Posted on

Wine Professionals

Hello and welcome to my blog page.  My plan is to keep this updated regularly to keep it relevant and to not only boar you with my take on news stories in the wine media but also my opinions on the industry at large, new wines I’ve tried, restaurants and the occasional rant about rugby and/or cricket.  The comments below do not necessarily reflect those of a normal human being.

The People You Meet – 25th October, 2017

The thing that currently irritates me most in life is people who drive at 40 mph in a 60 mph zone, holding up traffic without ever looking in their mirrors, and then continue at the same speed through a 20, usually outside a school.  A close second are so called wine professionals whose stock in trade is surliness, arrogance and a lack of knowledge.  These people enjoy nothing more than intimidating outsiders and waving their bits around showing off.

Last week I was at a tasting dinner in London where we were given a lovely white wine as an aperitif.  My friend and I immediately said we thought it was great.  As soon as we did so a man in red trousers and a twill shirt who’d been silent until then immediately piped up that it was faulty, shouting “This wine is undrinkable! It reeks of VA!” collaring the waitress to inform her.  The wine was fine, this guy was just unzipping his trousers, removing his appendage and waving it around so everyone could see he was in charge.  What was really disappointing was that pretty much everyone else in our circle then went from praising the wine for its freshness to declaring it undrinkable.

This shows how easy it can be for someone as clueless as this guy was to influence other people and have them believe he knows what he’s talking about.  It’s a big reason why wine professionals have a reputation of being largely clueless and the reverse-snobs pounce on this.  We see reports in the news all the time about how wine “experts” can’t tell the difference between one wine style and another or can’t differentiate between £10 and £100 bottles.  The reason is that the people who are made out as experts in these reports don’t know their arse from their elbow.  This is largely the norm rather than the exception as I’ve experience first hand at tasting competitions.

These people cover up their inability to tell sparkling Jacob’s Creek from Bollinger with bluster and snootiness and are generally unaccepting of newcomers who might see through their nonsense.  The friendliest, most helpful and humble people I’ve met in the industry are invariably the most informed.  The people who sneer at others and claim wines that are clean as a whistle are faulty tend to be those who have no qualifications and no palate and are insecure about it.  They also tend to be crap at organising tasting dinners and can turn and evening of drinking awesome wine and eating steak into a snoozefest by wittering on endlessly about themselves at the head of the table.

Wine is a big and daunting subject full of mysteries and it’s easy to fool people into thinking you know what you’re talking about.  It’s equally easy to come across as a complete prat while you’re doing it.