‘Tis the season for bubbles! Which, by the way, really pisses me off. People… SPARKLING WINE SHOULD NOT HAVE A SEASON. It tastes just as good every day of the year, but my sales of Champagne are nearly non-existent until late November, and today I have three appointments to discuss Champagne orders for the upcoming New Year’s Eve dinner service. I might have to save this particular rant for another post, because I just deleted three off-topic paragraphs of my own LET’S ALL DRINK MORE SPARKLING WINE drivel when I’m really here to post someone else’s submission with this plea: LET’S ALL STOP SABERING BOTTLES. 

It’s true, even I’m getting a little tired of the sabering phenomenon… I, who had a butcher knife wrestled from my hands a year ago at a friends’ wedding after sabering 6 bottles of their toasting sparkling wine, and then just switched to a butter knife. And when all the sparkling wines had been sabered, I switched to beer bottles, upon request. YOU COULDN’T STOP THIS GIRL FROM SABERING. I submit to you as evidence the following videos:

The Butcher Knife and The Butter Knife. Can I please give a disclaimer that I was quite tipsy at this point? And that I was at a backyard wedding in Tahoe, hence the hippy dress? By the way, my hippy dress (titled Dandelion Days) was made by the wonderfully talented Trudy from Poppy Von Frolich. Go give her some love. 

But I’m over it… the sabering that is, not the dress. Two months ago I sat on a panel at a sparkling wine symposium, and I didn’t realize the name of the panel was “How To Saber”. I thought I was going to be speaking about grower Champagne and Sparkling Wine as an everyday beverage. Instead it was all on the history and how-to of lopping off the top of a bottle of bubs. Ironically, this Wine Rep-submitted post had arrived in my neglected Dear Winebuyer Inbox just one week before…

(Note: letters from The REPublic are reader-submitted and anonymous, unless otherwise requested)

I see a new trend among wine buyers (I can’t call a twenty something with little to no real life experience a somm)

In hopes to steal back some of the limelight from their shake weight shuffling mixologists, buyers have taken on sabering as their way to exhibit ‘flair’.

Pathetic? yes. Wasteful of perfectly good wine? yes.  Disrespectful to the winemaker and the tradition of sparkling wine? check.

 

What to do?

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On “going public”…

December 15, 2014 · 0 comments

Dear Everyone,

Why hello… Man, it has been a while, hasn’t it? Sorry about that.

I got an email a few months back. “Are you still there?” it asked. Yes, still here. Still selling wines, although today I’m chasing money from the cozy and warm safety of my home office.

At some point in time, as I quietly faded away here, I also quietly began “outting” myself to friends and colleagues. I put the Dear Winebuyer link on my personal Instagram account. I sent a link to the “Supplier Work With Do’s and Don’ts'” post to a new winemaker friend who was nervous about his first time working the market with his local sales rep. A lengthy conversation with colleagues about wine sales might lead to “I used to have this anonymous blog called Dear Winebuyer…” And finally I’ve decided to have the same conversation here.

So, I used to have this anonymous blog. And I loved the outlet it gave me, it was so freeing to have a platform to vent, and to engage in conversations with buyers, reps, suppliers and winemakers alike about our frustrations and triumphs in the daily battle known as “WINE SALES”. It always thrilled me when someone brought it up to me, “have you seen this website? You would love it.” Once I was sitting with a group of wine professionals I greatly admire and respect who were in town from across the country. My blog came up in conversation (not brought up by yours truly, mind you), and they even went so far as to quote one of my posts, not knowing that the author of those words was sitting right next to them. Seriously, I almost died. But I kept my mouth shut. And I loved hearing from fellow wine reps with your own Dear Winebuyer letters. So yeah, it was pretty great.

But at the same time, it was daunting and a little exhausting to try to change details in each post so no one would figure out where I was, who I work for, which buyer I was bitching about, and exactly what wines I represent. And as more people began guessing my identity, I began writing less to prevent unwittingly exposing myself. I felt as if I had to change more and more details so that the posts no longer accurately represented my own daily experience on the streets.

I miss writing here. So maybe I can continue this dialog in a slightly less caustic tone. And I can let you in on more of my own life without fear of losing my job… I don’t know how specific I need to get. I really don’t want to make a whole “About Me” post or anything like that. I don’t even know if anyone follows this thing anymore. So, if you have questions, maybe I’ll answer them in the comments. And hopefully you’ll be hearing more from me because I always have lots to say.

Best,

winerep

ps: it seemed strange to even leave my own name here. apparently this is going to be a slow transition.

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trade tasting!

February 27, 2014 · 0 comments

notes

So sometimes I take notes so I don’t forget things. And then sometimes, even with the aid of these notes, I still forget things.

I found this list deep in my Notes app. This was from a sparkling wine trade tasting I poured at last year. All of the goings on between somms and servers, all of the ridiculous exchanges, all of the posturing and pomp, all of my pet peeves all crowded together in one place, at one time.

Let’s break it down real quick…

-I have no idea why I noted lemon peel here. I do know that someone asked me whether or not the ice consistency had anything to do with keeping the wines at the right temperature. Yes, that was an actual conversation I had.

-I love it when people roll their eyes or act annoyed when I can’t understand what wine they’re asking me to pour. I get requests for the wine by region, by producer, by vintage, by producer, by number… At any given time, there are usually 10 to 12 wines in front of me… I wish we could come up with some consistency here. And if you can’t correctly pronounce the wine, don’t butcher it and then expect me to know what you’re mumbling. Just ask for the number on your sheet. Also, move the sheet away from your mouth so I can hear what the hell you’re saying.

-Please, PLEASE don’t wear perfume or cologne or aftershave to tastings. I’d rather smell your natural body odor, honestly, than Chanel No. 5 or Axe Body. There is nothing more off-putting and jarring to me than artificial scents at a trade tasting.

-There was a bottling with an overtly pretty pink label at this particular tasting, and one man  (who had previously called me “babe” when he asked for Wine Number 43) told me it would be a great wine to promote “breast awareness”. Not my buyer, so I said to him that, most likely, breast awareness does not need promotion… that I was sure he was fully aware of breasts already, BABE.

-I saw another man pour his dump cup in the water pitcher by accident… he realized what he had done… looked around to see if anyone had seen him… and then walked nonchalantly away from the crime.

-I had multiple people ask me where I got my dress that day, so I consider that a good dress.  (That was meant more as a note to self)

-I don’t know what the multiple books comment was about. I can’t recall.

-You know those 3 minutes when you’ve pushed your glass in front of me, then you suddenly can’t decide which wine to try? Those are minutes of my life that I can’t have back. And then you ask me which one is my favorite… I will pour you the wine closest to my right hand.

-Why do some people feel like they have to dress up for these things? Red cowboy boots, white leggings with lace peek-a-boo cut-outs, leopard print… Leave your fashion statement at home.

-Ugh… the pins. So many pins. You’re at a trade tasting, so we can assume that you know something about wine and that you have at least some credentials behind you, even if those include clawing your way up from busboy to winebuyer. I don’t care if it’s MW or Level One WSET… YOU CAN LEAVE YOUR PIN AT HOME.

-And inevitably, a few really stupid questions. My favorite was a pinhead who asked how much Pinot Noir was in the Blanc de Blancs he was tasting. And it wasn’t that he didn’t realize what was in the glass. His words were, “How much Pinot Noir is in the Blanc de Blancs this year?”

-And lastly, please don’t expect to engage in lengthy discussions with me about disgorgement, soils, and dosage at this very moment… make a note and ask your rep at a later time when we’re not pouring for hundreds of people.

Reps and buyers alike, got any trade tasting etiquette to share or stories to tell?

 

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SMS txt… i get by with a little help from my friends

February 26, 2014

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conversation hearts

February 25, 2014

Monday, February 17, 2014 Dear Winebuyer, Thanks for the call on Saturday. I’m sorry I didn’t pick up the phone, but I make it a point to let the calls go to voice mail when I know there’s nothing I can do to help you at that moment. Now that it’s Monday, your complaints are […]

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From the REPublic: getting paid. wait… and wait… and…

September 19, 2013

I can’t help but add to this post. Collections are a huge part of our job, and they’re a huge pain in the ass. And at times it can be a bit sticky and uncomfortable asking again and again for that check. I understand why we’re among the last of the vendors to get paid… […]

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From the REPublic: The General Public

September 18, 2013

A submission from a fellow female wine professional. I empathize as I’ve been there. Whether it’s been as a fine dining server, cocktail waitress, bartender, or wine shop clerk… ugh… the general public. (shudder) Hello Wine Rep, I have been in a lot of positions in the wine business: I’ve been a distributor, importer and […]

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back on the route

August 30, 2013

Dear readers, Oh hi. I guess I’m back. Back to writing letters to my winebuyers, that is. I never really went away. I’ve been here in my same territory… pushing my wines, taking my licks and celebrating my small victories quietly without my usual sarcasm. But that got boring. So, again… I guess I’m back. […]

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will you bite the hand that feeds

August 29, 2013

Dear Winebuyer, I’m growing increasingly uncomfortable meeting with you here at your establishment as you continue to bitch about your service staff’s stupidity well within their earshot. Every time we meet it goes something like this… “You know, I wish we could carry this wine, but my servers are too fucking dumb. They wouldn’t know […]

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juuuuust right.

November 27, 2012

Dear Supplier, Why hello there! It’s great to see you again, and I see you’re now working with a large distributor since leaving our company back in May. I’m happy to see someone working with your wines. Quite honestly, I really haven’t missed your brand as they were always priced much too high for their […]

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