The other day I was reminded of the first time I had been asked to select wine for others. And it was over 25 years ago. My friend Timmy D, an executive in the TV industry, asked me to attend an awards luncheon with him as his guest. I thought, cool, haven’t done that before.
We were seated in a circle, a group of about ten or twelve, and handed the menu of what we would be served. I don’t recall any choices, there was amuse bouche, a salad, our entrée and a dessert, if I recall correctly. Luckily there was an accompanying wine list with a dozen or so choices. I was tickled to look that over, and even more tickled when Timmy asked me to select the wine for the group!
(When I think back I think, bravo Tim. He hadn’t asked the group if they would like me to select their wine, and as he was a busy executive on a popular series, I’m sure he hadn’t taken the time beforehand to tell his crew about me. Not even sure, now that I think about it, if there wasn’t someone else seated at that round table better equipped than I.)
To this day I have no idea what the rest of the table thought of this 20-something tall blond Amazon, that was unknown by all, and why I had been tasked with this duty. I think Timmy just told them that I was some kind of a wine lover, at that time avidly reading every issue of Wine Spectator from cover to cover – an annual gift courtesy Timmy. I wasn’t yet writing about, or seriously studying, wine.
To this day I also don’t recall what wine I ordered but I do remember studying the food menu with the wine list, asking the guests what their preferences were, and selecting the bottles.
The show itself was a blur, literally, as I had forgotten to bring my eyeglasses. I dimly remember Steven Segal striding across the stage, and only recognized him because you could see his staggeringly tall frame and his signature slicked back ponytail from any distance! My thrill was being at that table, and for one brief moment, being the one in command, not Segal.
The wine came. The food came. Both were consumed with many nods, agreeing that the pairing was quite tasty. This was thrilling for me!
I will never forget this day, and how Timmy and the rest of his associates at the table made me feel. It may have been one of many moments that made me want to devote myself 100% to wine. It certainly pushed me forward to wanting to taste more, experience more, and do more with wine.
Do you remember your first experience taking command of a situation – involving wine?
Eve Bushman has a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET), a “certification in first globally-recognized course” as an American Wine Specialist ® from the North American Sommelier Association (NASA), Level 1 Sake Award from WSET, was the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video (over 16k views), authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone” and has served as a judge for the Long Beach Grand Cru and the Global Wine Awards. You can email Eve@EveWine101.com to ask a question about wine or spirits.