Tuesday, December 11, 2007

things we hate about wine tastings

The enjoyment of one of the huge wine tastings - ZAP, Family Winemakers etc - largely depends on which side of the table you are standing. The pleasure, when you are pouring, is to meet the people who love your wines. It gives us a chance to tell our story, explain what makes us unique and to make new, and sometimes, as in the case of the New Orleans faction, lifelong friends. BUT, after standing on cold cement for five or six hours one can lose his/her sense of humor as the day wears on and those on the receiving side of the table have now been drinking for the same five or six hours. So, here are some of the things that REALLY annoy those of us who have shown up at an event, paid to be there and are donating our wines and time.

PLEASE don't say:
"What is your best wine?"
"Did you bring anything good?"
"What is your favorite wine?"
"Do you have any white zinfandel?"
"Go ahead and fill up my glass so I don't have to keep coming back."
"Can I have a bottle?"
"I've never heard of you." (we've never heard of you either)

don't wear perfume/cologne
If you are spitting please do it close to the bucket so our literature isn't splashed
don't leave your dirty dishes on our table
don't talk on your cell phone at our table
listen to your friends when they tell you that you've had enough

You must have a list of the things that vintners do while pouring that bother you as well. Let us know what they are.


Anonymous said...

well done on the list. I'd say there is only one thing I don't like to hear from winemakers/wine reps behind the table...

- "you should be tasting bing cherry, overheated oil..." -- don't tell me what to taste

Anonymous said...

It was a great pleasure to meet Thrace and Gustavo in Napa for the 4th of July weekend.

I met them at their booth during the Thursday evening Chefs Market downtown Napa. It was there that I tasted a wonderful Cab that Gustavo brilliantly mastered with their grapes in 2004.

They are a great team and their new tasting room that Thrace is decorating near the Oxbow Market will be a great setting for tasting their great vintages.

When my newly acquired case of the 2003/2004 Cab runs short, I'll be heading back to Napa to fill the wine racks.

Dave Johnson
Reno, NV

Anonymous said...

This cracked me up. Reminds me of dumb things I have heard that people ask in tasting rooms, the best of which is "Do you have any grape flavored wine?"

Just dropped in at two local wineries where we belong to the club to pick up shipments. If you are asking what is annoying from the customer side of the bar, it's getting treated like an annoyance and getting a stingy pour. Makes me want to say "Hey look, I'm signed up for your club! I'm not just passing through looking for a freebie!" Maybe I need to change one of my wine club memberships to...I don't know, have any ideas?

Allen said...

Easily the worst thing that pourers do has already been mentioned - it's quite annoying to have someone tell you what you should be tasting in the wine. The only other things I'd mention are not specific to the pourer but to the organizers or whoever sets up the tasting station. Number one on the list is too few pourers to the number of wines they have, or even the number of tasters. Makes for lots of unhappy people waiting way too long for a taste. Second biggest failing is too few dump buckets. Fewer tasters would be toasted by the end if there was better access to something to spit in or dump excess.

The best tasting I've ever been to (twice) is the biennial Wine Australia in Sydney. They place 4-ft. tall cardboard boxes (with nicely printed show logos) in the wide aisles, lined with heavy-duty trash bags. You get your taste, move away from the table so others can get in, taste, spit & dump, record a note. Heaven.