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.”
“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.