An acquaintance of mine (not in the wine business) is taking a wine class at the local college and one of her classmates told a story to the class. The classmate works in a tasting room and was telling the class about some customers who came from Utah on vacation to California. The classmate started making fun of the customers, saying they did not know anything about wine and that they got excited about some sparkling wine poured for them, that the classmate did not think was very good.
It turns out that the winery did not usually make sparkling wine but they had some extra Chardonnay grapes. The classmate said that the people really liked the sparkling wine and bought a case of the wine, when really they should have bought the other wines that were much better. The person seemed somewhat disgusted with those customers for their lack of knowledge about wine. Interestingly enough, others in the class seemed to agree with her and applauded.
I am disheartened by this story and wonder how many people actually go to work in tasting rooms so they can feel superior to people who don’t know anything about wine. There might be more than I am willing to believe there are, based on the number of times I see or hear about servers treating people disrespectfully because they don’t know (what the server thinks is enough) about wine. If someone were to laugh at all the things that I don’t know, I could be laughed right out of California and halfway across the country – and this is a big country.
Perhaps the classmate didn’t mean any harm and was just enjoying having an audience. But another classmate (my acquaintance) will not be going in that winery any time soon – nor will she encourage her friends to go -, because she might feel she doesn’t know a lot about wine either, and doesn’t want to be made fun of.
We never know the ripples we might be causing that lead to lost customers and lost sales…
A tip of the glass from me to you!