My thoughts on Virginia winery tasting room staff!

One of my complaints about tasting rooms at wineries in Virginia is that a good percentage of the time the staff are not very knowledgeable about wine. Seems as though that should be one of the prerequisites for the job! Now of course I understand that wineries aren’t going out and hiring sommeliers to work the counter for $9 or so an hour, but at least give them a crash course on basic wine facts.

Now I am sure you are asking what sparked this blog entry…. well it was the following dialog between myself and some tasting room staff at a northern VA winery:

Me: “so how long was this aged in oak?”
Tasting room person 1: “18 months”
Me: “wow, so this was just bottled recently then, being that it is a 2006”
Tasting room person 2: “No, it has been bottled since 2006, they put the year it was bottled on the label”
Me: weird look at Megan (my wife for those readers who don’t know)
Me: [trying to be polite]”Oh, I thought the year on the label represented the year the grapes were harvested”
Tasting room person 1: “No, it is the year it was bottled.”
Me: “Okay, thanks” [slightly sarcastic]

Have you ever been in a situation where you KNEW the correct answer but some dumb comment made you think twice? Well this was that moment for me. I definitely did a double take in my brain.

Alright, now I am not saying everyone in the world should know that the year on the bottle is the year the grapes were harvested, but if you are working in the wine industry that is definitely a must (no pun intended). I will say the staff were very friendly and personable, but this was just one of the many things they said that urked me. If you don’t know the answer to a question, just say I don’t know, that is okay.

So am I being too picky?

When we go to wineries where the staff is knowledgeable about wine we definitely let the owner or the person themselves know how much we appreciate it and them. It just makes the experience for us that much more enjoyable, especially when you have to pay for the tasting.

Let me know what you think!!!!

Categories: Uncategorized | 3 Comments

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3 thoughts on “My thoughts on Virginia winery tasting room staff!

  1. Penny

    I couldn’t agree with you more! No, you are not being picky, at all. Goodness knows how many new wine enthusiasts went away from there with the wrong information because they’re not as well informed yet.

  2. Anonymous

    I totally agree with you! For example, I have recently had a Virginia winery tasting room staff ask what I wanted in my tasting glass. I plainly stated that I would like their Vidal Blanc. She poured me their Cabernet Franc. I politely poured it out (I had tasted the Cab plenty that day). I then asked politely again for Vidal Blanc. Again was poured Cab Franc. This happened three times and finally I became frustrated and gave up. My tasting partner and I gave each other a confused look when she asked if we would like to purchase “that” Vidal blanc and I politely stated “no, thanks”. We could only wonder how new folks to wine (that are trying to learn)would have been confused when they would have gotten home with a case of what they thought was good Vidal Blanc that was really Cab Franc! Big difference in my book.

  3. John Witherspoon

    wow, Vidal Blanc and Cab Franc. Holy Cow that is a HUGE difference. Maybe the person was hard of hearing I thought as I started reading you comment, but when I got to the end and they offered you the “vidal blanc” I couldn’t believe it.
    Good thing you knew the difference.
    Thanks for writing.

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