We are fortunate to have several wine shops in our area that often host free wine tastings. The spring season sparks some interest in tasting new wines.
Whenever we have a free weekend and our wine rack needs a bottle or two we take a field trip. This weekend we had a chance to stop by for one of the tastings. It was a spring fling and there was a lot of activity.
There were way too many wines to taste and with the big crowd it was a little difficult to navigate. It was an experience and a lot of fun until I came across the Big Kahuna Wine Snob Salesman.
It was quite crowded in the store and as I was waiting in line I was chatting with the others and listening to the questions being asked. There’s always a lot to learn from Q&A.
I noticed one salesman in particular did not seem very interested in any of the questions he was asked. His responses were snide remarks and some were borderline rude. He didn’t answer any of the questions specifically. If he were on a witness stand the judge would give him a warning to answer the question or be held in contempt of court.
When my turn finally came and the salesman began pouring I simply asked him what I would be tasting. I thought it was a fair question since all his bottles were wrapped in towels and it was not obvious as to what wine he was pouring.
As were his other responses, he gave me a short and curt ‘Spain’s answer to Champagne’. I looked at him puzzled hoping he would offer more information, but he just stood and stared blankly not making eye contact.
I didn’t know how to respond so I just took the glass and walked away. One sale less for this guy. I would not call him a salesman. I don’t think he could have been anything else except a big “wine snob” — salesman was not even on the list.
Most of the other salesmen were offering their wine’s tasting notes and giving tips on how to serve the wine and what foods would be the best pairings. This is usually the norm with in-store wine tastings. After all, these guys want to sell their wines, not make enemies.
Mr. Big Kahuna Wine Snob salesman was very different from all the others. He was not out to share his knowledge with the masses. Having his bottles covered made it clear since it was obvious this wasn’t a blind tasting event.
The Big Kahuna Wine Snob salesman should assume each taster has a need to know what he/she is tasting and not assume everyone knows “all” there is to know about his wines or any wine for that matter. He should be giving as much information to each taster which is one of the reasons to attend tastings.
I would be remiss if I ended this post without saying that Spain’s answer to Champagne is a Spanish Cava which is a very popular sparkling wine. There are many bubbly, sparkling wines made around the world however they cannot be labeled as Champagne. French “Champagne” is made in the one and only region in France called Champagne.
Some of the sparkling wines made in various regions around the globe have their own distinctive name: Crémant is from France, Sekt is from Germany, Spumante is from Italy and as previously mentioned Cava is from Spain.
Mr. Big Kahuna Wine Snob is actually the first snob I’ve experienced in a retail environment. He was not being wine-tasting friendly to tasters and shoppers who deserved common courtesy.
It’s not fun to come across a snob in any environment, but they are out there. Don’t be intimidated by them. As snobs they have a need to feel superior. The best revenge is to ignore them and not feed their ego.