The Commonplace Society

Berkeley College Senior Mellon Forum

Wine Stewards

The Wine Stewards of The Commonplace Society of Berkeley College play a central role in the society. Together they kick off our year each presenting an enriching PowerPoint presentation at the first official meeting of the society to educate members on all things wine: how it’s made, what type of grapes are used, where it is grown, how to drink it, and how to purchase it in stores and restaurants. In addition to the educational content, the presentation is intended to serve as an early example of how to convey information concisely in a ten-minute oral and visual presentation. Together they will prepare a one-page crib sheet to accompany the presentation that will serve as a reference guide on wine for the rest of the year.

Prior to each Society meeting, the Wine Stewards will communicate with the Catering Coordinators in order to select a variety of red and white wines to complement the evening’s meal. The Stewards should make comparative references to earlier wines we’ve tried in order to educate members on the relationship and differences among wines.

The Wine Stewards have full liberty to choose how best to educate the members about the many aspects of wine—tasting, purchasing, regions, grapes, bottling, production. It is important that the Stewards develop a systematic pedagogy for the year. For example, they may elect to serve wines solely from the United States in the fall semester and then to select only wines from France, the following semester. Or, if the steward has a particular love of or knowledge about a certain country or region, they may elect to offer wines from that area throughout the year. Since the purpose of the Berkeley Commonplace Society is to serve as a supportive and festive venue for seniors to share their intellectual and artistic pursuits with their fellow college classmates, the Wine Stewards should remember to pepper their presentations with fun facts about the wine and the area.

Another idea is to collect wine menus from four or five local restaurants and then review them with the sommelier at The Wine Thief to learn how restaurants prepare wine menus and how best to read and order wine from restaurants.

The Wine Thief and Odd Bins in New Haven are excellent locations for purchasing wines. Members of the staff are knowledgeable about a wide variety of wines and they are able and willing to offer useful and anecdotal information. They offer discounts if purchased by the case.

Wine Stewards may place orders using a Berkeley College account, a p-card or submit receipts for reimbursement. In any case, an itemized receipt must be turned in to the Berkeley College Office by 4:30PM on the day after each meeting (Wednesday). For purchases made with personal funds, you can expect to receive a petty cash voucher from the Berkeley College Office within one week of turning in an itemized receipt. You can then take that voucher to the Yale Treasury Services on the corner of Whitney and Grove to exchange it for cash.

The Wine Stewards are also in charge of letting the Artistic Coordinator and Advertising and Communications Coordinator know the names of the wines being served prior to each event. In addition, a short description of each wine needs to be sent to the Artistic Coordinator, also prior to each event, so that the information can be printed on the evening’s program.

As members of the Commonplace Society Leadership Council, the Wine Stewards need to arrive 30 minutes prior to each event in order to help set up the room for the evening. They are in charge of transporting the wine to the Mendenhall Room and chilling the white wines in the North Court kitchen prior to the event.

After the last Commonplace Society meeting in April, the Wine Stewards will give a list of the wines that were presented to the Society to the Commonplace Coordinator.