I don’t care about knowing about wine. But I do care about looking like I know about wine. We all do. So we have to pretend, like our friend that went to Napa and came back like some sort of half-grape half-man wine-centaur aficionado. Listen here, Jake. You didn’t go to Napa and learn about wine, you just blacked out in a different part of the country than you normally do. Jake is the same insufferable guy that comes back from study abroad in Italy and tells you how much better gelato is than ice cream, and how the Italians enjoy life sooo much more than Americans. That’s probably why their unemployment rate is 12.4%, Jake.
Side note: Why do so many people go to Napa for wine tours? You don’t see people traveling the world for pork tenderloin tours. “My husband and I rented this gorgeous little bed and breakfast just down the road from the North Carolina Slaughterhouses…The trip was simply fabulous.”
I’m getting off track. Like I said I don’t care about knowing about wine, but like Jake, I do care about looking like I know about wine. That’s why I’ve invented a foolproof 4-step system for ordering wine. You see, you are at your most vulnerable when you are ordering wine. And if you’re at a work dinner, the stakes are even higher. Once false move, like asking the waiter for his personal recommendation, or forgetting to sniff your wine like a bloodhound, and your work colleagues will quickly expose you for your lack of wine knowledge. From that moment on your peers will shun you. You’ll be regarded as nothing more than a simple plebeian and will likely be fired within the month.
But do not fret. If you ever find yourself in the position of ordering wine in front of you colleagues, this is what you do:
The Imposter’s 4-Step System for Ordering Wine
You immediately grab the wine list and announce to the table that you prefer red wine and ask if anyone wants anything different. Everyone will agree with a red and you proceed to step 2.
You scroll through the wine list finding the cheapest bottle; you immediately delete it as a candidate (you don’t want to look like the poor guy at Capitol Grill). You do the same with the next cheapest bottle. You find the next 2 cheapest bottles- one is from California, and the other is from Australia. You announce to the table that you’ve always preferred California wines but there’s an Australian brand you’re familiar with and that it’s delicious. You aren’t and it’s not. Nobody questions you. You ask if the Australian Triple Tailed Cockatoo Shiraz is fine with everyone. Nobody knows what the fuck it is. Everyone nods. It’s fine. You order it.
*Remember you always order the 4th cheapest bottle of red wine every time. The cheapest bottle on the menu is $48; the one you choose is $57. They both retail for $16.50 but that’s not the fucking point. The point is you have a plan, it always works and you’re sticking to it.
The bottle arrives. You inspect the bottle as if you’re hoping something’s wrong with it. You hold the bottle confidently in one hand and squint at it ostentatiously. Nothing’s wrong with it. You keep looking at it, you count to three Mississippi, you look up at the waiter, you hold your gaze – make it weird, you look back at the bottle, now back at the waiter, you glance swiftly at everyone around the table, you nod. You kindly allow the waiter to uncork the bottle and do the cool twisty pour thing they do in nice places.
The wine slave pours the drink; this is your time to shine. Show everyone how to taste this Triple Tailed Cockatoo. You sniff it like a drug dog, you swirl it on the table, you twirl it in the air, you whirl it in your mouth. You put the glass down. You move your mouth like a cow. You smack your lips together. You act disappointed in the wine but really you know its fine. You mumble softly, “this will do.” So softly in fact, that the waiter has to ask “is this fine?” You say “yes.” This makes it appear as if you know a ton about wine and think this wine is only decent, but that you’re also a nice guy and have decided not to send it back.
This shields you! If someone doesn’t like the wine, they’ll think, “well, neither did he, he just didn’t want to send it back.” If someone loves the wine, they’ll think, “If he only thinks this is mediocre then maybe I have poor taste!”
In the end, you’ll be the bell of the ball and your peers will think you’re some type of sommelier, a true grape master. But really, they’ve just been had by the imposter’s 4-step system to ordering wine..