|320 Main's new red wine list.|
Change is a scary thing. It can be even scarier when what you want to change is something that you don't feel lies in your wheelhouse.
For years 320 Main has worked tirelessly to build on the strengths of its kitchen and bar staff. The result has been a restaurant which has received accolades for its food and for its cocktails. People come to 320 Main for delicious plates of Americana and refreshing glasses of well-balanced, hand-crafted beverages.
Lost in the shuffle of all of this, unfortunately, was the wine program.
It's interesting to think that 320, known for being at the forefront of good drinking in Orange County, could spend so much time working on a sophisticated and fun bar program, and then neglect the wine program. Of course, in any endeavor, energy put into one facet necessitates some negligence of another. Jason and Rebecca Schiffer both wanted to improve the wine program, but it just seemed “too big to get [our] arms around” while also perfecting cocktails and food.
Enter one George Pavlov.
|320 Main's new white wine list.|
Pavlov is one of Southern California's foremost wine experts. At the recommendation of Forrest Cokely from Hi Time Wine Cellars in Costa Mesa, George and Jason sat down at 320's bar one night. George raved about the great cocktails, but declared the wine list to be in poor shape, stating that if the cocktail program was Beethoven, the wine program was akin to Justin Bieber. Jason and Rebecca asked Pavlov to help elevate the wine program to the level of the cocktail program, and he agreed.
There were a few road bumps along the way. Pavlov is something of a Europhile when it comes to wines. He prefers the European styles of wine which tend to be lighter and even less expensive than the standard American faire. 320 tries to spotlight all things American, and the bar wanted to focus largely on American-made wines. Together, Jason and George set to work on crafting a wine list that focused on American wines made in a more European style: lighter flavors that are more refreshing and better to pair with food.
The final product of their efforts is a wine program that 320 Main can show off with pride. With the exception of a mere four wines from Europe, the entire wine list is comprised of American wines – all “unmolested” by the producer and all produced organically. Says Jason, “I'm very proud of our new wine program.”
Matt “RumDood” Robold is a bartender at 320 Main and, in his spare runs RumDood.com, where he writes about rum, rum cocktails, and rum history.