I’m a winemaker. That’s my job. How I got to this position is a story unto itself but I’ll spare you the details for now. I’ve been working in the wine industry part-time for years, and have been really active the last two years. I’ve since graduated it’s become a full-time gig. Prior to these last two years, it’s been all rainbows and butterflies.
But now I’ve been introduced to a new hell — wine tastings.
Wine tastings are the worst. It’s two consecutive days of shoveling the same shitty spiel into wide-eyed rat-racers that just gobble it all up. Now don’t get me wrong, I love going to other wineries, tasting what they have and relaxing. But that’s the thing. If you’re on that side of the counter? It’s a great time. If you’re on the service side of the counter, it’s a whole different story. A good chunk of the time you just get your run-of-the-mill hoity-toity trophy wives, but it doesn’t end there.
The Bachelorette Party
These fall into one of two categories. Either they’re an older group, or it’s a complete and ratchet shitshow. There is no happy medium. You know what. I’m also going to throw “large groups of friends” into this category too, because more often than not they involve a large group just trying to get as blasted as possible while being completely obnoxious.
These are my favorite. They keep things interesting. The only thing I don’t like about these is that there’s always that one killjoy that either doesn’t want to be there or (especially in bachelorette parties) is hardcore assuming the mother hen role.
Because I’m the youngest one working the wine bar, I often get assigned to these groups and love it. My favorite was when a bachelorette party rolled up with a party bus and a chaser car that had the photographers (yes, plural) in it. They had a drone taking aerial video of the entire tasting while they one-upped each other doing raunchy poses. But my least favorite was when a group of degenerates I went to high school with came and smashed all the decorative pumpkins in the vineyard after drinking a whole case of wine. Keep it classy, Class of 2011.
We get it. You’ve been to Tuscany, Napa, Chile, and Bordeaux. You took some bullshit “Intro To Being A Sommelier” (pro-wine taster) course at the Ramada Inn and apparently now know how to appreciate a good wine. Snaps for you. Do you want an award? Often times these folks don’t like anything you have and critique the wine as being too “something.” They’re the ones that play the “let’s stump the wine attendant” game to try and impress their friends or inflate their little ego. Congratulations, you’re the reason we can’t have nice things.
I used to love when bullshitters would come and try to impress those with them. Because let’s be honest here, no one is a better bullshitter than me. I’d get a kick out of correcting them and making them look like idiots. But you know what? I’ve come to realize that at least some of these people are trying to learn something at the tastings they go to. The one instance that blares in my head of a bullshitter is a guy that came for a tasting no less than five times this past year. Each time, he had a different girl with him and each time he got better at memorizing our spiels until he could then tell all the useless little factoids we had about each wine to his latest pursuit.
Ahhh, the spitter. Just like how I hated them in college, I’ve come to hate spitters even more so now. I know it’s the “California way of doing it,” but honestly, if you’re visiting a winery anywhere else in the U.S. it’s proper etiquette to just drink it. The Spitter is similar to The Know-It-All, but a lot of the time these people sneer at you and claim all the wine tastes like vinegar until you get to the sweet wines that could probably give you diabetes after just two glasses. Big groups like Spitters because it means they get to then drink that person’s pour.
Besides, spitting out wine? That’s alcohol abuse.
The most engaging of all our lovely patrons. These folks find romance in drinking and staring longingly into each other’s eyes.
Okay, fine, that’s like 1% of the couples I see. The other 99% involve one getting smashed and the other turning into a designated driver teetering on the edge while also calming down their three kids and rescued designer dog. Now that’s the American Dream. .
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