BROOKFIELD, Wis. -- V. Richard's Market here transformed itself into a market on the Seine for a "Springtime in Paris" wine- and food-tasting celebration late last month.
More than 20 different French wines were tasted during the day-long event, said Brian Miracle, beverage manager at this upscale independent.
"Our wines were poured by the wine vendors that specialize in French wines. We also had traditional French music, and we even had someone dressed like a French peasant handing out flowers to all the ladies," Miracle said.
"The promotion went over very well. We had all the departments in the grocery division sampling French-related foods, whether it be cheese or croissants. It was an interesting day," he said, noting that up to 30 cases of wine were sold, including some "pretty obscure" vintages.
While grocery products were sampled throughout the store, Miracle said, the wine sampling was confined to the unit's large wine department. The store checked identification of anyone who appeared to be 25 or under before allowing them to taste wine.
"Since we have a Class B license we are able to pour on premise. That is rare for Wisconsin, and we are only one of two places allowed to do that," Miracle said, adding that it is not unusual for well-heeled shoppers to be strolling the aisles sipping wine from crystal goblets while selecting their groceries.
Miracle said this is the first time V. Richard's has done a French-themed wine and food festival; last year a Springtime in Italy promotion was conducted.
Other beverages sampled during the Springtime in Paris event were French roast coffees and Oregon Chai, an American version of Indian spiced tea blended with steamed milk.
"We didn't really touch beer at this sampling. It was something we were going to do, but we decided to focus on wines. I could have poured a few French Farmhouse Ales, but I decided to keep it simple and focus on wines," Miracle said.
V. Richard's traditionally conducts at least one sampling event a month, which usually has a cover charge.
July 13 experts from Reidel Crystal, New York, will conduct a wine tasting at V. Richard's, at $65 per person, to demonstrate how wine tastes better in a crystal goblet than a plain wine glass.