Monday, December 05, 2005

Another Holiday Barrel Tasting

I honestly cannot remember how many of these events I have behind me, not counting the Spring Release weekend. Maybe six? Usually I do not look forward to them - meaning long hours on my feet, getting five minutes to shove a meal into my pie hole while standing, and often it is more than the two days. A couple nights before there are various parties for owners, employees and special customers - all of these key people are needed to keep your winery open and alive.

Once I get caught up in the crowds I forget about my tired feet and cannot remember why I don't enjoy them. I look forward to my favorite customers and friends dropping by. With pride I show them around and have them sample our "harvest." To keep me entertained, I store conversations and small events in the back of my memory banks. The conversations or one liners from some of the not so favorite type of customer which rarely change from year to year.

Me saying to customer: "Gosh, as much as we would like to accomodate you we don't stack discounts. Our computer doesn't recognize them."

Me thinking: "Oh forget about all of those discounts. Why don't we just give you a key to the winery so you can help yourself to as much free wine anytime you want? Can I come over and clean your toilet, too? Really. I don't mind."

But I don't say that. I just smile.

Me saying to customer: "No problem. It's easy to see how we get mixed up."

Me thinking: "Ahem - and earlier you were telling somebody on the phone that the manager was your best friend so you could get a special deal and now you don't remember what your best friend looks like. Do I look like a 5'9" tall redhead, you poser?"

But I don't say that. I just smile.

Me saying to new hot shot industry person who brings his friends in to dazzle them with his self importance: "Really, that is amazing! I did not know that Washington state sells more white wines than red wines."

Me thinking: " You effing idiot. I know about you and I also know that you finally got your first job when you were 36 years old because your folks called in some favors. Tell your brilliant wine data to the wine association. Do your friends know that your self named title of "Distributor" really means that you are the delivery person?"

But I don't say that. I just smile.

Me saying to customer who claims the Cabernet Sauvignon is bad because of the sediment (tartaric crystals): "Your friend is right. This doesn't mean that the wine is bad. If anything, this is a good sign. It shows that the wine has been treated with a gentle touch and not been overly fined and filtered. In Europe these crystals are accepted and appreciated as a sign that the wine is a natural one and you will be rewarded with all of the complexities that the wine diamonds indicate.

Me thinking: "Shut up you little freak. Listen to your friend. He obviously knows wine more than you do, you little whiney-pee-pants. Now lower your #%&%# voice."

But I don't say that. I just smile.

Me saying to customer: "Gosh, I am really sorry. We are not equipped to give out rainchecks for sold out vintages."

Me thinking: " What do you think vintage means and where do you propose we get these 2002 grapes at? Now mark an "L" on your forehead and get out of here."

But I don't say that. I just smile.

Me saying to customer: "Wow. Good question. I am not sure when we'll produce a sweet white Zinfandel with a screw top that sells for $6.99."

Me thinking: "When hell freezes over."

But I don't say that. I just smile.

Me saying to customer: "Thanks for coming in. It was good seeing you and please come back."

Me thinking: "It's about time you asshole. It's now 6:15 pm. I thought you would never leave. We close at 5:00 pm and you show up at 5:20 pm, beg to come in for one minute, you ate the last of the food and drank more than your share of free wine, and you didn't buy a damn thing. What do you think we are - your own personal happy hour?"

But I don't say that. I just smile and chalk it up to another year. I can hardly wait for next year because I wouldn't miss this event for the world!
Cheers!

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