trade tasting!

February 27, 2014 · 0 comments


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?







conversation hearts

February 25, 2014 · 0 comments


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 my first priority.

First of all, let me apologize that your order showed up at 4:30 on Friday, Valentine’s Day. When I asked you for your delivery days and times and you said, “any day, any time is fine”, I should have automatically internalized the unspoken exception of Valentine’s Day at 4:30. And when I said, “what day would you like to receive the order?” and you said, “just ship it. Any day is fine,” I really should have known better. Of course, I do hope you realize I have little control over the delivery company’s schedule unless you request such parameters as “Delivery Hours Tues-Thurs Between 1 and 3 PM” or “DO NOT DELIVER ON VALENTINE’S DAY AT 4:30″.

So that takes care of that. Oh wait, you also say you received the wrong product, even though this wine was listed on the confirmation email I sent to you before I submitted the order. Do you remember? The big long list of wines? This one wine was AT THE VERY TOP. First line item. Could not be more obvious. And still, you replied “Just ship it. Any day is fine.”

And here we are. And now you say you didn’t realize that I was sending you that list as a confirmation, even though the email says something to the effect of (direct quote here) “Please confirm your order”.

But yes, of course I will have the wine swapped out for the ‘correct’ wine at no extra charge. I will forward the order confirmation email to my manager and then I will tell him that it was all my fault, despite the evidence to the contrary.

As always, it’s a pleasure doing business with you. And I hope you had a lovely Valentine’s Day.


Wine Rep



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… […]

0 comments Read the full article →

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 […]

0 comments Read the full article →

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. […]

0 comments Read the full article →

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 […]

0 comments Read the full article →

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 […]

0 comments Read the full article →

cherry picker

July 26, 2012

“I’m sorry, I don’t have time to taste today.” Oh, that’s too bad… I have (insert hipster/culty/somm’s current wetdream wine here) open… “Oh, I have time to taste that…” sigh.

6 comments Read the full article →

from the horses’ mouths

July 13, 2012

A few of my recent faves from my winebuyers:   Me: “I noticed my Grüner Veltliner has fallen off the list… it did really well for you and I know you really liked it… What happened?” WB: “We got a Grüner from California now, so we don’t need an Austrian one.” Yes, that makes sense. […]

4 comments Read the full article →