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The Modern Butlers’ Journal for Service Professionals Worldwide, November 2014

  BlueLogo2011web The Modern Butlers’ Journal for Service Professionals Worldwide, July, 2012

The Modern Butlers’ Journal volume 10, issue 11

International Institute of Modern Butlers

IIMB Chairman Steven Ferry The Modern Butlers’ Journal for Service Professionals Worldwide, July, 2012 Message from the Chairman 

Much in the way of news and articles again—one quick note for those who may know Mr. Amer Vargas, the Institute’s VP Europe, who welcomed his first born, Noa, to the world a few days ago. Congratulations, but no rest for the wicked—he’s off to China in a few days to try and keep up with the demand for training. We wish him and his new family a successful and exciting future together.

Letters to the Editor

«I appreciate your advocacy for all service professionals with this incisive and educating monthly online internet news publication that is thoughtfully produced. The publication is well balanced and insightful, with useful information for both service professionals in private family service and also the hospitality side of the industry. I have personally corresponded with questions, and received resourceful information in helping to make informed decisions for both myself and those to whom I provide service.» POC

Editor: Thank you very much, good Sir.

Butlers in the Media

Another robotic butler—the challenge at the moment being not to have it bumping into walls and things.

Hospitality’s latest hot job is apparently the butler position, according to a somewhat confused article of that title which talks about private service butlers and then suddenly switches in a tortuous leap of logic to hospitality butlers. This is the second time I have seen reference (coming out of North American sources) to household managers being senior to butlers in terms of position or remuneration packages. This misconception can only be promulgated by North Americans who lack an understanding of the history of butlers and household managers. In brief, HMs are American grandchildren of the butler, and while they lack the exact same perspective as the butler, are not materially different in practice from butlers. The confusion may arise because some butlers can have constricted sets of duties focused around F&B functions. But most butlers these days are butler administrators, upon which the North American household, estate, or estates managers are modeled. The highest salary for a butler (administrator) that I am aware of is $500,000, not the $100,000 quoted in the article. Whether that person was titled a butler or household manager is a question of semantics. The functions apply to each title and any effort to aggrandize household managers at the expense of butlers is wrong-headed and confusing, especially for those in countries attempting to come up to speed on the whole profession.

Here, however, is a well-written article on the subject of hospitality butlers.

Another article on Etihad’s flight butlers, and one on QM2 butlers.

Butler Training

The Chairman conducted some training at a top-level software company in Boston recently, because its founder and President realized that the only way his young and highly intelligent account executives would be able to interact with their multinational CEO clients with the same degree of success as he enjoyed (based on his native understanding backed by years of experience), would be if they were to be trained in the butler style of service and interaction. He liked what he read in trendwatching.com’s article on Brand Butler and the Institute’s article that accompanied it and so met with the Chairman and subsequently asked for said training to be delivered. The marriage of genius with the butler world resulted in a dynamic and innovative series of workshops and a new understanding and way of operating that is, by all accounts, already starting to obtain results.

Hopefully, these innovators will actually help launch a whole new level of service, and understanding of the same, in the corporate world. Then, perhaps, governments might follow. We can look forward to the day that the Department of Homeland Security leviathon in America, and (not to pick on them) similar governmental organizations around the world, finally understand their role as public servants by taking a leaf out of the butler’s book.

Part of the Now Business Intelligence team
Part of the Now Business Intelligence team

 

Baron Shortt

Executive Protection & Security

by Baron James Shortt

 

Storm Survival

I was reminded this month, when a Category 3 Hurricane struck Cabo San Lucas in Mexico, that weather and geology can create devastating and surprising security circumstances.

Weather, in theory, can be predicted. But typically the prediction of a large storm is received by all at the same time, resulting in all trying to leave an area at the same time. This is a common occurrence throughout the tropics when hurricanes or cyclones are forecast. Commercial traffic can only handle so many people per day and since so many of the flights are booked solid, what is the likelihood that you and your charges will be able to leave? The answer is slim to none and slim just left town. The issue is compounded by the requirement of many companies to have disaster survival plans which may include mandatory evacuation of key personal. From personal experience many years ago in Nassau, Bahamas—when Hurricane Rita was bearing down on the island—we tried to catch a commercial flight out and all of the seats had been sold. We then tried to charter an aircraft and all the charters that were available within a 600 mile radius had been booked. So we rode out Hurricane Rita in the bar of the British Colonial Hotel. Thankfully in Nassau, all buildings are built with poured concrete (unlike those toothpick buildings they’ve built along the USA’s Gulf Coast) and we had filled tubs with water for drinking and purchased dehydrated and tinned food as well as a small stove for cooking, so we were fine. However, these events can be much more extreme. So a team should be prepared to ride out a storm, as well as have evacuation plans. Redundancy in these situations is truly a life saver.

Earthquakes present a different problem. They strike with little or no warning. What typically fails immediately is the power and water. Concurrent with power and water failures are cellphone towers, street signals, and often local telephone service. Hospitals only treat the most severe of injuries and some roads may be impassable. In earthquake areas, one should always have 10 liters of water per person in a safe storage place, together with sufficient dried food, a cooking stove, emergency first aid kits with personnel trained to use it, several charged satellite phones and cash on hand. Arrange with the team a rendezvous point and carry with you a list of all helicopter charter organizations within a 500 mile radius, as well as a map of a few good, open landing sites.

This may all seem like a lot of bother, but as gray men we are expected to deal with a lot of bother. We need to bother with all threats to our charges—man, man-made, and even ‘nature made.’

Baron Shortt is the Executive Director of the IBA

 

Amer1x1inch The Modern Butlers’ Journal for Service Professionals Worldwide, July, 2012Let’s Talk about Spirits, Part 9

by Amer Vargas 


Limoncello

Today we fly to the south of Italy to talk about one of the most well-known digestives in the world.

A chilled bottle of Limoncello, photo by Seth Anderson
A chilled bottle of Limoncello, photo by Seth Anderson

Limoncello is a liqueur of very simple production, yet very tasty and easy to drink. The recipe involves four ingredients, the amounts of each being very carefully respected to achieve the delicious spirit that has spread its fame in the last two decades.

The four ingredients are lemon zest, alcohol, sugar, and purified water. The original recipe uses exclusively the zest of Femminello Santa Teresa lemons, produced in the Sorrentine Peninsula. The simple production process starts with grating the lemon zest as fine as possible and allowing it to rest in the alcohol for 3 to 5 days, shaking the mix twice a day to ensure all the flavors from the zest infuse through the alcohol. After this, the flavored alcohol is strained and set aside. At the same time, the purified water is heated and sugar are added to make a clear syrup.

Once the syrup is at room temperature, it is mixed with the lemon-flavored alcohol and strained several times to create the final drink, with an average alcohol content ranging between 26 and 32%.

Limoncello Home-Production, photo by Nadine Schaeffer
Limoncello Home-Production, photo by Nadine Schaeffer

 

Besides the popular standard version, there exist flavored variants like the Pistachiocello (flavored with pistachio), Meloncello, (flavored with cantaloupe melon) or the Fragoncello (flavored with strawberry).

The production of Limoncello is so simple that many people create their own at home, even changing the alcohol to vodka (one of the most bland spirits) to obtain a particularly tasty blend.

So, after a tasty meal of pasta or pizza, enjoy the Limoncello well chilled… Cheers!

 

Mr. Vargas is the Institute’s Vice President for Europe and can be contacted via AmerVargas at modernbutlers.com

 

Placement

Butler Position in Hong Kong—for those who speak Chinese.

An experienced, professional butler/household manager is sought for a small (3 principals) household in Hong Kong. The ideal candidate will be male, preferably of Asian background and must speak either Cantonese or Mandarin Chinese well. You must be passionate about the job and detail-oriented; able to multi-task and efficiently organize, coordinate and supervise the other staff in this household (which include a chef, a security guard, 2 nurses, 5 female staff and 2 drivers). Some knowledge and understanding of elderly care is desirable. While the staff will take care of most of the work, you must be able to be hands-on when and where needed to help maintain the high standards of cleanliness and presentation of the 5,000 sq. ft. family home. You will prepare lunch/dinner menus with the chef and must be able to serve formally at table. This is a live-in position. Good remuneration package for the right candidate. Contact the Institute for a more complete job description. Please include your resume/CV, a current photograph and your salary requirements.

Hiring Amateurs—there exists a definite market for the lower-end service industry, but it should not be mixed with by professionals servicing the higher-end market—learn from the car brands that created a discrete brand for their luxury vehicles

Employers or their staff continue to use Craig’s List and such as Yelp in their search for butlers, by-passing agencies and all they bring to the table—good and bad. Professional butlers may want to consider the expectations and standards of such a putative employer—who in the interest of saving money, shuns the order brought to the hiring process by agencies—before entering into their world and applying for such a position. And where agencies themselves use Craig’s List and other such media, they obviously have not created a sufficiently large stable of candidates that they should feel compelled to appeal to amateurs for what is essentially a professional position. This is a slippery slope, as the performance of amateurs cannot reflect well in the long run on an agency’s reputation.

Take this Drive-in Butler ad on Yelp. The man is providing a valuable service for his community. He could certainly learn from our profession—and probably should, if he is to take the liberty of using «butler» in his title—so as not to provide misleading advertising. If we had a strong industry presence and squads of lawyers at our beck and call, we might well tell him to remove «butler» from his title or better still, to train as a butler before calling himself one; but absent such control, the least we can do is not ourselves confuse his offerings and any others on Yelp and Craig’s List, with our own efforts to find and promote personnel.

Of Butlers and Roses, Part 7 of 20

by GJ dePillis

Rose Maintenance, Part II 

Last month, we covered some basics of rose maintenance. Depending on the rose variety, you may need to  prune lightly about three times a year. Some roses require pruning before the bloom. Other roses, such as Heritage, require light pruning after the bloom. Check with the nursery from which you acquired the roses to obtain the pruning and fertilizing schedule for your roses.

Here are some fertilizer pointers to help establish a newly planted rose.

  • For the first year, use high-nitrogen fertilizer to establish the root growth;
  • For the second year and beyond, use high-phosphate organic fertilizers (the phosphate is the middle number on the fertilizer), or bone meal;
  • After the second year, you can use less organic fertilizer because the reserves of nutrients have been built up in the soil;
  • Sprinkle Epsom salts on the ground every now and again;
  • To add a bit of a boost for new roses, some rosarians have suggested adding a balanced fertilizer. Fertilizers high in nitrogen will keep things very green. Most lawn fertilizers are high in nitrogen. This is not the element, however, that encourages blooms.
Anne Boleyn rose tree, photo by David Austin
Anne Boleyn rose tree, photo by David Austin

In a future article we will go into even greater depth about fertilizers, so do watch for that. In the balance of this segment, we will cover plant hormones, which may help with encouraging the right type of growth. Here are two products which you may consider adding to your gardener’s tool shed:

  • Super Grow is a product that contains a plant hormone called Gibberellic Acid (also called Gibberellin A3, or simply GA3). To avoid clumping of the GA3 powder when mixed with cold water, dissolve it in a couple of drops of alcohol first. Overuse of GA3 may cause the stems to grow instead of the buds. Read the instructions on your product. Additionally, if you are trying to germinate seeds, spraying them with a mist of water and GA3 to speed the process and subsequent growth;
  • DynaGro: 3-12-6 is a commonly used fertilizer that can help with growth;
  • Gro-Power 3-12-12 is used with much success for encouraging blooms (as well as fruiting plants and trees).  The distributors tab on this link may prove useful; otherwise, they will ship to you directly if you call (909) 393-3744 or  email gropowerinc@verizon.net   Those who like this brand, sometimes also like to use Gro-Power Plus 5-3-1 for lawns and turf. Many Californians are dedicated to this brand of fertilizer because a little goes a long way.

Until next time…happy rose maintenance!

Ms. dePillis is a freelance contributor to the Journal who is based on the West Coast of the United States. She can be reached via depillis at gmail.com

 

Jeff HermanConsulting the Silver Expert

by Jeffrey Herman

Q: Can you repair silverware that’s been caught in the garbage disposal?

  1. A: Ninety-nine percent of the time it can be! For a spoon, the bowl can be rounded and gouges removed, splits can be brazed, handles can be unwrapped and straightened, and most of all, the piece can be made useful again. I repaired a disposal-damaged baby spoon from a collector in California. He loved the results, but it gets better! I received the same spoon a couple of months later, after it had again been dropped down the disposal. There was enough material left for me to make the baby spoon functional without any sharp edges!

Mr. Herman continues to offer his services to our readers for any questions you may have about the care of silver. Either call him at (800) 339-0417 (USA) or email jeff at hermansilver.com

 

The Institute is dedicated to raising service standards by broadly disseminating the mindset and skills of that time-honored, quintessential service provider, the British Butler, adapted to the needs of modern employers and guests in staffed homes, luxury hotels, resort,  spas, retirement communities, jets, yachts, & cruise ships around the world.

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The Modern Butlers’ Journal for Service Professionals Worldwide, February, 2012

BlueLogo2011web The Modern Butlers Journal for Service Professionals Worldwide, October, 2011

 The Modern Butlers’ Journal volume 8, issue 2

International Institute of Modern Butlers

Message from the Chairman

 It’s a long newsletter so I’ll keep it brief with two quotations on our profession, both very telling:
 «A great butler can only be, surely, one who can point to his years of service and say that he has applied his talents to serving a  great gentleman and through the latter, to serving humanity.» Stevens the butler in Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day.
  •  «Ice formed on the butler’s upper slopes.» Plum in Pigs Have Wings.

Letters to the Editor

Have you seen the recent British TV series, Downton Abbey? It has been a great success in the UK and has just been broadcast on

Italian TV, too. It portrays the life of a large mansion in the pre-First World War England with all the downstairs and upstairs dramas.  It has beenwritten by the same author of Gosford Park , Julian Fellowes, and it certainly catches the audience’s attention. However, in my view, there are a few  too many «dramatised» rivalries and plots amongst the domestic staff…although we know how certain members of staff can be that mean, but they normally do not last for long once the butler comes to realise the sort of «sneaky» people he is dealing with.

Let us hope that this re-born interest on period dramas, with such a detailed description of the private service lives and roles, with a strong focus on the butler of course —who, in this series,  comes across as the solid point of reference in the house—will also bring a renewed interest in the butler figure, too, and to more and new job opportunities! Giovanni Lodigiani

Ed: Indeed! As for the excess amount of dramas, your point is well taken, although the series would no doubt be most boring to most viewers if it had no drama in it!

Greetings from HOTEL32, a «hotel within a hotel» on the top floor of the Monte Carlo in Las Vegas.

 I have read your Modern Butler Journals for quite some time and enjoyed them very, very much as I am a hotel butler. 

Is there some sort of membership available with The International Institute of Modern Butlers?

 

Kindest regards,

 R. Joel Heidtman

Ed: Glad to see butler service is available in the Monte Carlo.  Yes, membership is available.

Butlers in the Media

This is very sad, really, but 100% predictable. Nobody wishes this on another individual—being vilified in the media—especially when it is the kind of low grade rags like London’s Sun and the Daily Mail that will turn any plus into a minus—but the end result of betraying confidence as a butler is this kind of treatment. The comments from readers show that once respect has gone, it takes a definite effort to regain it over a period of time. Please take note anybody who feels tempted to cross that invisible line. If Mr. Burrell be reading this, it is not too late to make up the damage and walk back up the road…feel free to contact us.

On a more upbeat note, and talking of Downton Abbey being in the public consciousness, a well done account, We English butlers are in demand – but it’s not like Downton Abbey any more, about a modern day butler can be found in the Guardian (England). The last line was quite pithy: «My job probably hasn’t changed much since the 19th-century, other than the fact I carry two BlackBerrys instead of tails,» but quite a few pearls of wisdom, and interestingly, and explanation of why Russians and Chinese appreciate the butler figure.

Also interesting is the general tenor of the 97 comments on the article, providing a window into the general Web-going public’s ideas of and attitude towards butlers today. Probably 85% were negative and gleeful, even vulgar. But 30% were hung up in the idea of being obsequious. They have no concept of dignity, and it is unfortunate that the butler being interviewed did not communicate this directly, although it is obvious from the article that he does act with dignity. As covered in Remains of the Day, during the staff dinner, dignity is key to being a butler.
As one person stated, «Sadly the misanthropes [commenting] can’t refrain from throwing poo at everything that’s written here. If Santa wrote an article, there’d be comments from them like ‘Christmas is a tool of oppression by the working classes’ and ‘Tories are going to abolish Christmas, because they’re all racist paedos.'» Another said, «I wouldn’t worry about all the negativity you see in the comments. They’re very unhappy people who use the internet to attack others in ways they never would in real life. It makes them feel better for a short while.»
And one had an interesting comment about the apparent subservience of British butlers: «You only think you’re walking all over him. In fact he’s walking all over you, it’s just that you’re so quartz-brained and crass you don’t realise that he thinks of you as a sort of amiable pet or an idiot child and that’s why he is indulging your self-delusions. That’s rather the point of Jeeves and Wooster isn’t it, or is that another thing that flies over your head?» Well, musings aside, it is worth remembering that the drama of real life is not necessarily the same as drama on the silver screen or flat-screen TV.

We have butlers in hospitals as a slowly developing market that is perhaps best done in a low key fashion, judging by the letter written to the editor of the New York Times by one of their readers, a doctor, after reading the front page article, Chefs, Butlers, Marble Baths: Hospitals Vie for the Affluent. «Repugnant. Reprehensible. Show the photographs of the luxury hospital suite or the guest service desk to the poor man or the working-class woman who can’t pay for medical care, inpatient or outpatient. Then show the menu to the patient who is too ill to eat. Medicine has been hijacked by business.» There is no reason that hospitals should not offer superior service to those who can afford it, as with anything else in society. However, resentment will run high if too many people suffer at the hands of a small minority, as many a civilization’s elites have discovered through the ages. We do need to take responsibility for our fellow man, or the inevitable implosion of society is guaranteed.

Then we have those offering interesting services hanging on the coattails of the superior service «butler,» as stated in the article Brand Butler—all good for the profession, in the way that it keeps our profession up front and center as providers of superior service. In this case, we have perfume butlers at some Rosewood hotels, and tartan butlers for those who want to trace their Scottish roots.

Institute member, Giovanni Lodigianni ,was featured on two television spots in Italy recently, promoting the private service butler and the hotel butler.

Her Nobbs is no Nibs Talking of Downtown Abbey (yet again), a recent movie, Albert Nobbs has a butler in it of the same name —or so the movie critics repeatedly claim. In actual fact, Albert Nobbs is a waiter (and also covers bellman/porter), not a butler, and keeps saying so herself. She, or I should say, “he,” has quite a few of the characteristics of a butler, in terms of the restraint, but the self-effacing and irrational determination to self-implode in pursuit of an illogical dream leaves much to be desired.

In case the title does not make much sense (because it is written from Brit to Brit), «his nibs» is early 19-century slang, as in “His Nibs,” itself modeled mockingly after “his honor” and referring to an employer or superior, with additional meanings of a self-important person and a shabby, genteel person, “with no means but high pretensions.” It relates to British university slang for the head of a college, with “nob” referring to “head,” based on its meaning as a “projection from a hill,” as well as the variation «His nobship,» perhaps coming from «nabob» (a person returning wealthy from India) and «nobleman.»

One variation, dating back to the same time period, records that London Clubs had a policy of “no Irishmen,” which was communicated discreetly in Latin with “Adeste, nisi Hiberniae” (no Irish here). This was abbreviated to “Nis Hibs” and over time inverted to refer to the members of the clubs holding these policies, and reflected in the words by forming a spoonerism (inversion of the initial letter of two words): “His Nibs.” Now, this is the kind of thing that fascinates some British butlers, and I apologize if it bored.

Placement 

Three positions need to be filled. If interested and qualified for any of them, contact the Director of Placement.

  1. An experienced butler/estate manager with hospitality experience, to be the general manager of a luxury boutique hotel and spa opening 1,200 meters above sea level on 80,000 square meters of grounds with a further 1.2 million square meters to be a botanical garden outside San Paulo, Brazil. Intended to be a showcase for spa and culinary delights as well as nature, the GM needs to run the hotel like a private estate,. To the same standards. Also needs to speak English as well as Portuguese, or if not the latter, Spanish or Italian so he can learn Portuguese more easily. Professional remuneration.
  2.  One of the premier resorts in the Maldives is looking for an experienced Head Butler managing about 35 butlers. who will soon be receiving three months of training. 42K and 42 days off a year in three periods.
  3. The Institute is looking for an experienced Indian butler living in India or willing to return home, to take care of training assignments in that country. Needs to have some experience with training and also management positions.

Cigars

by Frank Mitchell 

 Introduction

When doing Cigar Training, students will often ask me why they need to learn about cigars if they don’t smoke. The simple answer is that if one does not smoke, one will know little or nothing about cigars and therefore have more to learn. The longer answer is that cigars are a hand-made luxury item – one that requires careful handling and storage. If you work for someone who does smoke, or perhaps keeps them to offer to guests, then you will need to take care of their cigars in the same way that you might be entrusted with the care of antique furniture, valuable paintings or fine china. A cigar collection may be worth a great deal and can be irretrievable damaged in less than a fortnight. Perhaps the best answer of all is that cigars are quite simply fascinating. While I don’t smoke, I do appreciate the history, mystique and anecdotal wealth surrounding the industry.

History


There is evidence of tobacco use dating back almost 2 millennia and upon his arrival in the Americas, Christopher Columbus found that it was in widespread use all over the islands of the Caribbean. There is no evidence to support the theory that tobacco use had its origin in Cuba, but it was certainly already in use there by the time Columbus landed. The sailors began to use tobacco themselves and soon the practice spread to Europe, initially via Spain and Portugal. The introduction of tobacco to France is attributed to Jean Nicot, the French ambassador to Portugal who lent his name to ‘nicotine’. Incidentally, the word ‘cigar’ comes to us via the Spanish Cigarro which in turn is either from the Mayan-Indian word ‘sikar’ for smoking, or the Mayan ‘sicar’ meaning “to smoke rolled tobacco leaves”. Tobacco use spread to Italy and only later to England after Sir Walter Raleigh’s voyages to the Americas. The British initially preferred to smoke their tobacco in pipes, but high taxation limited its use.

In 1592, the Spanish galleon San Clemente delivered 50 kg of tobacco seed to the Philippines to be distributed by Roman Catholic missionaries and by the early 1700’s tobacco was being cultivated commercially in America.

While some believed tobacco to have medicinal value, there were those who resisted, most notable being Phillip II of Spain and James I of England. In fact the segregated smoking sections we have today in bars and restaurants are nothing new. Smoking cars on trains and smoking salons in hotels and clubs were the norm by the 1860’s. Ladies generally did not smoke and it was not considered proper to smoke in their presence. The men therefore would retire after a meal and smoke apart from their female dinner companions. The practice of smokers subjecting non-smokers to their unpleasant habit is a 20th century phenomenon and one which thankfully died out within a few decades.

Until the invention of the cigarette rolling machine in the 1880’s, hand rolled cigarettes where a luxury item with the result that cigars were far better known than cigarettes – almost a complete reversal of the situation we have today.

Next month we will continue our study with tobacco agriculture before moving on to tobacco maturation and  cigar rolling.

Let’s Talk about Wine

by Amer Vargas 

From the harvest to the winery

Grapes are brought to the winery in small trailers of no more of 2,000kg for tough-skinned grapes or in 25kg cases in the case of more delicate varieties, to prevent the grapes from bursting and producing a must that would result in a premature and uncontrolled fermentation and oxidation that would lead to an undesired final product.
In the winery: Carbonic Maceration (to soften by soaking) or Alcoholic Fermentation? The vintner decides whether to place the fruit with the stems in a sealed environment high in carbon dioxide where the grape juice softens the stems) or to de-stem the grapes before crushing them and storing the must with skins and pips in open-top tanks, to undergo alcoholic fermentation.
The conventional alcoholic fermentation involves pressing or crushing the grapes to free the juice
and pulp from the skin, and yeasts convert sugar into alcohol. With carbonic maceration, the carbon dioxide gas permeates the grape skin, triggering an inner fermentation in every single berry, thus producing ethanol (alcohol) as a by-product. This particular fermentation lasts eight to ten days at around 35 0C (95 oF) before pressing the grapes. Wine yeasts are then added to complete an alcoholic fermentation before taking the wine to the last stages. The wines resulting from carbonic maceration are fruity and have very low tannins (leaving very little of that dry and puckery feeling in the mouth), compared to those that undergo alcoholic fermentation directly. For the wines produced through alcoholic fermentation, a pre-fermentation maceration—also  called cold soak because during this process the liquid is cooled to about 15-20 0C (41-68 0F)—takes place: the must is left in contact with skins and pips so that it starts taking their color and aromas.
A few days later, fermentation will start spontaneously when the red must is raised to 25-30 0C (77-86 0F) due to the yeasts naturally present in the grape’s skin. As this process starts, two factors cause an increase in the volume of wine:  the rise in the temperature of the must and the carbonic gas resulting from the fermentation itself. Vintners control the temperature of the must because above around 32 0C (89 0F), fermentation is very likely to stop as those temperatures are too high for natural yeasts and undesirable microorganisms might appear that would, again, spoil the final wine.
For grape varietals that do not contain much yeasts or sugars, they can be added to attain the sought-after end product. Skins and pips form a cap on top of the must and tend to dry from this contact with the air entering from the top of the tanks.
To prevent the cap from drying and being exposed to bacteria that could affect the final wine negatively, the must is pumped out and back in at the top of the tank, thereby moistening the cap, oxygenating the wine, and helping the yeasts with the fermentation process.
Vintners stop aerating the must when they decide to stop fermentation, after which a post-fermentation maceration may follow if more color and aromas from the skins and pips are desired. The next step usually involves taking the must to undergo the Secondary or Malolactic Fermentation to reduce the acidity and achieve more flavor complexity by transforming the tart-tasting malic acid into CO2and a softer lactic acid: This is done by adding a pure culture of malolactic bacteria to the must.

In the next article, we will deal with the final steps to red wine production.

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The Institute is dedicated to raising service standards by broadly disseminating the mindset and skills of that time-honored, quintessential service provider, the British Butler, adapted to the needs of modern employers and guests in staffed homes, luxury hotels, resort,  spas, retirement communities, jets, yachts, & cruise ships around the world.

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Butlers in the Bahamas

Disappointment over delays without adequate cause and lost baggage evaporated as the hotel’s  airport greeter  ushered us to the limo outside Nassau’s airport and promised to have our lost bag to us by the end of the day.

Butlers and butler-level service are a welcome pick-me-up or antidote to the increasingly poor service one experiences in other service industries, and only serve to illustrate the truth of trendwatching.com’s proclamation that “Brand Butler” is the most important trend in the corporate world for 2010.

For the majority of us (myself included) who cannot afford butler service, there is a solution: start applying butler mindset and standards to all service industries. As the US manufacturing industry is now something like 9% of GDP, the rest must be service industries. So unless we all want to drown in mutual frustration, it may be time to bring service standards out of the basement.

So I turned in all my old medium format equipment, and older digital stills and video cameras, and was given 5 cents on the dollar,

all of which went toward the purchase of my new Canon 5D Mark II and 28-300 mm lens.

Let the fun begin!

Views from our hotel room.

 

Storm clouds over Paradise Island, Nassau

If a wo/man is as alive as he can communicate, then these butlers are most certainly alive

Some butlers on Paradise Island

 

The engaging and inevitable Bahamian smile—a trainee during a break
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Brand Butler: Infusing the Butler into Hotel Brands

Butlers first began to appear in hotels a quarter of a century ago. However, they have been in service for a millennium and have become synonymous with the highest level of service to employers and guests alike. How butlers reached such giddy heights is not the subject of this article, but how their standards of service are being recognized and adopted as the most important consumer trend in 2010 is what you will find in the following few paragraphs. High-end hospitality providers and those who care to provide superior service will recognize their own standards being validated, and it is to them this article is dedicated.

Despite national media attention, the Ritz Carlton South Beach has had a perennial problem keeping its “Tanning Butlers” over the past seven years that it has offered this service: modeling agencies keep snapping them up.

Hotels interested in attracting the wealthier set have been creative for the last two decades in leveraging the cachet (prestige) of the butler: nanny butler, fireplace butler, technology butler, pool butler, dog butler, and maybe you have others to add. All positions characterized by the offering of a narrowly defined service that has nothing to do with butlers, but the implication being that the same level of service is provided.

At the same time, the International Institute of Modern Butlers, as the guardian, so to speak, of the standards of butling, has been busy decrying this dilution of the butler name into a commercial opportunity. The Institute offered the Hotel Butler Rating system precisely to differentiate the serious efforts of hotels with real butler service from these “wannabes,” so that guests would be clear on the degree of butler service being offered by any hotel they planned to visit.

The irony, however, is that the Institute has also reached beyond the narrow confines of its own profession, and even its cousin, the hospitality industry, with a persistent, and some might say unwelcome, drum beat over the last six years: the need to export the mindset of the butler to all service industries (any business or organization, large or small, whether government bureaucracy, hospital, airline or hotel staffs, etc.)—wherever one person provides another with a product or service—as the biggest-return strategy for improving the service experience and loyalty of clients, guests, customers, patients, etc.

A case of wanting to have one’s cake and eat it, too?

The Butler Goes Mainstream

Perhaps; certainly of a conflicted message of “brand name protection versus promulgation of what the brand stands for.” Fortunately, trendwatching.com helped bring into focus and so resolve these unaligned positions in its April 2010 issue, identifying the most important trend in the consumer world to be Brand Butler. Trendwatching.com’s hundreds of trend watchers in 120 countries actually recognized this emerging trend back in 2007 (when they coined Brand Butler).

How do they define Brand Butler, why is it so important to the corporate and hospitality world, and how does it manifest in, and relate to, the hospitality industry specifically?

Brand Butler is a brand that is brand new and a thousand years in the making. It is the recognition that increasingly, brands are morphing into offering services that assist consumers/clients/guests, rather than the old model of selling them a lifestyle and identity. This translates into less “guff” (the promotion of reverential, soft-focus utopias) and a return to more down-to-earth relationships and practical service offerings. It is the recognition that the butler mindset includes valuable traits in the mind of the consumer, and so of any service or product provider: a high understanding of the client/consumer/guest/patient, a high degree of respect and liking (even for unlikable individuals), and a superior ability to communicate. It is a tried and proven path to the solicitous (showing interest or concern) service that trendwatching.com has highlighted as being the missing ingredient, or the next big breakthrough, in servicing customers, consumers, guests, patients, et al.

In the words of trendwatching.com:

With consumers looking increasingly for control, for convenience, for assistance, and yes, to be cared for (both offline and online), brands need to shift their product development and advertising prowess to brand-consistent services (and an accompanying butlering mindset) that assist consumers in making the most of their daily lives. For brands, this means that there are now endless creative and cost-effective ways to deliver on this need for assistance, for butlers….

“It has never been more important to turn your brand into a service. Jaded, time-poor, pragmatic consumers yearn for service and care…. Basically, if you’re going to embrace one big consumer trend this year, please let it be Brand Butlers… we believe that now is the time to go all-out on ‘serving is the new selling.’”

As a side note, one could ask “why Brand Butler and not Brand Concierge, as concierge is another term that has been adopted by other industries as a flattering descriptor. For instance, Westin introduced Running Concierges a couple of years ago to accompany guests walking around the city. Apart from the obvious alliterative advantage, we can only suggest that butlers have been around longer than concierges and so come more readily to mind when talking of solicitous service.

Looking for Brand Consistency

When trendwatching.com talks of “butler mindset,” however, one may wonder exactly what that is in the corporate world, and hospitality in particular, over and above finding ways to assist the client, customer, guest, or patient “consumer.”

If one simply create applications, policies, and SOPs for employees to implement (such as Adidas’ Tokyo store where customers can use showers, locker rooms, attend workshops, and even design their own shoes or rent running gear), then one may well still be falling short, because the butler mindset is not an app, policy or SOP, but a mindset (that is obviously best supported by apps, policies, and SOPs that are aligned with and reinforce the mindset). A mindset can design something to reflect that mindset, but it requires a mind to have a mindset, and that, in Adidas’ case, would be not just the designer of the services offered, but also the front-line employees providing the services.

In other words, the app developers and managers need to understand and adopt the mindset, in order to then create the apps and SOPs; and beyond that, customer service employees in each company need to understand and adopt the mindset in order to apply the procedures that have been conceived with the butler mindset in mind, and so bring about brand consistency. Which is to say, the trend does not just impact product development and advertising, as outlined by trendwatchers.com, but also the actual service provided when it is person-to-person.

Otherwise, launching Brand Butler as a brand strategy may well result in confused ideas, SOPs, product and service offering design at the front end, and poor service at the back end for lack of extending the Brand Butler concept through to customer service—and therefore a lack of brand consistency that jaded customers will reject as care without soul or passion.

The main challenge in achieving this brand consistency is translating the butler mindset into practice drills, role-playing, and one-on-one procedures that bring about the required mindset and smooth communication skills upon which genuine service is predicated.

For more information on this trend, and examples of services major brands are providing in their pursuit of Brand Butler, see http://trendwatching.com/trends/brandbutlers/

The latest (mid-May) example of Brand Butler that came across my desk(top screen) is Monkey Butlers. The mind boggles, but the nod to butlers comes from Helping Hands: Monkey Helpers For The Disabled, which trains South American Capuchin monkeys, at a cost of $45,000 a head, to help amputees and paralyzed soldiers from the Afghan and Iraqi wars. The vets shine a laser pen at an item and the monkey butler will fetch it (or switch it on, for instance, in the case of a light switch; or open it, in the case of a peanut butter jar, etc.). Assistance on a practical level with an exclamation point.

Hitching onto the Brand Butler Star in Hospitality

Leisure services already see this Brand Butler service-over-sales approach, in such as Ski Butlers (in ten locations across the US), who are front-runners in ski services in the country.

Another recent application of Brand Butler comes from the venerable Lanesborough in Knightsbridge, London, one of the first adopters of real butlers in hotels, which initiated its Picnic Butler in May, 2010 to deliver the “ultimate hassle free picnic” at $400 a pop to “cash-rich, time-poor picnickers.” This, at first blush, would seem to weaken the status of their “Butler Butler,” but it need not. The Picnic Butler lays out the picnic in Hyde Park with crystal glasses, china, rugs, and cloth napkins, serves champagne and dishes such as Cornish poached lobster with Beluga mayonnaise, balotine of truffled foie gras, and Cropwell bishop stilton trifle with pear marmalade and oatmeal sable.

This bright and mouth-watering idea, most probably conceived over some beers by marketing rather than within the bowels of the Lanesborough kitchens, is something they are selling; but it is also, given the solicitous execution (more than the use of the word “butler”) of the service, a Brand Butler-oriented move designed for its particular guest list.

Le Richemond in Switzerland, likewise, recently instituted a “Watch Butler” to indulge the horological aficionados amongst its guests.

Each of these brands elected to use the word “butler” in their newly created titles…a tendency peculiar to hotels in the main. Do we now need to add a suffix to each hotel title: “Receptionist Butler,” “Valet Butler,” “Housekeeping Butler,” etc. in order to signify that we are serious about Brand Butler?

No need to answer this question. It is the actual service that counts, not assertions of service embedded in titles. This issue, however, might well be the next windmill toward which the Institute will tilt its lance.

In the final analysis, not all hotels can afford to, or will find it appropriate to its guest lists, to field a butler department. But they cannot afford to miss out on the Brand Butler trend with the rest of its employees. A genuinely caring mindset is part of the butler mindset, but there is a lot more to understanding and adopting the butler mindset. It is not something that occurs with a few days of ongoing training. But any attention to the subject helps.

Does Brand Butler represent a long stretch for hotels? Not high-end ones, where the effort is always to find something that will make the guest experience more pleasant and desirable. There is the butler in everyone in hospitality—the honesty, the creativity, the caring, the social graces, the phlegmatic (calm disposition); it is rare to find someone with all these qualities who is able to keep them turned on day in, day out, despite all the reasons not to; and rarer still to find the entire team like this. All of which reinforces the value of the butler mindset, and the skills to achieve it, in its various manifestations to hotels and resorts around the world.

Butlers, however, having been at it longer than hotels, may be able to offer pointers to reinforce the existing push.

Copyright © Steven Ferry 2010 All Rights Reserved

This article also appeared in the July 2010 issue of HotelExecutive.com