Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Enough Already

Last year, I noticed a trend starting that irritated me from the beginning. This has nothing to do with wine, but rather with the use of the word "Epic". That has become part of our current vernacular, meaning great, awesome, amazing, etc. I understand if people used it, like, once a year. However, now people have started using it to mean anything that is basically slightly better than "good."

Can we just all agree to quit using the word? Thanks.

Also, it would be great to consider when to use words like "awesome" (which I am guilty of- but not nearly as often as I thought. I used it twice on Twitter in November- once in reference to Cook's night out, once in reference to a friend of ours that really does cause awe with her dedication to a charity.) Another one is "Amazing". do that many things in life really cause you to be amazed?

I realize this post sounds grumpier that it should. I'm actually in a really good mood today. I am just trying to figure out another adjective to describe the Dorm Room Dinner last night, prepared by Anthony Devoti from Five. The courses were well thought out, delicious tasting, and had a bit of whimsy that was fun to be part of. Was it Epic? No. Was it Awesome? I guess not. Was it a really fun evening that I would love to repeat? Absolutely.

So, if we could all just quit diluting these words, that would be awesome.

Monday, November 22, 2010

One of those weird weeks

The week of Thanksgiving is always a strange one in the wine business. Here's how it will go:

Monday- Check in with basically all accounts that are open. Nobody will want to take a delivery on Wednesday, so all of this week's worth of work will be packed into two days. However, it will also be just an order-taking day, as most accounts will not even consider a new product for the week. This is a bit of a stretch of a day to work hard, because most people use Monday as their "warm up lap", and aren't used to working hard.

Tuesday- make some deliveries, and check in with the restaurants that weren't open Monday. This is actually the easiest of the days this week. My advice is to eat lunch somewhere good.

Wednesday- because every retailer and restaurant in the city will be covered up with people, you feel like you have to be working hard. The truth is, most accounts don't want you there bugging them. This is a day where some retailers like you to hang out, and help people shop for wine. Others just want you out of the way.

Thursday is the day that we eat too much, drink too much, and nap too much- all in the name of giving thanks.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving, folks! If you want to pair wine, think along the lines of riesling, gewurtztraminer, Champagne, pinot noir, etc.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The same questions

Yesterday, I taught a "Basics of Wine" class to a group of about 55 senior citizens. It is so funny to me that, whenever I teach a class like this, the same group of questions always seem to pop up. So, here are the answers that I'm thinking in my head to them, as opposed to what I really say out loud.

Q: "My husband and I bought a bottle of wine on our honeymoon 26 years ago. It it still any good?"
A: I don't know. I have no idea what the wine is, where you bought it, what conditions it was stored under, or if it was good enough quality to begin with in the first place. My guess is that it has been moved 17 times, stored in a rack on top of your refrigerator, and probably resembles cat urine right now.

Q: "Have you ever heard of Blackstone Merlot?"
A: Yes. And what an amazing point that you bring up, interrupting me in the middle of my segment of how to make Champagne. Thank you for derailing the presentation altogether.

Q (when tasting the wine): "Does this have any oak in it?"
A: Nope. That's why I have been talking about the oak treatment on this wine for the last 2 1/2 minutes, talking about the specific oak barrels, and how you can taste the vanilla notes in the wine as the result. I was trying to trick you.

Q: "I like a really sweet, kind of dry wine, what should I try?"
A: Getting your terminology right. Those terms are opposite. That's like saying "I like a black, kind of white paint job on a wall."

Q: "I like to put ice cubes in my wine. Is that okay?"
A: Only if you are drinking it out of a Dixie Cup.

Q: "Do you like Missouri wines?"
A: For the most part, no. But I'm going to tell you I do, because I don't want to hurt your feelings.

Q: "Your job sounds awesome! So, do you really just drink wine all day?"
A: Yes. I never do anything like get to my office at 6:30 am to unload 72 cases of wine by hand from a surly truck driver that is about to cough up a lung on my sweatshirt. I also don't spend hours filing, updating quickbooks, emailing, and dragging around a heavy bag of samples just hoping that a given account will see me and buy something so I can afford to pay my mortgage.

Now, before you get offended, realize that these answers are just the smart ass ones that flash through my mind. I wouldn't ever actually say them, and most of them are exaggerated a bit. I love my job, and would want to do nothing else right now.

It's about that time- sit back, crack a bottle, talk to someone you love, and enjoy.


Friday, November 5, 2010

Advice for the youngin's

Last night I had a great meal at Five with a buddy of mine that just graduated from Med School. One thing that came up in our discussion is that medical schools don't do anything to prepare newly graduated doctors for the social situations that they are about to find themselves in. So, if you are just about to head out into the work force (whether you're a doctor or not), here are some rules to live by when it comes to the wonderfully awkward situation known as "meeting for cocktails" in a business setting. Most people eventually get invited to a business dinner- we will go over etiquette for that later. Before said dinner, you will be asked to meet for cocktails. Here's how you survive, without looking foolish:

1) Have a drink that you can order with confidence. Make sure this is a cocktail that is relatively easy to make, and classic in style. You also want to order something that makes you look professional. Stay away from anything that uses coke or fruit juice as a mixer. My go-to cocktail is a Manhattan. If you aren't into something that big and bold, you might consider something in the realm of vodka tonic, Campari & soda, or simply your favorite (which should now be Ketel or something similar) vodka on the rocks. Under no circumstances should you order Rum and Coke, Vodka and Orange Juice, or a Singapore Sling. You are out of college- leave those drinks behind. Also, no shots are to be ordered. Ever again.

2) Only have one or two of your cocktail. After this point, things may start spiraling out of control for you. If people are pressing on, switch to beer.

3) If you order a beer, make sure it's decent. Again, leave the Bud Light in your college apartment, or your fridge at home. If they don't have a craft beer at the bar (they should), then at least order something that is locally made, or Guinness.

4) Don't get drunk. This is a touchy one, as the people who invited you might have too much to drink. However, if you cross the line, they will see you as less-than-professional, and won't forget. One easy way to keep this in check is to drink a full glass of water for each cocktail or beer you have. This will slow your consumption rate.

5) Be wary of wines by the glass. This totally depends on where you are. Most restaurants basically don't have very good wines by the glass and are making a ton of money on cheap product. If you at a wine bar, or a place that specializes in wine, throw this rule out. Also, don't ever, ever, ever order "House Red" or "House White". That's Busch league.

6) Offer to buy a round. When you do this, don't say anything about the prices of the drinks- they will cost significantly more than they do at your corner bar. Everybody already knows this, by mentioning it you will look like a rookie.

7) Have something to talk about. There will be some work talk, but also have a few subjects that you have brushed up on. One good way to do this is to read the front page of MSN.com, and ESPN.com so you can know what's going on in the world and in sports. Just like Momma told you- stay away from politics and religion. These usually just get people riled up, and aren't appropriate for most business situations. Oh, and don't talk too much.

If you follow these rules, and actually smile and have a good time, you will be just fine.


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Many things going on

I'm glad I didn't blog over the weekend. On Saturday, I had a couple of posts written in my head. Mainly, they were about the following points:

1) To all small business owners- Don't forget that the very customers you complain about, are rude to, and are sending away because you are "too busy during the holidays" are the same people that put food on your table, pay your electric bills, and put shoes on your kids' feet. Don't treat them as the enemy.

2) To other small business owners- Okay, I get it. You have thoughts about politics. However, you might want to chill with them a bit on social networking sites. Don't forget that roughly 50% of the people in your shop/restaurant/building are voting for the other side. By spouting off too much, you will certainly get your viewpoint across, but also risk driving your customers across the street to your quieter, nicer competitor.

3) If you have never been to a restaurant, it's a really jerk move to go there 3 days before it closes, and write a scathing review on Yelp. That doesn't give you power, rather just makes you look arrogant, selfish, and foolish.

I'm sure if I had written the full extent of the posts I had in mind, I would have named names, or dropped big hints, and as a result probably put part of my own business at risk.

From the offices at my small company, we are proud to announce that we have officially hired our first employee in St Louis- she will be doing deliveries during the holidays, and slowly start building a sales route. We also bought a big ol' van to drive these deliveries around.

Finally, as you prepare for the holidays, check out these wines: Domaine St Vincent (delicious sparkling wine from New Mexico), Villa Creek (awesome Rhone-style blends from Paso), Hermann J Wiemer (killer whites from New York), and Pavan Moscato (the ultimate wine for guys to say "I'm sorry", "I love you", or "Let's get freaky" to the woman they love.)

That's all. Have a great week. Make sure you look at the difference between "urgent" and "important" regarding the things in your life- they often aren't the same.