Finding a way to market your wine program as a luxury hotel brand isn’t easy, given the competition. Sofitel decided this fall, however to go French for six weeks, unveiling its annual Sofitel Wine Days events that coincides with the traditional French harvest period.
This year Sofitel partnered with 2004 Worldwide Best Sommelier Enrico Bernardo to offer guests his selections and guidance from September 21 to October 31, 2015, in Sofitel hotels throughout the U.S. and Canada.
As the 2015 Sofitel Wine Days ambassador and spokesperson, Bernardo helped spearhead a two-part Sofitel "Art of Wine" about wine perception around the world for 2015, and wine consumption in 2016, commissioned by the French Institute of Public Opinion (IFOP) with responses from seven countries including Australia, Brazil, China, France, India, Russia and U.S. As ambassador and spokesperson for the program, Bernardo curated an editorial for the brand's Sofitel Wine Days booklet available for guests in Sofitel hotels around the world.
"When I first started in this business 20 years ago, many countries were not in the habit of drinking wine. Today it is thrilling to see how wine is so appreciated by people around the world," said Bernardo. "As the world of wine expands, France has maintained a leadership position and remains a powerful reference in our minds - and on our palates - for fine, quality wine. In the years to come, I believe that France will keep this position and continue to provide ever-higher quality wines that consumers will enjoy around the world, thanks to events such as Sofitel Wine Days.”
Sofitel Wine Days celebrations range from exclusive dinners with French winemakers to wine appreciation classes and wine-based cocktail nights. Guests in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Miami and Montreal had access to an array of events - Sofitel New York celebrates with "From Grapes to Wines," self-education classes and weekly "Wine Hours;" in Los Angeles, guests experience weekly wine pairing menus that incorporate North American wines, Champagne and French wines at the hotel's newly renovated restaurant, Esterel and garden patio, Le Jardin; in Chicago, prix fixe menus at Café des Architectes and "White vs. Red" specials, including an appetizer and a choice of French and American Chardonnay or Pinot Noir, and the hotel will welcome guests with Champagne at check-in on every Friday from 4:00-6:00 p.m.
In Washington, D.C., events include a Veuve Clicquot Champagne dinner, and a Valrhona wine pairing class. In Philadelphia, the program started with the Sofitel French Wine Fair, featuring hors d'oeuvres and a specialty cheese station.
"Sofitel is honored to share the exciting new Sofitel Wine Days program with the world, and to work with such a prestigious figure as Enrico Bernardo," said Fabrice Blondeau, Vice President of Global Food & Beverage for AccorHotels Luxury & Upscale Brands. "Wine plays a defining role in French culture and savoir-faire - concepts that are at the very heart of Sofitel's 'art de vivre.' We look forward to bringing the elegance and excitement of this tradition to life in 2015."