Friday, September 21, 2007


Last night at the wine tasting I had a pretty good line-up, so I dutifully poured for the customers, chatted with regulars, and did my best to explain the virtues of the wines. (Which is incredibly easy to do when you are pouring Langmeil.)

A few minutes after the tasting started, the owner emerged from the back of the store with another bottle.

"Here, try this," he said pointing the neck towards my tasting glass.

"What is it?"

"Oh, just something I found in my cellar at home and realized it was time to drink. So I brought it in."

I snuck a look at the label. 1990 Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon.

For the next hour and a half I watched as his customers' eyes lit up when they were done with my tasting and he offered them a sip of his treat. Many of these people have never had a chance to taste the legendary Silver Oak, and come on, how many of us get to taste a vintage that old very often? Not me.

The wine was definitely showing its age. The hue was a burnt red, and the flavors weren't dancing in the glass like they might have five years ago, but no one cared. We all oooh-ed and aaah-ed, smiled at each other and marveled at our random luck of the evening.

As I swirled my glass, I looked around and made a point to drink in the scene.

Because this is why I'm in the wine industry. People who are truly into wine love to share. He wasn't trying to sell it. He simply wanted people to share in the experience with him.

This is why people come into his store. Because he is a quiet, unassuming man who loves wine and is always offering great things to his customers, whether it is a knockout $9 Spanish white, the perfect Chateauneuf to go with Thanksgiving dinner, a Wine 101 class, a gorgeous $15 Australian Shiraz, or just a sip of a legendary wine from his own collection. People who are wine snobs and wine novices are all comfortable around him, and trust what he is saying.

So as the late afternoon slipped into an early fall evening, and the strangers who were in the store dug noses into glasses, we breathed a collective sigh of content and bonded with our good fortune.

And that feeling of random luck and shared generosity is why I do it. This is what the wine industry is all about.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home