Friday, May 24, 2013
1. The first one is a big one that goes a long way, simply TRUST US. The staff is very passionate about wine and we love to share our knowledge and experiences with you. When someone asks for specific things, we are trying to turn those words into a great recommendation. From what you say, we typically suggest wines that we know from personal experience that we think you'll love. Nothing makes us happier than giving you a good selection.
2. Be open to wines that you may not be familiar with. If you work in a wine store, you get to taste many more and different types of wines than the average person and we may recommend something that you've never heard of. We don't really sell the big brands anyway. It's from all our tasting experiences that we rely on to help you and we as a staff will frequently talk to each other to try to get it just right. Remember, it's only a bottle of wine and the process should be fun.
3. Don't feel awkward or embarrassed about anything that you know or don't know or what you'd like to spend. If you have a preference or a feeling about a certain wine or style just tell us. Anything that you say can genuinely help, just be honest. As I said, we talk with customers all the time so chances are that we have had some experience with your situation.
4. Be comfortable learning over time how to talk about wine. I know that wine terms can sound crazy... "this wine is full bodied and crisp, but rich with savory edges, a saline minerality, and notes of mint and citrus pith". It can be hard at first. We are always trying to translate what customers ask for in order to make a good recommendation and we like to describe the wine to you. Start to think about the components that make up wine like acidity and tannins, and about flavors, both fruit and non-fruit. It can take a while, it's like learning a new language, but ultimately when we learn your taste we can give you great choices very quickly. Oh, and forget sweet and dry, it doesn't indicate quality and it doesn't really mean anything unless we are talking about wines with residual sugar, like port, dessert wines, and some traditionally sweet rieslings.
5. Give us a price range to work with. If someone says, "Well you know, not too expensive..." It's hard for us to know what that means. Should we be thinking of a wine at $10? $20? $50? Different customers have different comfort zones and that can change every night. Also, we expect different things from wines at various price levels. If you come in and ask for a "dry red wine", we're literally thinking of about 400 bottles. Let us know what you are looking for in the wine, it helps to have a little direction.
That's it. It's pretty easy, we look forward to helping you find some great wines!