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Wine Tasters from Hell


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Oh no.  In two days we will have a full October Blood Moon.  And that means . . .

The Wine Tasters from Hell!

What is the worst, least sanitary, rudest, most disruptive behavior you have ever seen in a tasting room?

People who apply too much perfume or cologne.

Drink!

I refuse to spend my life worrying about what I eat. There is no pleasure worth forgoing just for an extra three years in the geriatric ward. --John Mortimera

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I had someone rinse their glass with the contents of the spit bucket...  Nothing else I've seen has come close.

Yikes!!!! I am not even sure as to how I would react to that.

Either turn my head in disgust or break a rib laughing. I guess it depends on how much I haven't spit.

slowfood/slowwine

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But wait, there's more. Unfortunately.

Vampire lipstick

Chewing gum in the spit bucket

Tasters who want to spit their gum into your hand

Motorcyclists in leather on a hot day who smell like sweat and gas

Old ladies that fart (although they're kinda cute)

Filthy purses the size of carpetbags plunked on the counter

People who dump their wine into the cut glass water pitcher

People who mistake my lunch for an appetizer plate and get persnickety if I don't serve it up

and, people who assure me they're good friends of the owners :rolleyes:

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Mary Baker

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I've never poured in a winery tasting room. But as a guest, the mosthellish thing I've experienced were Americans in Moet Chandon. There was one southern guy in a ten-gallon hat and his high-toned companion with way too much perfume. She would say things like "I don't know why we're here, I don't even like Champagne." And in the tasting room itself, he wanted more wine, but then she wouldn't share hers with him. Apparently she liked alcohol.

Pouring wine at tasting events, however, I do have experience with. I actually had to refuse to pour to someone who was obviously intoxicated. That created some fury from her. She threatened never to come to the organization's wine events ever again. The organization head backed me up.

I expect some of your hellish stories will come from people who've had too much to drink.

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

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y'know, now i'm curious whether anyone thinks a tasting fee makes any difference in behavior. in theory it's supposed to chase away the freeloading jackasses who you don't want there anyway. but does it?

up here in WA, there aren't many places that charge, and i've rarely seen bad behavior. but then, i always go tasting when the hoardes aren't around ...

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I suggest you all go check out the new film, Sideways, which has already been reviewed by stout hearted eGulleteers HERE

There are many hilariously amusing wine tasting room scenes, as well as a "bad behavior" meltdown from the protagonist toward the end of the film who is pissed off by the tasting room employee's reluctance to pour him a full measure.

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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There was an episode of Da Ali G Show containing a kit where Borat, one of the characters, participates in a wine tasting with two old fashioned Southern Gentlemen. My favorite part of the skit is where Borat drains his glass as quickly as he can and exclaims "I Win!".

I think it was Episode 7 of Season 2 "Respek". I'd post a link where you could buy the second season on DVD, but, it's not out yet. The first season was only released a few months ago.

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There was an episode of Da Ali G Show containing a kit where Borat, one of the characters, participates in a wine tasting with two old fashioned Southern Gentlemen.  My favorite part of the skit is where Borat drains his glass as quickly as he can and exclaims "I Win!".

I think it was Episode 7 of Season 2 "Respek".  I'd post a link where you could buy the second season on DVD, but, it's not out yet.  The first season was only released a few months ago.

That may be my favorite episode.

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What about the wine tasting from hell?

I'm used to semi-professional wine tastings: 50 or so half decent wines, maybe young and tannic, but well chosen to inspect; white table cloths to show the colour; water and dry neutral biscuits as palate clearers; spittons; no pressure, and a simple but pleasent lunch to follow, maybe bread, cheese and cold-cuts or even a hot roast. The open bottles lined up on the tasting table for one to sample at one's own speed, maybe two glasses so that you can compare. I'm lucky enough to have the chance to attend such tastings several times a week

The hellish version is a straight high pressure sales exercise, flogging overpriced indifferent wine: maybe six wines, each individually poured, with a fatuous lecture before each one, and no chance to compare. Cheese or fatty food to disguise the wine; nowhere to spit or pour the excess wine, since the vendor wants the alcohol to cloud your judgement, and no way of escaping politely

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The rudest were the people running the tasting of the 2003 en primeur at the youngest of the 1st Growths in Bordeaux. They were so off hand and actually did not say one word. I know that they must get bored doing it but it common courtesy to at least smile when a group of professionals turn up.

Years ago the property I worked for was showing their wines at a UK newspapers wine club with a lot of people present. Someone was sick in the middle of the room and plenty more were vomiting outside.

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I suggest you all go check out the new film, Sideways, which has already been reviewed by stout hearted eGulleteers HERE

There is not one theater in western Washington that is showing this movie. Is it a limited release?

:angry:

Drink!

I refuse to spend my life worrying about what I eat. There is no pleasure worth forgoing just for an extra three years in the geriatric ward. --John Mortimera

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Lat night I ran into Jon Priest, who was Ken Volk's cellarmaster at Wild Horse for many years, and that reminded me of the time we were pouring for Wild Horse at the Monterey Wine Festival. The festival staff provided two clear plastic pitchers--one for water, one for dumping. Why pitchers? I dunno. And people don't only dump their extra wine into the dump pitcher--at a formal trade tasting like this, many spit, so there are swirling streams of thick saliva in the dump. We were both busy answering questions, so I didn't see this happen, but Jon told me later that a well-dressed gentleman came up to the table and pouring the rose' colored swill in his glass, swirled, sniffed, and tasted. Then he walked over to his female companion, guided her to the table, and poured some in her glass and they walked away.

"Jon!" I exclaimed in horror. "Why didn't you stop them?"

Jon shrugged. "What was I supposed to do?" he replied. "Run after them shouting, 'Sir, you're drinking our swill?' "

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Mary Baker

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The worst I've seen (but thank GOD didn't happen where I was working): a couple proceeds to place their darling little tyke on the tasting counter and CHANGE HIS FILTHY DIAPERS!

To their credit, the guys pouring behind the counter very quickly convinced the folks that there was a restroom close by they could use for this act, but the permeating odor completely ruined the tasting for everyone else in the room.

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Gak. Caroyln, that is nasty. Best story so far, I think. :wacko:

y'know, now i'm curious whether anyone thinks a tasting fee makes any difference in behavior . . .

I think it does. In fact, for that very reason we privately call it a 'filter fee.' We seldom actually collect it, but it's posted on our tasting list, and it tends to filter out the cowboys, bachelorette parties, etc. We can enact it at any time if we feel the day is getting out of hand. I also allow only 2 limousine companies on the property, and no buses.

Oh, speaking of scary, I just remembered this story (seems I have a few), related to me by the hospitality manager at Meridian. The staff at Meridian had a taster that was really pretty weird. His behavior wasn't agitated, but his babblings didn't always make sense and his language was borderline Tourette's. Other tasters were backing away, so he started focusing on the staff and he weirded them out so much that it was the one, and only, time they pressed the secret security button under the counter. Later the police reported back that the guy was relatively harmless, but was an escapee from Atascadero State Hospital. (Model for Pescadero St. Hosp. in Terminator II.)

Edited for spelling, which is probably still not right.

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Mary Baker

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The worst I've seen (but thank GOD didn't happen where I was working): a couple proceeds to place their darling little tyke on the tasting counter and CHANGE HIS FILTHY DIAPERS!

Aww, cum'on, Carolyn! What's wrong with a little bretty aroma in the tasting room?! :raz:

Edited by grandcru (log)

Kriss Reed

Long Beach, CA

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The worst I've seen (but thank GOD didn't happen where I was working): a couple proceeds to place their darling little tyke on the tasting counter and CHANGE HIS FILTHY DIAPERS!

Aww, cum'on, Carolyn! What's wrong with a little bretty aroma in the tasting room?! :raz:

Ya'know that's kinda funny -- because Shawn and I LIKE bretty wines... my boss doesn't want folks to taste his very first attempt at a wine (a '98) because it is "turning bretty" which I think is quite lovely. It is not, however, in the style that is currently representing the company so I can understand he doesn't want folks to think it is what the current vintages will age into.

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I suggest you all go check out the new film, Sideways, which has already been reviewed by stout hearted eGulleteers HERE

There is not one theater in western Washington that is showing this movie. Is it a limited release?

:angry:

It is a limited release. It opened in larger cities (I presume they mean NY, LA and SF) on Friday 10/22. The Philly premier was this past Tuesday followed by a wine tasting. One of the wines they were serving at the tasting afterward was Iron Horse Pinot Noir. :smile:

If you have an "art house" type movie theater near you that might be your best bet of finding it. I doubt this one will ever be taking up space at the 16-Plex Cinema at the mall. It's too esoteric.

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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  • 1 year later...

As we gear up for the 2006 vintage harvest, it seems other tasting rooms are also pre-emptively educating harvest season visitors:

Tasting Room Faux Pas

There can be thousands of tasters during an event like the annual Russian River Barrel Tasting or Dry Creek Passport Weekend, and that's where uncouth behavior often surfaces.

"The biggest problem is when people make their way to the bar and hold the bar hostage," said Beth Costa, executive director of the Russian River Wine Road. "We always stress: Get your taste and then make room for others."

As for hoarding food, Costa once witnessed someone pick up a 6-inch wheel of brie and put it on his plate. "You just stand there with your mouth wide open," said Costa, who advised nibbling is key.

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Mary Baker

Solid Communications

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  • 5 months later...
There was an episode of Da Ali G Show containing a kit where Borat, one of the characters, participates in a wine tasting with two old fashioned Southern Gentlemen.  My favorite part of the skit is where Borat drains his glass as quickly as he can and exclaims "I Win!".

I think it was Episode 7 of Season 2 "Respek".  I'd post a link where you could buy the second season on DVD, but, it's not out yet.  The first season was only released a few months ago.

here's the link for youtube

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3LkzOMMBK70

hilarious.

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We're in the middle of a wine festival this weekend. The weather is gorgeous, so yesterday I had a hospitality table outside in the gravel picnic area. We don't take money, just give out glasses, tasting sheets, explain the program, etc. I also had a bottle of viognier chilling in ice water in a large ceramic pot, and everyone who signs our email list gets a complimentary sample.

So, I lift the bottle and pour a sample each for two ladies. And while I'm answering questions from one, the other takes a gulp, then pours her wine out in my ice bucket. Thaaaaaaanks. :wacko:

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Mary Baker

Solid Communications

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As we gear up for the 2006 vintage harvest, it seems other tasting rooms are also pre-emptively educating harvest season visitors:

Tasting Room Faux Pas

...

"The biggest problem is when people make their way to the bar and hold the bar hostage," said Beth Costa, executive director of the Russian River Wine Road. "We always stress: Get your taste and then make room for others."

...

As guests, when we're in a tasting room and it is crowded, we always move away from the counter when we are drinking so that others can receive a tasting. Most people just seem to park at the counter no matter how crowded it is. It's somewhat similar to people who crowd in front of paintings in a museum instead of standing back a bit.

If it isn't crowded we'll stay at the counter and ask questions/chat with the pourer if they're not too busy.

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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