I’ve known Tim Olson, winemaker and partner of Olson-Ogden wines, for many years. When he learned about my new business venture, he was intrigued and generously offered to help with a beta test for the Winery Chefs recipe development program. Throughout my career, I’ve cultivated a keen sense of what winemakers, marketing executives, and consumers look for in a wine and food pairing. However, even with eight years experience, I continue to take the process seriously and realize there’s always more to learn. As a result, I’ve designed the following program in an effort to dig deeper and focus on the winery’s personality and character of its wines.
I’ve outlined the steps of our beta test below:
discuss the client’s basic wine and food philosophy and determine the purpose of the final recipes
Tim and his business partner John Ogden are in the midst of updating their website as well as developing plans to increase media exposure. And, because they are renowned for producing food-friendly wines, recipes would perfectly complement their marketing content.
administer a Winery Chefs recipe development questionnaire
This is a crucial step in the process as it taps into the winery’s personality as well as the client’s personal feelings on wine and food pairing. The goal of the questionnaire is to find what works for the client and to clarify the message the winemaker wants to convey to the consumer.
As expected, Tim brought the same level of passion he has for winemaking to the questionnaire. The answer to the following question says it all:
Q: How do you see your customer using these recipes?
A: As a basis to experiment from. In my view, food and wine pairings, while an interesting distraction from the demands of daily life, tend to be quite far down on the list of priorities, even for the discerning gourmand. I think more and more people are discovering the joys of staying home and cooking a good meal with a good bottle of wine. But the message is clear: keep it simple and make it fun.
submit potential ideas and recipes to the client
This was a back and forth process, but ultimately a mushroom risotto recipe resonated with Tim. And because the recipe paired well with both his Pinot Noir and Syrah, it also supported Tim’s feeling about the versatility of his wines. The risotto was the perfect choice. It’s simple, fun, seasonal, and as it turned out, pairs perfectly with both wines.
develop the recipe
- Keep track of measurements and procedure.
- Test the recipe with the wines to ensure the pairings work, and make adjustments if needed.
- Test the dish with the client, presenting the final product in a style that best represents the client’s style, brand, and personality.
- Once the dish is approved by the client, type and edit recipe.
- Test recipe again.
professionally photograph the finished product
This step is optional, though I highly recommend it as a beautiful photograph will inspire the consumer to try the recipe for themselves as well as add visual interest to a recipe card, website, or cookbook. Winery Chefs works exclusively with Kristen Loken, an accomplished local photographer.
Finally, the finished product is delivered to the client in disc format. Each step in this process is essential to create quality recipes and collateral marketing materials that directly correlate with the winery’s brand and unique character of its wines.
The recipe for Olson-Ogden Mushroom Risotto can be found at: www.olsonogdenwines.com.
To view Kristen Loken’s portfolio, please visit www.kristenloken.com.
I will be meeting with Tim next week to taste through the 2007 vintage and will start working on new recipes for their website. Stay tuned!