With November here the Holiday Season is approaching us quickly. At the wine shop where I work , that means a crowded store and customers frantically purchasing gifts. When I talk to a customer one of the most frustrating things to hear is, “Oh, I just shop for the wine label.” Or, “I love the name of this wine, I have to buy it!”
There are so many amazing wines out there, and you’re concerned about how pretty the label is? You’re going to enjoy wine a lot more if you start focusing on what’s on the inside of the bottle.
I was on the wrong end of one of these gifts before. A few years ago, received a bottle of wine all wrapped up and thought, “Oh great, I love free wine.” The bottle in question turned out to be a low calorie, diet-style wine (I cringe calling that product wine), and turned out to be the worst beverage I have ever drank, ever. It tasted like watered-down, sour grape juice, with hints of Robitussin and artificial sweetener.
When I unwrapped the bottle, and I tried not to let the frustration show on my face. I knew exactly what the product was, and I knew it would be terrible. The person I received the gift from proclaimed, “I hope you like it. I don’t know anything about wine, but I thought the label was cool.”
Do yourself a favor, and a favor to all those around you. Stop buying wine solely for the label. It will save you loads of embarrassment if it’s a gift, and your palate will thank you if a purchase for yourself.
Let me throw this disclaimer in there. If a wine has a really cool label, it doesn’t mean that it’s a bad product, and the winemaker cares more about marketing than wine. That is not what I’m saying. There are some awesome wines, made by some creative and artistic companies. Their labels kick ass, and so does their wine. There is the other side to the coin as well. You will some fantastic wines with awful, gaudy labels (Alsatian wine anyone?).
Imagine you are shopping for your boss. You find a bottle of wine with big, bold colors on the label and really stupid name. When you buy this wine, you’re taking a chance. It could be anywhere from amazing, to utterly horrible. Why chance that?! Especially with the person who signs your paycheck. You know what it’s like to receive a crappy gift. It’s awkward. But when someone gives you a great gift, you will go out of your way to show gratitude. I know it’s a bit subtle, but it won’t go unnoticed.
So here’s what you do instead. And the best part is, it’s super simple. Ask for help. Go up to the shop owner or employee and say, “Excuse me, I need to get a gift for someone, but I know nothing about wine. Can you help me find a good bottle?”
While I know it’s not fun to say you know nothing about something, don’t be embarrassed. That’s what the employees and wine salesmen are there for. They want to help you, and they want to educate you. People work in a wine shop because they love wine and they are eager to talk about it. No one is going to judge you because of your lack of wine knowledge. And if they do, they don’t belong in a customer service environment.
So if you want to enjoy wine please, please stop buying it for its label or goofy name. Especially if you’re giving it as a gift. Ask for help, you will get it; and everyone will be grateful for that.