Houston's premier gathering spot
The glass is always half full with The Tasting Room at Uptown Park's wine by the glass program
Santa Claus delivers toys to good girls and boys all around the world. The Tasting Room at Uptown Park delivers happiness to their guests through an extensive and well-thought-out wine program, in addition to all their other happiness-inducing areas like lunch, a chef-driven menu, an amazing patio, entertaining events, private rooms and group options.
So it makes sense to say that The Tasting Room at Uptown Park is like a year-round Santa Claus for those over the age of 21.
One of the ways The Tasting Room delivers that happiness to its oenophiliac guests is with an extensive and wide-ranging wine by the glass program, headed up by operating partner and wine buyer Darrin Baumunk.
"We always have a minimum of 30 wines on the actual by-the-glass list at any given time at The Tasting Room at Uptown Park," says Baumunk. "That includes a selection of whites, reds, rosés and bubbly from around the world. Nevertheless, every wine in our inventory is available by the glass and we’ll open any bottle as long as the guest commits to drinking at least two glasses from it."
With the ability to store and serve such a broad, global selection comes different levels of familiarity and pricing. Baumunk's philosophy is giving people what they want. Making sure of that, he includes a breadth of options that covers easily recognizable varietals for those that already know what they like alongside rarer and more exotic wines to entice those feeling more adventurous to branch out and try something new.
Whether it's a popular California cabernet sauvignon or a varietal less heralded in the mainstream, if it's by the glass at The Tasting Room at Uptown Park, it will most likely fall within the range of $5 to $20, according to Baumunk. The fairly large range is due, in part, to the same reasons he cites when choosing the wines by the glass: Some are common and familiar while others are rarer and harder to find.
Just as rare as some of their more exotic wines (if not more so) is a program that The Tasting Room has pioneered in Houston to help people learn more about wines and feel less intimidated to try new things — opening any bottle in house with a two-glass commitment. With this policy and a companion looking to expand their palate and wine horizons as well, essentially every wine is available by the glass at The Tasting Room.
"It's fun for people to take advantage of that," says Baumunk. "It helps people break out of their comfort zone in terms of wine selection. Then, if the guests find something they love, they always can take home a few bottles or a case. "
And just as Santa is checking his naughty or nice list, Baumunk is also busy checking some lists of his own.
"We look at that by-the-glass list every day and try to work on it," says Baumunk. "It changes every day to every week. On a Thursday night, we could easily sell 1,000 glasses of wine. We go through a lot of stemware."