Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar, a national chain with a local branch in Coral Gables, has come up with an innovative idea: A Web site that takes viewers on a virtual tour of five esteemed vineyards that provide the restaurant with some of its exceptional wines. The voyage is hosted by Fleming’s Director of Wine, Marian Jansen op de Haar, and includes sweeping vistas of the vineyards and extended clips of acclaimed wine makers discussing the nuances of production – from grape selection to label design. Winery reps are Augustin Huneeus of Quintessa, Michael Scholz of Wattle Creek, Tom Selfridge of Hess Collection, Don Hartford of Hartford Family Winery and Skip Smith of Gloria Ferrer, each explaining a different varietal or technique.
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The site was created by Night Agency, a New York-based digital advertising shop. Partner Darren Paul notes how restaurants have neglected to take advantage of the Web “in any meaningful way that goes beyond digitizing their menus.” He's got that right. How about a video with the pastry chef explaining how he or she creates the tiramisu, or the head chef giving a kitchen tour and describing menu items in a more insightful manner than a written description can? The possibilities are limitless, and hopefully we’ll see some explored now that Fleming’s has uncorked the internet bottle. -- Lee Klein