Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Dream Job: Librarian at Bern's Wine Cellar

Having grown up in the Tampa Bay area of Florida, I always looked forward to that very special occasion that would warrant a celebration at the legendary Bern’s Steakhouse.

Never heard of it?

According to their website, “Internationally known for its vast wine collection, perfectly aged steaks and famous dessert room, Bern’s Steak House offers a world-class, incomparable dining experience. When Bern Laxer opened in 1956, he envisioned Bern’s as Art in Steaks. Today, son David Laxer and Chef de Cuisine Habteab Hamde continue Bern’s tradition of excellence with a gastronomic adventure that includes prime steaks cut-to-order, 21 choices of caviar, fresh seafood and organic vegetables grown on Bern’s farm. The menu also boasts a weekly specials page offering fresh oysters, seasonal delights and entrees with suggested wine pairings. 
For oenophiles, the 6,500 label wine collection, a perennial Wine Spectator Grand Award winner, provides ample opportunity for exploration. After dinner, relax upstairs in a private booth with a Bern’s signature dessert or one of the 1,000+ after-dinner spirits, wines and cordials.”

Sounds great, right? Yeah, it’s expensive too, so it took me getting that Masters degree to finally warrant a visit. And boy was it worth it! The best part was taking a private tour of the place, which included a visit to the wine cellar, where to my surprise is organized by the Dewey Decimal System! Now that is my kind of library – HIRE ME!

Wine is typically organized via region or type of grape, say “Australia” or “Pinot Noir,” however at Bern’s, all wines are given numbers when they arrive, which then correspond to their place on the shelf arranged in numerical order, with one located towards the front and 10,000 towards the very back. To preserve and age the wines, the temperature is kept to about 50 degrees with 75 percent humidity. So maybe having my reference desk in there might be a tad chilly, but if the job includes daily wine tastings, I’ll wear a coat – HIRE ME!

While the wine cellar at the restaurant holds about 90,000 bottles of wine, 80% is still being kept in various warehouses off-site. Now that is a lot of wine to keep track of! Therefore, it is understandable why they would want to hire me to manage it all, especially when this summer, one bottle of wine was discovered, having been misplaced on the shelf some 50 years ago!!!! Yep, a Chateau Latour from 1947 was somehow lost in the wine cellar and is now worth some $30,000 – which I hope makes you think twice about reshelving that book without a librarian’s assistance, right?

And speaking of assistance, Bern’s, you obviously need me. Knowledgeable in wine and library studies, AND a huge consumer of wine – this is like the perfect pairing! Consider me the 2000 Trimbach Pinot Gris Selection de Grains Nobles to your Yellowtail Snapper √† la Plancha. Me the 2006 Hess Cabernet Sauvignon to your Ch√Ęteaubriand.

Better yet, just think of me as #9418. A 1900 Burmester Reserva Port. At $1250 a bottle, I am a wine librarian that is so going to be worth every ounce! HIRE ME…NOW!

For more information about Bern's Steakhouse, visit