I was skimming here and there and found this interesting post in “Life’s a Picnic”. Very enjoyable reading, but what really got my attention was Greg’s reluctance to visit a winery because he was convinced that the people would be “too serious and snobby.” And this from a foodie, if you take a look at his posts.
ARGHH!!!! Mortally wounded! After all these years in winery hospitality, at wineries big and small, reading that we’re so perceived makes me break out in a cold sweat. I have invested considerable effort in dispelling this “serious and snobby” thing over more years than I care to admit and, when I was in a position to influence others, I coached them to be unfailingly kind, helpful, informative and, most importantly, FUN! Wine is about a lot of things, but in the end it’s about fun, isn’t it?
Anyway, he was going, with some trepidation, to meet the winemaker at Periscope Cellars in Emeryville, CA. He observed that “The surroundings are certainly not like the palatial settings of the North Counties, more like a big old military bunker…”
And he was delighted to find out that the Winemaker was actually fun to be with. “While having serious credentials and experience he is far from snobby. Brian seems part guy next door, part artist and part mad scientist. He is generous to a fault with his time and seems extremely happy to be doing his wine thing.”
You know, that description fits a whole lot of winemakers I’ve known. I think what people forget when they see all the fancy architecture is that we’re still an agriculturally-based business, and that the work is physical! Sure, there are ivory-tower winemakers and high-flying consultants, but they’re much more the exception than the rule. Most of us in the wine industry are just ordinary people who choose to make our living in wine because we love it.
For those of you who like wine but believe as Greg does, I hope you’ll reconsider and hit the wine trail again. I’ll acknowledge that wine brings out the worst in some people, and those are the folks you want to avoid. And yes, you can find very formal situations with intimidating tasting rooms and astronomical tasting fees, but if you investigate a little, you can also find little places like ours that are off the beaten track. You may not find a grand villa, but you will find that lots of us are genuinely glad to see you, show you a good time and answer your questions without a hint of pretense. Plus, we’ll pour some seriously-fine wine (without taking it too seriously). 😉
It may mean getting off the main highways and onto the sideroads or up in the hills, but that just makes an ordinary outing more like an adventure. COME ON DOWN!