Get In Line. Take A Number.

I recently took a position on the sales team of  a Napa-based winery. Part of my new duties includes showcasing their wines at various retail outlets in the Bay Area. In addition to presenting the wines and telling passers-by something about the winery and its history, I also act as a wine department factotum, speaking to customers about wines other than our own and answering any wine questions whenever possible. It’s quite a bit of standing around — six hours on your feet, few if any breaks –but it’s also quite a bit of fun, with more than a few interesting conversations to move the day along.

Last week I was chatting up customers when a fellow walked by and began to examine the wines on display and their accompanying information sheets.

“This 2008 doesn’t have a rating,” he pointed out.

“No,” I said, “not all of the ’08s have been reviewed. If you look around at many of the ’08s on sale here,  you’ll see that’s the case.”

“It should have a rating,” he insisted.

“Yes, that would be helpful,” I agreed. “You know, I’ve been working for this winery for only a few days, but I’ve been drinking this wine for eight or nine years, almost since it first came out. Let me tell you something about it.”

“You’re biased.”

“To be honest, I don’t make any more money, really, if you buy this wine. But I’ve been a fan of this, as I said, for years. I enjoy drinking it. I think it’s a great bargain for the price. Look, I wouldn’t drink it if it wasn’t any good. And, I wouldn’t encourage you to try it if I didn’t really feel this way.”

“It should have a rating,” he said, walking away.

Do you know folks who are points sluts, who can’t buy a wine unless it’s been anointed with some magic number by Bacchus’s acolytes, who moonlight as wine writers for glossy magazines? If you can explain what’s behind this, or how to cure family and friends from this horrible disease, I’d love to hear.

4 thoughts on “Get In Line. Take A Number.

  1. clabbermouth

    Hi Tom,

    Thanks for welcoming me to the bloggy world. Sounds like an awesome new job. I’ll be biking through the area next summer, so if you’ve got a place in Napa where I can park my bicycle, I’d love to see the winery!


    1. Tom Riley

      Kate, we’re in Alameda, CA — check us out on GoogleEarth. You can definitely park your bike here. We’re happy to be a stop along your way. If you have companions, they are welcome as well. If you’re dad led you to believe that I have a winery, please convince him otherwise. I do, though, have a wine cellar, and many of the wines come from vineyards that are either biodynamic or organic, all of them sustainably farmed. Maybe we can take your food knowledge up a notch while you are here! Best of luck with the new blog, and thanks for the supportive encouragement of my daughter, Katie. Your note really made her day. All the best, Tom

  2. David

    What’s behind the rating sluts? It makes you an “instant expert”. As in, “See I know what good wine tastes like because someone else validated it for me first”. Our whole culture is this way from movies to music to restaurants. People forget that opinion is not fact.

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