There is always one



There is always one

One of the more fun-filled adventures of my job is presenting wine tastings.  If you are into people watching this one is for you. Over the years I’ve been exposed to the best (and the worst) the wine drinking community has to offer.  Here are some of my most memorable personalities.

The Cheerleaders:  They greet you like long lost friends, even have the savvy to ask after the kids.  They cannot luuurve the wine enough and tell everyone around the table how they ‘discovered’ you.  Come the end of the night they dutifully fill in an order form for a bottle of your entry level wine…

The Been-there-seen-that:  Accept it, you will never know as much about wine as this guy (yes, sorry dudes, it’s usually a guy).  They’ll correct you on everything from terminology to your own history.  Your wine is constantly compared to so-and-so’s from their ‘private cellar”.  But, identify these guys at the beginning of the tasting and continuously compare your facts with theirs and they become some of the favourite attendees.  Instead of being disruptive they have now gotten what they craved – acknowledgement and they will show their appreciation by getting the crowd on your side.

The Authentic:  They arrive with a handcrafted wooden box containing their fine crystal. Everything is a ceremony, but they do it in silence and with such flourish that you cannot help but admire their commitment.  They don’t say much, score modestly, but boy, can they buy!  They will also politely thank you for a great evening and with the same dedication as before pack all their glasses back in their case for next time. I love them!

The Passionate Newbee:  They have just invested in the latest wine gadget and come hell or high water, you just have to try it.  They will make sure that everyone gets to ooh and aah while they pour your wines with their new aerator.  They will take over and start a whole engineering discussion educating the crowd on the marvel that is this little plastic wonder.  Smile, nod, agree, then thank them for their insight and gently but frimly direct them back to their chair.  They are harmless and will usually add interesting discussions to the conversation, so don’t dismiss them outright.  Even maybe allow them to demonstrate again on one of your premier wines. A tasting should be fun and inclusive.

The Cat Lady:  This is her weekly outing.  She comes dressed for the occasion and has done all her homework.  She will make recommendations on the colour scheme of your website and describe in detail why she does not like your wine. Seriously! Take your cue from the crowd on this one.  If they roll their eyes behind her back, cut her short and make sure that the evening is not spoilt by someone who should rather be trolling the internet than wasting everyone’s time.

The Dependable one:  They have been supporting you right from the start.  They always make time to chat with you before the tasting and help to open the bottles while they ask you about sales and congratulate you on achievements they read on social media.  They are always on your side and will tell you honestly when they think a bottle of wine might be corked (without embarrassing you).  Treasure these individuals, they are your silent marketing team.

In the end, it really doesn’t matter which type of wine enthusiast you are, as long as you are there to enjoy the experience with everyone else.


Tanya Liebenberg

All stories by: Tanya Liebenberg