The following is a bit of a re-write of a post from two years ago. I thought about editing the original and reblogging it, but after I did that last week, I regretted it almost immediately. It was one of my first posts and I thought that I should have preserved it for posterity, for when I become famous and then look back at “the early days” and chuckle.
That’s the way I see it.
So instead of editing this second post and reblogging, I left the original (which you can read HERE) and below is the revision (although I did not change all that much). If you read both, I would really like to know your thoughts.
When you’re a ‘wine guy’ there is certainly considerable responsibility, some of which I covered in Being the Wine Guy Part One. Ah, but only if it stopped there. The one thing all wine guys like to do is drink wine (no kidding) and most of the time drinking wine is more enjoyable when you drink with other people. There are exceptions to this, of course, like my mother (she used to have the same box of Franzia ‘Sunset Blush’ in her fridge for years) and my uncle (he is actually not that bad at all since he really likes wine, but it seems he only likes wine that he purchased at the $.05 sale at BevMo–you buy one bottle at the normal price and get a second for a nickel–and I am pretty sure he has it in his head for which of the two bottles he actually paid the nickel and that is the only bottle we drink), but all of our relatives live safely out-of-state. Instead, we often have friends over for dinner and crack a few (too many) bottles of wine.
Most of the time, people we invite know I am a ‘wine guy’ so I get a bit of performance anxiety and fret for hours over which wine to serve with dinner. I have this vision that people are going to come over expecting a wine epiphany, and as the wine guy, I feel obliged to provide it. Strangely, there seems to be an inverse proportion at work here–the more I fret over the wine, the less people pay attention to it at dinner, and as far as I can tell, there has yet to be an epiphany, but I have not apparently learned anything from that.
There is another odd phenomenon: When we invite people over who know I am a ‘wine guy’ they inevitably say something to the effect of “What can we bring–other than wine of course, I wouldn’t dare bring ‘the wine guy’ any wine.” So they go buy a fruit tart or a bouquet of flowers or a jack-o-lantern. Nice gestures all, but…
Let’s think of something other than wine, say gummy candy. Let’s say you knew someone who was known as the ‘gummy candy guy’. Absolutely went bezerk over gummies: bears, worms, cherries, hand grenades, whatever. Would you even hesitate for one stinking second to bring him some gummies? Heck no. Not for a heart beat. In fact, I bet the ‘gummy candy guy’ could have gummies coming out of his rear end and still gets a boatload of candy when people come over. Now you might bring a small bag of ‘real’ Haribo Gummi Bears from your last trip to Germany, or a 17 pound bag of closeout colossal gummy hippopotamuses from the store in the mall that was going out of business, but sure as shootin’ you are going to take that bozo some candy.
What about chocolates? Same freaking thing. Beer? Sure. But wine? Not a chance. “I wouldn’t dare bring any wine to the ‘wine guy’.” Does that make any sense to anyone? If so, could you please explain it to me? Would you ever say “I am not going to bring you any chocolate because you like chocolate”??? Or, “I hear you really like building Legos so here is a bouquet of flowers”??? Why is there such a fear of bringing a bottle of wine?
While on the one hand, I understand–people may be intimidated. I drink a lot of wine and people think I know a lot about wine. Generally, the average schmuck thinks they know very little about wine, so that is where the insecurity may set in. Somewhat similarly, we are always hesitant to invite our friends who are professional (or really talented amateur) chefs over for dinner because we feel that they will be judging our cooking. In fact, when we have had professional chefs at our place for dinner, my wife insists we only cook Korean food since she figures no one will criticize her heritage (she actually claims that it is due her familiarity with the cuisine, but we all know she is just playing the “Asian Card”).
But here is the key:
Bringing wine to a wine guy is nothing like my wife’s fear of cooking for Julia Child since wine guys are not expecting you to bring over a bottle of wine that you made yourself! In fact, I hope you never decide to do that unless your name is Wes Hagen or Ehren Jordan. Having to try some bathtub wine sludge might be my worst nightmare–and my wife would be horrified. Not since she would have to try the wine too (she would never admit it, but that would scare the bejesus out of her, too), but because she knows I would not be able to hide my feelings about how it tasted for even one nanosecond. Sure, I would say the right things (I think), but my facial expressions would certainly let everyone know what I thought of the rot gut swill.
Luckily, I have only had to go through that once and coincidentally, we have not seen those people again.
So unless the “juice” in the bottle is your own creation, wine guys are not judging you by the wine you bring over. I know that when I taste a bad bottle of wine, I do not think of who paid for it as much as who made it. Really, there is a ton of perfectly acceptable wine out there–and you do not have to spend half your paycheck, either. Generally speaking, even if you know absolutely positively rock bottom bupkis squadouche about wine, if you spend at least $10 and it comes in a regular size wine bottle, no wine guy is going to throw you out of their house or spit in your food. Really. Unless the guy is a complete jerk, but you wouldn’t want to hang out with one of those anyway, so who gives a honey badger?
There is an exception to this rule! Please, please, please, PLEASE do not bring the ‘ironic’ bottle/jug/box of wine, thinking you are absolutely freaking hilarious and that you are so incredibly clever since you are the first to think of this.
Because you’re not–on both counts.
All of us wine guys (I think I can speak for all of us) have received a 5 gallon jug of white Zin (I used mine as a door stop for several years), a magnum of some wine with some sort of critter or critter’s tail on it (you know exactly what I mean), or a 3 gallon box of Franzia (I actually returned the Franzia and bought a decent wine in a bottle–they had actually spent $16.95 on the box!). Really, it was not funny the first time and it won’t be funny the next time. Heck, even a bouquet of dandelions that you pulled out of your lawn would be funnier.
This is not an attempt to convince people to bring crack to an addict (OK, maybe it is). Rather, it is just another attempt to take a bit of fear and mystery out of the wine experience. The next time you are going to have dinner with a wine guy do something new and unique:
Bring a bottle of wine.