Life with wine doesn’t always revolve around tasting/scoring wines, wine education and covering events; now and then I’m able to take a moment and contemplate the world of wine for myself and my wine 101ers – but usually because something is really bugging me, like my recent article, Disservice to the Wine Community: Bringing Wine to a Restaurant Shouldn’t Necessitate Insult (and all you need to know about corkage fees), today’s article tackles the next worst thing after snobby somms and that’s snobby aficionados.
Self Proclaimed Aficionados
Have you ever found yourself on the losing end of a discussion with a person that considers himself or herself more fluent on wine? I’m the first one to bow (not literally) to someone’s pedigree if they are a wine educator, winemaker, wine representative or wine store owner. Never would dawn on me to challenge them. But when I’m in a conversation with a regular wine Joe, so to speak, why do some feel the need to drop cult winery names, experiences, and then to go so far as to challenge you to agree with them?
I have ONE acquaintance like that. I’ve spent YEARS trying to reach him; reach him in a way as to gently show him that it isn’t always about the cost of the bottle that sets a wine apart, or a cult status, or the foreign ground the winery was on. You know what I finally did? I threw in the towel. Figured I would no longer engage this person. Life is too short to drink bad wine, as they say, or have a bad wine experience. Cut your losses if this ever happens to you. Period.
Jerks at Tastings
This time I can think of at least three gentlemen, and I use that term loosely, that turn up their noses at some of the winery tables at wine events. That happens, we all have a right to our opinions, but we should keep those opinions to ourselves as they are just that: a singular opinion. Don’t dis a winery, period.
And, if you happen to be sitting next to a lady, don’t lean over to her, drink from her water glass and tell her that her perfume is interfering with your tasting. Happened to me once. I informed the joker I don’t wear perfume, he grunted, then I asked to return my water glass, to which he offered no apology. In the words of Nicole Kidman, as Samantha in Bewitched, to her Darren: don’t be “a jerk.”
Wine Shop Personnel
People, novices especially, have difficulty in a wine shop. They may need the opinion of an expert – that may even be why they came in. But I’ve seen customers ignored by employees, maybe even “wine judged” as they may not look like the type of person to really spend on wine. Please. Get over yourself. You are in the service industry, supply the service.
Burnt Out Winery Staff
Have you ever been in a winery where a tasting sheet is set in front of you, a splash is poured, only to be left to your own devices? It happens, and in defense of wineries it may be only because of a large crowd. What’s worse, is if the staff makes you feel ill-prepared, say for instance if you are not a member or didn’t make a reservation. These things can be handled with tact. The last thing you want is an unhappy wine taster leaving with a bad taste in their mouth. They are more than likely to share the experience…on social media.
Insulting Wine Writers
Reading a lot of wine periodicals I rarely see columns like this one that attempts to make the experience for the wine lover any better. What I do see, is the same snobbery in full force picking over the ill-educated taster, criticizing them for a lack of wine knowledge, proper pronunciation of varieties and/or being bothered that they may photograph their wine or wine and food pairing. Get over yourselves.
Eve Bushman has a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust, a “certification in first globally-recognized course” as an American Wine Specialist ® from the North American Sommelier Association (NASA), was the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video, authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone” and has served as a judge for the Long Beach Grand Cru. You can email Eve@EveWine101.com to ask a question about wine or spirits. You can also seek her marketing advice via Eve@EveBushmanConsulting.com