Saturday, September 01, 2007

Getting out of the tasting

Sweet, 7:27. Three more minutes and I am out of here.... I'll be right on time for our reservation. I'm starving...

A man then walks into the store as I busy myself with tidying up the tasting area and getting my purse.

Crap, he sees me. And he clearly knows that there is a tasting going on. I'll make this quick...

"Sir, would you like to taste? Tonight we are featuring great everyday-priced wines from California!"

Please say no, please say no, please say no...

"Of course I do. Now which company do you work for?"

Ugh. I do not need to be the subject of a lonely 50-something man getting his Friday night kicks by chatting up a girl young enough to be his daughter.

Unfortunately, ten minutes later (7:37), that is exactly what I had become. At this point he was grilling me not only about the wines I was pouring, but our company's entire portfolio. Every attempt on my part to wrap up our conversation so that I could make it to dinner with friends was met with another inane question. I was completely torn between my growling stomach and my tendency towards thorough customer service.

"Now, Erin... which of these Pinot Noirs on the wall are from you?"

Bah!!! Stop talking to me you old fart. There is no way I will make it to dinner on time now. Three people will be sitting around waiting for me to arrive.

"Well, we do the Castle Rock, Cartlidge and Browne, and Silver Ridge lines from California. The only one of our Oregon Pinots on the wall is from Walnut City Wine Works."

I wonder if my smile looks totally tense and fake?

"Really... Now this Castle Rock wine says Willammette Valley on it. What does that mean?


"Well, Castle Rock is based in California, but they source their fruit from different areas of the West Coast and always label the bottle with the region that they got the fruit from. So it's a California winery, but they are using fruit from Oregon."

Is this a difficult concept? He looks confused. Or like he's going to make me explain it again just to stall for time.

"Oh.... Now while we're over here, show me which New Zealand wines are yours. You were saying that they have some great Pinots too, huh?"

"Yes, sir. They sure do." Sigh. "Right over here."

Twenty minutes later I was finally out the door and speeding towards the restaurant. I arrived just as our shared appetizer was being delivered.

Don't get me wrong - I love doing my job. But there is nothing better than sinking down at a table with good friends at the end of the day.


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