Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Wine shops and self-centered recommendations

As mentioned in my last post, we recently purchased a bottle of the Viader for our anniversary. The few days prior to our anniversary, I had hit all sorts of wine shops, Internet research, and even Sam's Club for those random good deals in search of a wine that was in our desired price range (75-$100) that wasn’t on the list that would also be ready to drink now within an hour of decanting. Thus, I got a few recommendations.

Well, I have a beef to pick with the wine stores. For the love of god, there are two questions you should ask me, both equally important:
1) Can I help you find something?
2) What do you normally like / did you have something in mind?

Recognize that just because I’m in a store looking for a recommendation on a “nice bottle of red to drink for our anniversary in the $70-$100 range” that doesn’t mean I don’t have a few ideas of my own. And, most importantly, its important to know if I like smoky, cedar box wines, chewy highly tannic wines, or a nice fruit forward California Cab. (In truth I like them all, but I prefer a wine I can enjoy a little bit with AND without food and some work better than others)

But did the wine store person ask me this? No, they just went around recommending what they like, as if I don’t have tastes of my own. Maybe its because you think I don't know anything, maybe its because you have no concept of how others tastes differ than yours, I'm not sure...I just don’t entirely get why you don’t ask me what I like first….the ramifications are really strong if your taste and mine don’t mesh. If I don’t like the wine, then I’m upset I took your word on it. I might not ever return to the store and tell everyone about what a horrible recommendation you made….or if you’re lucky, maybe I'll avoid you like the plague. Either way, your best interest (in a city with more than one wine shop) is to make sure I like the wine, even if you don’t. After all, I’m the customer. Sure, throw out a couple of things “outside the box” of what I might think I like….but overall, tailor what you recommend to things you think I will actually enjoy, or find someone who can.

Luckily I know just enough about wine to know the stuff he recommended is stuff I probably wouldn’t like, so I took his opinions with a grain of salt. (also known as ignored his opinions completely) But if I hadn’t and I had blindly bought something, I probably wouldn’t have liked it and that, my friends, could’ve ruined our anniversary dinner. Disaster avoided, but barely.

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