Since I have started this blog, I like to think that I take tasting and describing wine rather seriously even though the stories around those tastings tend to be a bit, well, let’s just say that I try not to take myself all that seriously. After all, wine is a beverage. It can be a complex, intoxicating, and at times expensive beverage, but it is ultimately a beverage–one made, ostensibly, to provide joy to people. I try to keep this in mind while writing this blog since I am not curing cancer, solving the problems in the Middle East, or even repairing a few potholes. I am just getting my drink on and sharing those experiences with my horde of six loyal readers out there.
I have never kept track, but I spend a bunch of time on this little writing project of mine. I am approaching 200 posts, and I probably spend a couple hours (or more) on each one of them (although many of you might have assumed I spend about 7 minutes on each post…). It takes time and I try hard to produce good content. Sometimes, hopefully I am successful and manage to produce a smile or two and maybe even provide some useful information.
Why do I write all of this now?
When I attended the Wine Bloggers Conference (WBC12) this past summer, I experienced something that I did not anticipate when I started writing–many wineries really appreciate bloggers and go out of their way to make them feel welcome. This can take on different faces from opening a reserve wine to a tour of the facility, even an impromptu barrel tasting–which rarely if ever happened before I started the blog. Most of the time, they just make you feel welcome and answer as many questions as they can and I am amazed at how well we are ‘taken care of’ during these visits. In return, when I write a post about the visit, I make sure to write an honest, thoughtful review.
Over the past two days, I have visited ten tasting rooms in Woodinville, Washington and almost all of the visits fell into this mold: the staff were all welcoming and understood that in the grand scheme of things, wine serves the primary purpose of making people happy. Most of them seemed interested in the blog (although not an expectation by any means). A couple of places, however, stood out for the opposite reason–they seemed to take themselves far too seriously and did not seem to give a hoot that we were there with no attempt to connect on a personal level at all.
The first was Gorman Winery. The tasting room is not even a year old and is really a beautiful space with a modern vibe and a rock-and-roll themed decor. The wines are equally well done, perhaps in a bigger style than I prefer, but really well made with prominently displayed scores to match. The tasting room staff, while certainly professional, did very little to make us feel at home or even at ease. Questions about the wine and wine making process were often met with blank stares or cursory responses. I had heard great things about the wine (which seem to be justified), but I will likely not be back.
The other was Lachini Vineyards–an Oregon winery that opened a tasting room in Woodinville. I was excited to visit since the winery produces mostly Pinot Noir and I am nothing if not a sucker for good Pinot. Again, absolutely top-notch juice (this time in a style I very much enjoyed), and a beautiful room, but the tasting room staff seemed more bothered by my questions and presence than anything else.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not expecting any sort of red carpet treatment–far from it. I just don’t understand why every winery is not bending over backwards to make all of their visitors feel welcome.
What do you think? Am I being unreasonable here?