Sommelier Charles Puglia, Le Cou Cou, New York

7/18 Sommelier Charles Puglia, Le CouCou NYC

7/18 Sommelier Charles Puglia, Le CouCou NYC


KeeperCollection @KeeperCollection: Welcome to #SommChat everyone! Tell your friends to join us to learn from #Sommelier Charles Puglia of @LeCoucou_NYC !

KeeperCollection @KeeperCollection: We’d like to introduce you to #Sommelier @CharlesPuglia #SommChat

Charles Puglia @CharlesPuglia: #sommchat It's great to be here! I'm looking forward to answering all your questions!

KeeperCollection @KeeperCollection: We're about ready to dive in w/questions, so shout out to #Sommelier Charles Pugila of @LeCoucou_NYC to say hello & so he knows you're here! #WineWednesday #SommChat

KeeperCollection @KeeperCollection: Don't forget that EVERY tweet during this chat should include the #SommChat hashtag in order for everyone to see it!

KeeperCollection @KeeperCollection: As we ask @CharlesPuglia our Qs, you can ask #Sommelier Charles Puglia your Qs as well! He'll do his best to answer all Qs in the order they come #sommchat

KeeperCollection @KeeperCollection: W so many participants lots of gr8 Q's R asked! Even if u dont ask 1--give a S/O 2 @keepercoll & @CharlesPuglia 2 let us know u R here! #SommChat

KeeperCollection @KeeperCollection: Let's start talking #wine with @CharlesPuglia #WineWednesday #SommChat

KeeperCollection @KeeperCollection: @CharlesPuglia When did you first get interested in #wine and when and how old were you? #SommChat

Charles Puglia @CharlesPuglia: #sommchat I got in to wine in my early twenties working as a server in fine dining, Wine was never a big thing in my family (my grandmother puts ice cubes in her glass of red, for example.)

KeeperCollection @KeeperCollection: Q fr #SommChat #Somm @CharlesPuglia what is the #wine buying strategy for @LeCoucou_NYC, and do you have certain #wine regions you focus on and if so which ones?

Charles Puglia @CharlesPuglia: #sommchat We focus mostly on French Wines and mostly on classic regions, i.e. Burgundy, Rhone, Loire, Bordeaux. We purchase wines with some age whenever we can. I like to show wines on our list that are ready to drink!

KeeperCollection @KeeperCollection: Q fr #SommChat #Somm •@CharlesPuglia Do you have any guidelines when deciding what #wines to put on the @LeCoucou_NYC menu?

Charles Puglia @CharlesPuglia: #sommchat The most important one is that the wine is delicious and pairs well with our food. A great story and responsible farming/winemaking practices are a huge plus as well.

KeeperCollection @KeeperCollection: @CharlesPuglia do you remember the first #wine you ever had? Was it a good memory? If not what was the first memorable wine? #SommChat

Charles Puglia @CharlesPuglia: #sommchat I would prefer to forget the first wine i ever had! It likely came out of a big jug and tasted like lighter fluid. My first memorable wine was a bottle of Leoville Poyferre 1995 that my father in law gave my wife and I on one of our first fancy dinner dates.

KeeperCollection @KeeperCollection: Q fr #SommChat #Somm have you always worked in #restos and if so, have you ever thought of working in a different area of the #wine world? What other restos have you worked in @CharlesPuglia ?

Charles Puglia @CharlesPuglia: #sommchat I have always worked in Restos. I have considered other areas of the wine world, but always found myself to be most comfortable surrounded by fellow misfits in the Resto biz!

KeeperCollection @KeeperCollection: Q fr #SommChat #Somm @CharlesPuglia do you do the staff #wine training @LeCoucou? If so how often and what have you found to be the most effective training elements?

Charles Puglia @CharlesPuglia: #sommchat I do the staff training at Le Coucou with help from our amazing some team. We like to have at least 10 minutes of wine focus every day at lineup and wine classes. The most effective method for helping staff learn and retain info crowd participation...

KeeperCollection @KeeperCollection: @CharlesPuglia @LeCoucou_NYC is considered to be a most sought-after table in #NYC, what do you credit this success with? #SommChat

Charles Puglia @CharlesPuglia: #sommchat The first thing is consistently delicious food that just warms the soul. Our food is just pleasurable. No tweezer-food here! The second thing is our generous hospitality (and excellent wine service!)

KeeperCollection @KeeperCollection: .@CharlesPuglia Are you big into #wine and #food pairings? What are some of your favorites that you recommend @LeCoucou_NYC ? #SommChat

Charles Puglia @CharlesPuglia: #sommchat I am HUGE into wine and food pairings, although i encourage my guests to drink what they like. I love our Halibut, w/Ginger Beurre Blanc paired with a Sous Voile style of Jura wine.

KeeperCollection @KeeperCollection: Q fr #SommChat #Somm how many #wine staff @LeCoucou_NYC what attributes do you look for in hiring for those positions @CharlesPuglia? What is the interview process?

Charles Puglia @CharlesPuglia: #sommchat We have 5 sommeliers on staff and are looking to add one more to make it 6. We are looking for passionate, intelligent and energetic pros. Basically, i prefer to hire people that want my job! I always conduct the first interview before a candidate moves on to another.

KeeperCollection @KeeperCollection: Q fr #SommChat #Somm how many #wines do you have on @LeCoucou_NYC #wine list Bottle vs BTG? What do you think is optimal amount? How often do you change the list? Is it dictated by your storage capacity @charlespuglian?

Charles Puglia @CharlesPuglia: #sommchat We have under 800 references on the list and don't plan on expanding unless we find an area for some more Euro Caves! We have 17 dry wines by the glass and 7 sweet wines.

KeeperCollection @KeeperCollection: Q fr #SommChat #Somm @CharlesPuglia What changes has there been on the #wine side since you first started working for @LeCoucou_NYC and what made you decide to implement?

Charles Puglia @CharlesPuglia: #sommchat The first thing we did is start buying wine! Lots of it. We have added about 40% more inventory in dollars. I wanted to make sure we featured some of the best that France has to offer (regardless of price point).

KeeperCollection @KeeperCollection: Q fr #SommChat #Somm @CharlesPuglia What is the most challenging part of your job @LeCoucou_NYC and can you describe a day in your work life?

Charles Puglia @CharlesPuglia: #sommchat The most challenging part of my job is managing personalities! Somms and guests! My typical day would start with answering emails, menu reprints, invoicing (all the boring stuff), but also my favorite part of the gig - Buying wine! The days can be hard to predict...

Charles Puglia @CharlesPuglia: #sommchat it's important to adapt to any given situation. It's the nature of the restaurant biz!

KeeperCollection @KeeperCollection: Q fr #SommChat #Somm •@CharlesPuglia Do you require #sommeliers have worked the floor of a restaurant before you will hire them? Why or why not? If you do, how much experience do they need? Does it have to be fine dining?

Charles Puglia @CharlesPuglia: #sommchat I do prefer at least some floor experience and it's preferably fine dining, however the most important requirement is the passion. If a candidate possesses the will to become better every day at what they do, then that's half the battle. You can teach almost anything!

KeeperCollection @KeeperCollection: Q fr #SommChat #Somm @CharlesPuglia do you only feature #French #wines @LeCoucou_NYC and if not how do you decide where else the #wines are from?

Charles Puglia @CharlesPuglia: #sommchat We are not exclusively French, just mostly. I just want to make sure that the wines are delicious and well made, in addition to being harmonious with the food. For example, Lopez de Heredia has a place on our list.

KeeperCollection @KeeperCollection: Q fr #SommChat #Somm @CharlesPuglia can you share memorable lesson learned from each of your mentors @HristoZ @kpetrullo & Annie Turso ?

Charles Puglia @CharlesPuglia: #sommchat Great question! Hristo told me in regards to keeping up with a busy service (I'm paraphrasing ) "You should be like a shark during service. Sharks don't breathe if they don't swim. Keep swimming." I have never forgotten that.

KeeperCollection @KeeperCollection: @CharlesPuglia Q fr #SommChat #Somm - any guidance on best practices for meeting with #wine reps, i.e., how to set appts, how often, how to get them to bring #wines you want for your list, etc? I am taking over my first list and find this difficult to manage

Charles Puglia @CharlesPuglia: #sommchat Never overload yourself with appointments! Gauge how busy you are and schedule appropriately! Ask to see price lists and get them on the phone to discuss purchases. Most importantly, work with reps you trust that work with great books.

KeeperCollection @KeeperCollection: Q fr #SommChat #Somm @CharlesPuglia what do you do if you selected a #wine for your #wine list and it is not selling as quickly as you thought?

Charles Puglia @CharlesPuglia: #sommchat WINE PAIRINGS!!! We are sitting and excess of Pet Nat right now that has lost some of its "Pet" already. Recently, we worked it into a cheese pairing. Stunning combination.

KeeperCollection @KeeperCollection: .@CharlesPuglia When you are not working, what #wine or #drinks do you gravitate towards? What #wine could we find in your fridge or #cellar? #SommChat

Charles Puglia @CharlesPuglia: #sommchat When i'm not working, it's a perfectly made cocktail - i like everything and i'm a massive fan of cocktail/bar culture. Also, Miller High Life (it's the Champagne of Beer). My "cellar", if you can call it that, is mostly full of Bordeaux, Rhone and Burgundy that is....

Charles Puglia @CharlesPuglia: #sommchat ...too young to drink. My everyday wines are usually high acid whites from the Loire, Jura or Burgundy. For reds, its all about Northern Rhone.

KeeperCollection @KeeperCollection: @CharlesPuglia Do you have any #resto down times in #NYC like summer in some places and if so, what do you do to get people in the door?

Charles Puglia @CharlesPuglia: #sommchat This a great questions. People in NYC have money, usually. Enough money to go somewhere else in the summertime. The most important thing you can do to keep people coming in the summer is to cultivate those relationships every day. Make guests for life!

KeeperCollection @KeeperCollection: how often @CharlesPuglia do you do inventory and what software do you use? How much time is spent on numbers for your wine sales and did you teach yourself or did someone teach you a good process?

Charles Puglia @CharlesPuglia: #sommchat Nice question - This is something floor somms tend to ignore. We do inventory twice a Financial Period. We do Mid Period (to see trends in Cost of Goods) and one at the end of Period. We have BinWise to help us inventory and manage our cellar. I spend about 30%....

Charles Puglia @CharlesPuglia: ....of my time looking at the numbers, because at the end of the day, you need to make a great profit. I taught myself some things and learned from mentors along the way.

KeeperCollection @KeeperCollection: Q fr #SommChat #Somm do you think it is impt to travel to #wine regions for a floor #somm and if so why @CharlesPuglia? Where in #France have you traveled? Where are some of your favorite #wine spots and why?

Charles Puglia @CharlesPuglia: #sommchat Amazing Question. The answer is resoundingly YES! Take advantage of your shorter work week as a floor somm to travel and study. Once you become a wine buyer, free time becomes a luxury. I have been to most major regions in France, in addition to Catalunya and Cali.

KeeperCollection @KeeperCollection: It was great to have #Sommelier Charles Puglia @CharlesPuglia of @LeCoucou_NYC join us today for #SommChat. We hope everyone learned as much as we did! #WineWednesday

KeeperCollection @KeeperCollection: Please join us in thanking #Sommelier Charles Puglia @CharlesPuglia of @LeCoucou_NYC for his time #SommChat

Charles Puglia @CharlesPuglia: #sommchat Thanks everyone! Great questions, indeed! Please stop into Le Coucou the next time you find yourself in SoHo!