Thursday, September 26, 2013

Do you want me to hate you? or what not to say in the tasting room.

Our tasting room 'wine wench' was seeking a partridge in a pear tree when she fell from the ladder and shattered her forearm, so I have been working tasting room a lot lately. Most people are nice and considerate and fun to talk to, but the few that aren't drive me to go into the back room to look at the sign that says, “My face hurts from pretending to like you.” Here are some of the things not to say.

“I'm just tasting today. I'll be back tomorrow to buy.” You are lying. You are an outright liar. Tomorrow, you won't even remember the name of the wineries you visited today, let alone drive all the way back out here from Yakima, Prosser, or the Tri-cities to buy a bottle of wine. Are you trying to make me feel good? Well, you are not. You are making me hate you. Oh yes, it did happen once. The person did come back and buy, but it is better to surprise me than make me hate you for 24 hours.

“We're just getting started, so we're not buying now.” Oh, I get it. You are going to taste Chardonnay flavor, Cabernet flavor, Riesling flavor, and Cola flavor and you are going to buy a bottle of the flavor you like best at the last winery you visit at the end of the day. Thanks for nothing. Why not just say “thank you” for wasting the last hour of my time and get out of my face.

“I didn't find anything that turned me on.” Am I missing something here? Are you looking for an aphrodisiac or wine? There are some hookers on First Street, why don't you find one and see what she can do for you. I doubt if she will give samples away for free like I did. Or just stop by a porn shop and save me time to work with real customers.

“Well, that's really different.” No, it really isn't. I have judged hundreds of wines and that wine is not 'really different.' It is varietally correct and not flawed. Perhaps you had a wine with high volatile acidity at the last winery or perhaps a lot of brettanomyces. Maybe it was the gum you were chewing when you walked in. I guess then it might be really different, but your comment shows more ignorance than insight.

“We're from Canada and can't take anything home with us.” Yes you can. If you go into BC, you can take two bottles without paying tax and duty. You can declare your purchase pay tax and duty. If you go into AB, you can take about 3 cases with you and pay minimal tax. You can also drink it here in the 'Sunny Soothlund.' Drink it in your hotel room. Take it to dinner and pay the corkage fee (Yakima has a corkage-free zone for locally purchased wine). I think you really meant to say you are a cheapskate. Lots of Canadians do buy wine.

“What's your best wine?” Well, our only good wine is the Sunset pink table wine. The rest is just crap we bottle. I was suckered on this one a long time ago. I poured our Cabernet. The woman puckered up badly and exclaimed, “don't you have anything sweeter?” The answer is always the same, “The wine you like best is our best wine.” so don't ask or I might just pour you Sunset, our answer to White Zin. It might be a good guess or a bad one if you expected our $40 Cab Sauv.

“I'm looking for big reds.” You just ran your finger nails across the blackboard. So what does that mean? You want alcohol over 15%? You want no noticeable tannins? Flabby, with no acid? A sweetness on the palate? Lack of varietal character? Overripe raisin/jammy flavors? Sorry, we don't make cocktails, we make wine - a food product that is made to go with food. What you should have said is, “I haven't a clue, but I think I'll impress you by saying 'big reds.'” or “I only drink wine Robert Parker says is good.”

“Well, I didn't like that!” Keep your trap shut and your opinions to yourself. I'd rather not know than hate you. I'm going into the back look and look at the sign.

The people who don't pay the reserve wine tasting fee of $5 up front and walk away from the counter like they are going to select a wine to buy, then sneak out the door when you aren't looking. You are basically a shop lifter, a crook, I'd like to see you rot in jail.

If you work in a tasting room, please share your 'favorite' customers.