E-mail has always seemed to me an inefficient method of communication. I imagine this belief is at least partially a result of batting about a 50% return average with the e-mails I send out. Thankfully some people do respond to my requests; on consideration 50% might be generous. My boss is one of the generous few who will oblige me with a response. Unfortunately her response came on a day where I woke up at 1 pm. Even more unfortunately the response was to my request for information about wine tastings going on around the city and it just so happened the tasting she was informing me about was taking place that same day at 2 pm.
I woke up, I read the e-mail, I debated while sitting naked on my bed and decided I have to get my naked ass to this wine tasting: pronto. It was the quickest I’ve gone from waking to drunk since last St. Patties day. It’s generally frowned upon to be drunk at a wine tasting; this has been hammered into my head by my wine course prof. time and time again. Sometimes there are extenuating circumstances that will cause you to get drunk. Specifically feeling sheepish and awkward in a large group of people of whom you know none, spittoons placed in terrible difficult to get to locations due to the high volume of people, and the guilt that is accompanied when one spits out what would normally be a $30 glass of wine.
My first wine tasting taught me a few things. The first and most obvious lesson of the event was that in generally whoever is responsible for the hiring of the people who pour the wine has a clear bias towards young attractive women. While they may be attractive only about half of them are actually friendly and engaging the others are, well… not so much.
Lesson number two: there isn’t a starting time per say. Yes the tasting does start but it’s not anything as I imagined. I expected seats and wine being poured as we sat at our tables and the presenter discussed the wine; not as such. I can’t speak for all wine tastings, as I have only been to one (I have been to a few others but this was my first official business wine tasting, I actually had to sign in and everything). This tasting was just a bunch of wine set out on a bunch of tables guarded by a bunch of women, and the occasional dude, pouring wine for a bunch of people as they happened by. It doesn’t really matter what time you show up at since there is no presenter and no seats.
Lesson three: Don’t smoke or wear perfume. This lesson is actually fairly obvious if you think about it. A good part of wine tasting is wine smelling. Normally when you are in a crowed of a bunch of people drinking you expect a significant proportion of people to be wearing cologne or perfume and smoking on a regular basis. Remember a wine tasting is not a place to get drunk (oops) as such you should not be looking to hook up (and can afford to be neutral smelling) and should be less inclined to smoke since you shouldn’t be drunk. It’s hard to accurately smell wine when the guy next to you is a chain smoking, cologne reeking fellow off of Jersey Shore; don’t smell nice, and don’t smoke.
Lesson four: push your way to the spittoons. As much fun as it is to get drunk in the afternoon these occasions should be saved for holidays and special events. At a wine tasting you should spit out the wine in designated spitting areas. That being said maybe get a little drunk if you are intimidated and know no one there: it helps you socialize. The only two people I managed to actually exchange a few sentences with were my prof. who I happened to run into, and a cute Asian girl serving champagne. Both encounters took place towards the end of the tasting. If however you are comfortable hob-knobbing with people you don’t know, or you have a friend with you, you will find it takes a little bit of shoving and pushing to get to the appropriate spitting area.
The event was fun, informatory, and a intimidating. It was much like being at a crowded club in that everyone was pushing their way to the front and drinking a lot of booze. It was not like a crowded club in that no one was drunk (save one), no one was smoking and no one wore perfume. There were some mad beats being played though… not really.