Fourteen Bad Habits
While Holding A Bottle of Wine
When the Wall Street Journal dismissed wine columnists John Brecher and Dorothy Gaiter several years back, many of us were unhappy, asking the question, where do we find bottle of wine recommendations now?
Their replacements were a tag team, Lettie Teague and novelist Jay McInerney who would write twice monthly for Saturday publication. It took some time to sort things out with Jay McInerney dropping off the map (we suspect he ran out of his favorite Bordeaux or Pinot Noir wineries to write about.) Ms. Teague spent some time exploring subjects before she fell into the habit of interviewing New York celebrities and athletes about their wine preferences. Thankfully this style of writing disappeared too and Ms. Teague has found her journalistic legs and she’s running on them. She has been exploring interesting questions in the wine world and is a good read in the Wall Street Journal (the number two stop is Dan Neil’s column on autos, not for the cars per se, but for his writing.)
Ms Teague recently posited on the ‘Seven Habits of Highly Annoying Wine People.’ Of course, we think she missed a few annoying habits and want to add to the list here. You’ll find her list below.
1. Wine Salespeople Who Ask How You’re Enjoying Your Wine, During Your First Sip:
Over anxious salespeople have a tendency to do this, query you during your sip or immediately after, while you’re still parsing the tastes and trying to figure out what you think. We simply don’t know yet, you just poured it in a glass, we just took a sip, give us a minute or two and we’ll figure it out. If we don’t immediately pour into the dump bucket, take that as a good sign. Wine tasting is a personal experience, let us savor the wine. Ask that question when you’re pouring the next wine of the flight.
2. Wine Tasting Rooms Without Spit Cups:
We’ve mentioned this many times, and have come to the point where we will turn around and leave a winery if they cannot provide a spit cup. How difficult is storing some opaque cups behind the bar? After all, we are tasting wine, not drinking wine. We know this runs counter to common behavior, but nonetheless we are visiting to taste wine. Therefore, we don’t want to spoil our palates, we don’t want to become inebriated and there are times when the wine isn’t very good. We simply need to get rid of it. Whether it’s in the glass or our mouth we need someplace to get rid of wine that’s not singing for us. A spittoon or dump bucket may be good for dumping a glass, but we do not want to put face to spittoon and spit. Nor does anybody wish to witness such slovenly behavior.
3. Wine Tasting Rooms Aerating Their Wine, Not Disclosing It, And Sending You Out the Door With Wine And No Aerator:
A marketing ploy to sell wine that’s a little rough around the edges, wineries will aerate their wine, but not mention it, nor offer you a way to do the same with your wine at home. This is simply inappropriate. Wineries should disclose their aeration and talk about how it opens up the wine, to take an opportunity of up selling a customer into another purchase. This way, the wine they consume in the winery is exactly the same experience they’ll have at home.
4. Wine Club Memberships Who Won’t Alter Their Quarterly Shipping To Twice Yearly, To Avoid Shipping Wine In Hot Weather:
Half of the country lives in what you would call the Sunbelt, which means it’s warmer in the second and third quarters of a year. Why do we want our wine bouncing around in the back of a FedEx or UPS truck on a hot June or September day? We don’t. Offer options for shipments in cooler months so our wine is not cooked in the back of the truck. If we’re in a club we want the case, we just don’t want four shipments to achieve that. Make it two shipments.
5. People Who Gulp Wine, Versus People Who Taste Wine at a Winery:
You’ve stood shoulder to shoulder with these people, folks who are just drinking wine. We remember vividly one winery visit, standing next to a fellow who took his glass of wine as a shot glass, and downed the entire 2 ounces in one gulp. The wine barely had a chance to touch his tongue, race past all his sensory devices and swirl down his gullet. This is the extreme, but a manifestation of what some people do at a winery. They’re not there to taste or parse the bottle of wine, they’re there to drink!
The Antithesis of All This Is, The Good Habits Of Good Wine People who will share a taste of their bottle of wine, without trying to convert you into a fan. We could go on for awhile about this but why? Thanks to anybody who has offered us a sip of their wine because they enjoy it, and they know we enjoy wines!
6. People Who Love a Particular Bottle of Wine, or a Particular Winery, And Feel the Need to Convert You:
You know these people, they’re in love with a bottle wine and they think you should also love the wine. We all have egos and we all have the need for love and to be loved, but wine is a very personal thing. The wine we love may not be the wine you love. That’s why we never pan a wine in our columns, we simply share what we enjoyed and let you make decisions for you. Your palate is different, our palate is different. If you like butter beans, and we don’t, why would we enjoy similar wine? Thusly, you should share your wine, and let the wine do its own work.
7. Wine Store Salespeople Who Recommend A Bottle of Wine, Without Asking Any Questions About Your Palate Preference:
Many of the philosophies stated above come into play here. It’s hard to recommend a bottle of wine without an understanding of the consumers palate. Yet, many wine store salespeople will point to a bottle of wine saying, “The manager and I really enjoy this wine, I’ll bet you will too!” That may be, but you also may enjoy coffee black, no cream or sugar. And if you do, we’re not going to enjoy the bottles of wine you like. On the other end of the spectrum, if you drink tea with cream and sugar, we’re not going to like the same bottle of wine. Wine store salespeople asking those simple questions, coffee or tea, creamer and sugar, can guide you to a bottle of wine you may enjoy.
The Antithesis of This Is, The Good Habits Of Good Wine People:
These people will share a taste of their bottle of wine, without trying to convert you into a fan. We could go on for awhile about this but why? Thanks to anybody who has offered us a sip of their wine because they enjoy it, and they know we enjoy wines!
Bill Hodge & Erin O’Neill-Hodge enjoy a good bottle of wine, visiting and enjoying California wineries from Lake County to Orange County, from the Paso Robles Gold Coast to Gold Country and from Lodi to Temecula.
Wine Dumping Waiters-Fill It up Baby!
Curated Wine Lists-Important Lists of Wine
Pseudo-Collectors-I Don’t Drink the Stuff, But It’s Worth a Bunch
Wine Served at the Wrong Temperature-Too Cold White, Too Room Temperature Reds
Wine Shops That Rely on Scores-What Does Parker Think?
Tasting Room Staff Who Tell You What You’re about to Taste-You’ll Notice the Taste of Tar & Berries
Too Many Wine Educators-I Know Everything, Just Ask