit overwhelming.”
Part of the problem is that ordering wine involves multiple languages. Tim Gaiser, Education Director for The Court of Master Sommeliers Americas, says there are more than 1,000 fine wine grapes grown around the world and about 75,000 wines produced each year. With those numbers, customers new to the wine ordering experience don’t stand a chance.
“If you’re a consumer trying to figure out [the] language and you have your own set of favorites, you can use those as a benchmark for comparison,” says Gaiser, whose group promotes excellence in hotel and restaurant beverage service. “But once you wander outside of your comfort zone, you need help.”
Such wanderers will find plenty of help at restaurants. Servers, sommeliers, and even wine buyers can guide customers to the best wine complement for meals of chicken or beef, as well as those for dessert.
Tips on how best to link wines with food can be helpful even to those with discerning palates.
“I used to do the same thing — pass the wine list to the person next to me and hope they knew what they were doing,” Kluz says, “because while I knew what I liked, I didn’t have the faintest idea sometimes about what food to have with it.”
All of those varieties and pairing possibilities can be too much even for aficionados when ordering wine.
“Most people don’t understand the flavors and differences in wine,” says Joe LaVilla, Senior Academic Director for three culinary programs at The International Culinary School at The Art Institute of Phoenix. “It’s like trying to learn the names, relationships, and personalities of a football stadium worth of people all at once. Most people find one thing they like and then stick with it, but we would never do that with food.”
As with food on a menu, establishments can place wines in an order that would suggest one over another, or guide customers to certain pairings of food and wine. But restaurants aren’t trying to rip off customers by doing so, Gaiser says.
It’s more important, Gaiser says, for customers to consider value than price when ordering wine — especially in a tight economy.
“Obviously there’s an inherent part of any job in a restaurant that is to up-sell,” he adds. “If you’re selling someone a bottle of wine, that’s part of your job. [But] if someone shows interest and you know of a better wine that costs more, you recommend it.”
Sometimes consumers struggle to spot the best value.
If servers first direct customers to a high-priced wine, and then show middle and low–end bottles, customers usually order the wine from the middle category, Kluz says.
“There is a perception of poor quality in lower-priced wines that just isn’t accurate,” he continues. “Though often times the mark-up on the highest priced is the lowest, so sometimes you’re getting a good deal on something rather extravagant.”
Customers can get caught up in the prices when ordering wines and try to impress others with what they order. LaVilla says these “status seekers” can be easy to spot — especially when they turn the bottle so that neighboring diners can see the label.
“They order wine based on the reviews in magazines, or on the boutique nature of the business, not the quality of the wine or their personal taste,” he says. “They want to show off that they know ‘good wine.’”
Kluz says a similar phenomenon occurred with Pinot Noir once the movie Sideways became popular. After people heard the buzz about the film, they began ordering the wine more and more.
“It is one of the more difficult and expensive grapes to grow, which is why a decent bottle usually costs around $30,” she says. “If you find a Pinot from South America at $12 a bottle, chances are it’s not the same wine that created all of the hype in Sideways.”
The best advice, those in the wine industry agree, is to ask and trust the restaurant employees when it comes to ordering wine. And diners should remember why they chose the restaurant – for the food it offers.
“People should spend more time thinking about the entrée they are going to order than they do the bottle of wine,” Kluz points out. “Wine is sort of like an expensive condiment — the fancy ketchup, if you will. It’s meant to enhance what you’re eating, not steal the show.”
Read the entire article HERE