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Overheard in the wine shop . . .


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Many (many) years ago I was tending bar in Los Angles when a woman came in and said she wanted a white wine but didn't like Chardonney and could I recommend something in a French White. I asked her is she wanted a Chablis, served it, and was told. "This is wonderful, why don't they grow Chablis in California?"

Of course, the Chards that we were serving in those days could have been classified as Chateau 2X4 (Had to steal your line, sorry Chris.)

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I was in a shop today where I know the owner quite well. A customer and his adult son were in the shop browsing. The father asked the owner for his opinion on a certain wine. The owner replied, "Well, that's a wine where there's going to be a lot more oak than fruit. It's very oaky." The customer responded, "Perfect! That's exactly what I want." :blink:

When the customer left, I asked the owner, "So is that the first time a customer has ever been that enthusiastic over a wine with more oak than fruit?" The owner answered, "Yeah, I think it is." But we both agreed that it was good that the customer got what he wanted.

We cannot employ the mind to advantage when we are filled with excessive food and drink - Cicero

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Just found this thread and it reminded me of a tour that I took a few years back to Napa and Sonoma County.

On the tour, I became friendly with a lovely couple and a teacher from Florida. At one dinner we engaged in together, the teacher had a lively discussion with the Sommelier and insisted on drinking Sauternes with her entree. He politely obliged.

During the tour, we visited five wineries and enjoyed some wonderful tastings. The last evening we celebrated a 5 course dinner coupled with the most wonderful wines from a boutique winery. After this meal was over, she announced that she had finally come to a conclusion. She hated wine!

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  • 6 months later...

While technically not overheard in the wine shop, I believe the story is consistent with the spirit of this thread. . .

I was at a gathering of my wife's side of the family at the home of her aunt and uncle. Another aunt and uncle were visiting from Washington, D.C., to attend my wife's brother's wedding, and this particular gathering was to have time to visit with them.

The uncle from D.C. is currently on a sangria kick. So the uncle from Minneapolis purchased a jug (think big jug with the small finger-grip hole next to the opening) of Sangria. I commented that that was an awful lot of sangria for this crowd. Well, that set the uncle off. He said he went to a wine shop with a good reputation, but that the only sangria option was the one large jug. I told him he might have been better off going to the muni. "Well, I went to the other place because they're supposed to be a great wine shop. I guess that's not the case."

I didn't have the heart to tell him that not having a large sangria selection in terms of bottle sizes and producers is one of the things that makes it a good wine shop. But I did suggest that next time he should just make his own sangria.

We cannot employ the mind to advantage when we are filled with excessive food and drink - Cicero

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Not wine, but when I was working as a waiter many, many years ago a guy came in with his girlfriend and with a very bad attempt to sound like James Bond (the Sean Connery Bond) ordered "Scotch and wiskey" And he wondered why I carded him.

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  • 4 months later...

This wasn't in the wine shop, but in a restaurant.

A woman at a table next to me was looking over the wine list. The description for a Campo Santa Lena Valpolicella included the word "cherry." This is where sometimes it just doesn't make sense to offer such descriptions. The woman asked the server, "Is this wine made from cherries?"

I was drinking that very wine at my table. I heard the server reply that I had the last glass of it, and asked the woman if she had another choice. When that same server saw may glass was empty, she told me that I finished the last of the valpocino, and would I like something else.

Several minutes later... Three women sat down at a nearby table. A server asked what they would like from the bar. One woman asked if there was any Malbec. "I've never heard of that," said the server, "What is it?" The woman told her it was a red wine from Argentina, adding, "I've had it here before." "Are you sure?" the server asked, "We've only carried wines from California and Italy." To be fair to the customer, some California producers now make Malbec. The women said they needed more time.

The server returned... The Malbec woman asked, "Do you ahve any shiraz?" Again, to be fair, some California producers label their syrah wines "shiraz" instead of syrah. But c'mon, the woman was just told California and Italy only. The server replied, "We have a syrah." And then, "We also have a petit sirah." Okaaaay. The woman: "I'll just have a merlot."

We cannot employ the mind to advantage when we are filled with excessive food and drink - Cicero

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Hi,

My favorite restaurant opened a new bistro and we were excited to try their food and wine. They had installed a brand new wooden wine preserver and were serving many nice wines by the glass. The waitress asked if we wanted anything to drink and I asked, "what's in the Cruvenet." She explained that they were out of Cruvinet but they had some Chardonnay.

Tim

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two recent memorable quotes

"hey, like, i want a wine that's like totally dry but also...sweet"

me: "i'm sorry to tell you, but those two things are exact opposites"

also

"you're going to think i'm crazy, but i want a wine that tastes like a boot"

so i gave her some chenas, quartz, 2004 :laugh:

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Hey all, I normally post in the Cocktail forum and lurk over here, but this thread was too good to miss out on.

I tend bar in a restaraunt that is mostly wine-centric, and while I've always enjoyed wine, most of what I actually know about it I have learned since working here (open about 2 months). Granted, this is a relatively small town for such a concept, and I try not to intimidate or make fun of people who are new to wine and want to learn, but I freely ridicule (though not to their faces) people who don't have a clue but make up for it with pretentious airs. I have seriously never heard people talk out of their ass so much than when working around wine. And if it's something I can detect, you know it's bad (my expertise, such as it is, is definitely in spirits).

So a few weeks ago, these two gentlemen came in early and sat at the bar. They were very friendly, though one of them clearly wanted it to be known that he was someone with a great deal of knowledge and taste regarding wine. I believe it was while pouring him his second glass of Merlot that I reached the end of the bottle I had open and opened a new one to finish his serving. As I was about to begin to pour again he stopped me and said that this wine needed to breathe before pouring it and would I let it rest a bit (this despite the fact that I was pouring it into the enormously tall glasses perfectly suitable for swirling, etc. Would love to know what these are called if they have a name). So I set the bottle down near where they were sitting, letting it areate over a surface area perhaps the size of a quarter. Perhaps two minutes at most had passed when he impatiently called me back over to pour the rest of his wine. I overheard him lecturing his companion (who didn't really seem to care) on the importance of letting wines breathe, etc. Oh well. Makes a fun story, sort of.

-Andy

Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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  • 3 months later...

Too many to name.

#1

Customer: What are the subtle differences between the Franzia White Zin and the Almaden White Zin (5L boxes)?

#2

Customer: I am getting a gift. What is your most expensive bottle of White Zin.

Me: Beringer, sir.

Customer: How much is it?

Me. $5.99

#3 (a couple days ago)

Customer: I just moved from Texas and the movers destroyed my wine collection. Can you help me put a value on it?

Wine Manager: Can I see your list there? [Looks at list] Sir, I don't believe that a 1994 bottle of Beringer White Zinfadel has any value whatsoever.

#4

Customer: Where are your good wines?

Me: Let's walk into the cellar.

Customer after arriving in the cellar: No, no, where's your Yellowtail?

#5

Customer: Could I take a look in your cellar.

Wine Manager (as customer is about to cross the threshold): Sir, I will have to ask you to leave your Beringer White Zin outside the cellar door.

Customer: Laughs.

Wine Manger: No. Really.

#6

Customer: Do you have any 2003 Beringer White Merlot? I don't like the 2004 as well.

Me: Let me check in the cellar. [Walk into cellar, look around] No, ma'am, I am afraid we don't.

#7

Customer: I am looking for a Chabernet (shabb-er-ney).

Me: I am afraid that varietal doesn't exist, sir.

Customer: Yes it does.

Me: We do not have that, sir.

Customer: I guess I will get vodka then.

Customer walks to vodka isle and loses control of himself, urinating all over the floor.

#8

Customer: I want to make the best Sangria ever.

Me: Let me get a recipe from webtender for you.

[Recipe includes brandy, cointreau, etc]

Customer: I need enough for 40 people.

Me: Ma'am, that will be very expensive Sangria, are you sure?

Customer: Yep.

Me: Okay. [get the wine, brandy, cointreau, etc]

Total at register for 6 bottles: $163. At least she got what she wanted.

#9

Customer: I am planning a wedding for 200 people and I want to use really good quality wines.

Me: [$$$] How long will the consumption period last? and indoor or outdoor.

Customer: Four hours and outdoor.

Me: Two drinks per hour per person is 1600 drinks. Will you be serving beer?

Customer: No, only wine.

Me: [$$$$$$] I would recommend overbuying just a bit. About 30 cases should give you enough and if you have leftover, bring it back. (1800 total drinks/60 glasses per case and roughly 20% overbuy)

Customer: I am an oneophile and I only like the best. My budget for the alcohol is $1000.

Me: $1000? For 200 people? That is about $.65 per glass.

Customer: Do we get a discount?

Me: Yes, of course. In your budgeted range, I would recommend the Black Box line of wines. They are very good quality for the price and much higher quality than many magnums in the same price range.

Customer: [with disgust] Box wine? I would never. Please show me your Woodbridge.

Me: Miss, the black box is actually much better. . .

Customer: I am a wine snob and Woodbridge is my favorite.

Me: I will have one of my associate's assist you.

Edited by mickblueeyes (log)
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Ouch.

I know I sometimes say dumb things while shopping. Now I've got to worry that maybe one of my favorite merchants may make fun of me online while using his/her own name. Nobody else will know it's me, perhaps, but I'll know and I'll be hurt.

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Ouch.

I know I sometimes say dumb things while shopping. Now I've got to worry that maybe one of my favorite merchants may make fun of me online while using his/her own name. Nobody else will know it's me, perhaps, but I'll know and I'll be hurt.

Tess, I don't think anyone here is making fun of anyone for being uninformed or even uneducated on the subject of wine or spirits. On the other hand, it is the people that come into our shops/restaurants that act like they know everything that make situations funny.

I say dumb things when I try to talk about tech stuff or even try to program my tv th at I am sure the kids at Best Buy think is hilarious or my cable repair man laughs about while he chats with his buddies. That doesn't mean it isn't funny or even that I should mind someone is having a laugh at my expense. Life is just that way. We can't all be experts on everything and we certainly can't take ourselves too seriously.

That is definitely one of the things that is very wrong with our society today. It is why kids get killed in the streets over perceived insults or people file petty lawsuits over jokes. People need to get over themselves. We are all on this ride together; if we can't have fun, what is the use?

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The funny thing to me is that I'm laughing hysterically at some of these knowing that I don't understand the joke enough to get it :huh:

mickblueeyes is right in that we all have our areas of expertise and roll our eyes when people do or say silly things...no biggie! Thanks for the July 4th laughs!

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OK, well, rock on.

I can tell you that if I see one of my local merchants posting about how dumb his customers are, I'll probably be looking for another place to shop.

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In the days when Whole Foods was the nearest stop for wine between work and home, the humor came from the employees as well. I overheard the employee telling a customer recommend a wine from the Carneros region, which was particularly interesting because it was an example of how California wine growers are now trying to copy the Argentinian and Chilean producers by using Spanish words.

I am pretty sure it was the the same fellow later informed me that there was no such thing as a dry rose.

I like to think I've learned my lesson and seek out better wine shops.

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In the days when Whole Foods was the nearest stop for wine between work and home, the humor came from the employees as well. I overheard the employee telling a customer recommend a wine from the Carneros region, which was particularly interesting because it was an example of how California wine growers are now trying to copy the Argentinian and Chilean producers by using Spanish words.

I am pretty sure it was the the same fellow later informed me that there was no such thing as a dry rose.

I like to think I've learned my lesson and seek out better wine shops.

LOL! Yep! One day I overheard an employee at another local shop inform a customer that the darker a scotch was, the peatier it was. . .I almost lost it in the floor!

Between customers, barkeeps, restauranteurs and liquor store employees there is enough to laugh at forever.

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I spoke with my mother yesterday (July 4th) on the phone. She seldom drinks but enjoys a glass or two of wine with the rest of us at our July family reunions. She was so proud of herself yesterday because she had stopped at a winery in Washington state and bought six bottles for our upcoming gathering. "That's great, Mom!" I said. "Did you get a white or a red?"

"No," she responded gleefully, "It's yellow!"

Can't argue with that . . .

_____________________

Mary Baker

Solid Communications

Find me on Facebook

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That is definitely one of the things that is very wrong with our society today. It is why kids get killed in the streets over perceived insults or people file petty lawsuits over jokes. People need to get over themselves. We are all on this ride together; if we can't have fun, what is the use?

I'm thinking you are underestimating the power of hurt feelings.

Think feuds, Balkanization, ostracization. Scorn is a powerful tool/weapon because we react so strongly to it. As you yourself demonstrate in your reaction to the big guy with the debit card and the attitude.

Despite that, I find this thread hilarious. And I check all your addresses to be sure you arent my local wine merchant!

Edited by Kouign Aman (log)

"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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This is not a thread for the faint of heart.  So far we've made fun of old ladies, snobby winemakers, snotty sommeliers, wannabe wine snobs, Jamie Fox and Samuel L. Jackson.

And MOM ! :laugh::laugh:

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Ouch.

I know I sometimes say dumb things while shopping. Now I've got to worry that maybe one of my favorite merchants may make fun of me online while using his/her own name. Nobody else will know it's me, perhaps, but I'll know and I'll be hurt.

Tess,

My guess is that you don't pretend to know all about wine or put on airs. A customer who doesn't know much about wine and is simply and honestly trying to learn doesn't fit the kind of people being joked about here. I think you are safe.

Porthos Potwatcher
The Once and Future Cook

;

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Great thread. Wine can be an intimidating thing to get into. Once I figured out that its just a beverage and not knowing is not a sin, it got to be lots of fun.

Here's mine: I was at a Pinot Noir tasting at my local shop. When they poured a Van Duzer, it was very aromatic. Half to myself (and a little louder than intended) I said, "this smells like my grandma's bathroom." Everyone looked at me like I was nuts. The thing is, growing up, my grandma had this red bathroom where she had some potpourri containing things like roses, hibiscus, etc. It was one of those moments where a smell really took me back.

The best part is that last summer I went to Van Duzer while on an Oregon trip and got to tell the wine maker the story. Jim was very gracious and said, as long as it wasn't after your grandpa got done, I'm happy.

There, some self deprecating humor - no one can complain. :D

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The number of times I have been asked about "pee nut newer" or when the customer gets Pinot Noir and Pinot Grigio confused and then gets belligerent b/c I am showing a red wine to them and they want white.

The couple who came in and asked in dead seriousness if I had ever heard of this new wine called "pee nut newer". I led them to the Pinot Noir section and they decided every thing we had was too expensive so I led them to the budget area where we have some okay wines at about $10 and that, too, was too expensive. They bought their jug of blush and left.

I had a woman who started gushing about our wine selection and how large it is. She was very impressed and was planning to bring her husband in to the store as he is "an avid wine collector with a cellar and every thing. He loves Zinfandel!" "Oh, well I have some lovely Zinfandels....." I say as I pull down a bottle of Ridge to make the point.

"But he collects White Zinfandel"

A few years back before some French actually started labeling w/ the grape:

"I need a French Pinot Noir"

"Well we have several....." as I walk over to the French section and reach for a Burgundy.

"No I want a French Pinot Noir! That does not say 'Pinot Noir'"

"Ma'am this is a Pinot Noir. The French label by region instead of grape"

"Well, if you do not have what I want...." she huffed as she left.

I relayed the story to one of my co-workers and we laughed when I suggested we should have gone to the Champagne section and really confused her. Unfortunately no one else in the conversation got the joke.

"I bought one of them Spanish White Zinfandels and did not like it at all! It was way too dry!"

"Look honey! they have that wine we saw on the Food Network" says a woman as she picks up a bottle of Beaujolais.

"Put that back it's from France and you know how I feel about any thing French! Now let's get our Grey Goose and get out of here."

Woman standing at the "red wall" and blankly staring when I approach and ask if she needs some help. "Where is your Rock & Rye?"

Young couple in the fine wine room looking completely lost when I approach and ask if they need some help. "You don't carry Sutter Home White Zinfandel?"

"Is this wine okay? It's old" I am asked as a customer walks up w/ a mid-90's Chimney Rock Reserve Cabernet.

"I want that wine because it has dust on the bottle and if it has dust on the bottle it must be good."

A few years back we were going to North Carolina for a long week end. When we got there I realized I had forgotten to pack a big red for the steaks we were planning to grill that night so on our excursions we stopped stores searching for wine. After stopping at a half-dozen groceries, convenience stores, &c I finally asked and was informed that the county was dry and if I wanted wine I would have to return to Georgia. Luckily we were only about fifteen minutes past the state line so we drove to (& it should have dawned on me when I passed it going north) "Last Chance/State Line Package Store". I walked in to the small cinder-block building and was immediately over-whelmed by the cigarette smoke that was as thick as pea soup and the noise of the video poker machines being played. Bud on one wall and Miller on the other and the wine section consisted of a lovely selection of Boone's Farm, MD 20/20, and I think I spotted a bottle of Mateus. Wondering where to go fr/ there I happened to catch a glimpse of some thing on the bottom shelf and pulled out two bottles of early 80's Robert Mondavi Private Reserve Cab. AND! priced in the mid teens AND! it had been on its side and was in a relatively dark area. I was elated and tried not to act too excited as I went to the cashier to pay for my find. The cashier looked at the bottles and then looked up at me and in dead serousness said, "Are you sure you want these bottles? They are old and kind of dirty. Why don't you get you some clean wine!" as she reached for the Boone's Farm. "No thank you; this will do quite nicely. You would not happen to have any more would you?" "Nah, this is it and I have no idea why we even still have this stuff." Needless to say we thoroughly enjoyed one of the bottles w/ dinner (it was not corked or any thing despite its poor history) and had the other bottle a few years later.

Edited by Lan4Dawg (log)

in loving memory of Mr. Squirt (1998-2004)--

the best cat ever.

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and forgot about a co-worker who had only been here a couple of weeks when a woman walked in and said, "I am looking for a Menage a Trois." The poor guy turned sixteen different shades of crimson as he asked the woman exactly what it was she wanted. Luckily I over heard her the second time and directed her to the Menage a Trois line of wine that Folie a Deux makes. The poor guy still blushes when ever any one asks him for that particular wine.

in loving memory of Mr. Squirt (1998-2004)--

the best cat ever.

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