Friday, March 21, 2014

What is your favorite wine? The dance begins...

I had a customer last night that asked a very common question.

What is your favorite wine?
Simple question right? Well not exactly...

We get this question quite a bit and the answer is not as easy as a single wine, nor does it answer the question that you are really after and that is; What should I buy today?

There are alot of answers to the question "What is your favorite wine?" and many of those answers are in my cellar aging or having been aged and waiting for the right meal, on the right occasion, with the right person or people. Sometimes, depending on my mood that day, the answer has already been consumed and is a wonderful memory that gives me great pleasure in remembering the time and place that I had it. Some days I can hand it to you off of our shelf because it is available for purchase and it represents a wonderful opportunity for the right person to make a memory of their own. The truth however, is that most times when the question is asked, "my favorite wine" has nothing to do with that particular customers quest and so... the dance begins.

We have a list of questions that have become the answer to the question:
Red or white?
Heavier or lighter bodied?
Is there a particular varietal or area of the world that is interesting?
What price point?
Are you having it with food?
What type of wine(s) do you typically like?

Many of our customers are able to answer the questions and give us the direction we need to answer their question as they answer ours. The key is that when you leave, you have my favorite wine for your particular needs.

If the boss is coming over and has very discriminating tastes regarding the wines he drinks, the more information about his particular taste in wine is a big help. If his heart lives in Italy and he is a fan of Piedmont for example, It is probably not appropriate to have an Australian Shiraz with your Veal and Mushrooms tonight. On the other hand, if California Cabernet is on their list of favorites and the menu is steaks on the grill, I am not likely to hand you a Oregon Pinot Noir.

If you and your significant other are celebrating a milestone and you are looking for something sparkling or trying to recreate that special evening from earlier in your relationship with a bottle from a specific winemaker the answer to the question will be different.

I have to admit that the dance is one of the most rewarding things about the job and the ability to send a customer out of the store with "my favorite wine" for their particular need is what builds the relationship between us and gives me the ability to help them to continue to get my favorite wine for their next occasion. I get to know people as an appreciator of whatever type of wine that they are a fan of and/or need.

Another pickle that I have learned to have fun with is when we get to the end of the process and we are down to a couple of choices that we are considering for this particular evening and they are trying to get me to make the final choice.

The question...

Of these two bottles, which is your favorite?

My answer?

How many kids do you have?
(When I get lucky, mom or dad tells me that they have at least 2)

Which is your favorite? I ask... Tough to answer right? ;)

The key is that everyone needs to understand that it is just not that easy. My taste and yours are going to be a bit different and just because I might have a preference for myself, it doesn't mean that I would choose the same wine for you, or the next customer that asks me the same question.

Thank god none of us has to choose "A favorite wine". There are a great deal of wonderful wines from all over the world in different price points and styles that I, and the rest of the wine loving community, can pick as our favorites "for now".

It keeps the journey interesting and always leaves us looking for the next great one. Someday I may run into that one wine, the life changing wine that makes me stop wanting anything other than that bottle, but I have my doubts. I have been so fortunate to have had enough great memories surrounding an equally great bottle of wine that I would prefer to continue the journey.

- Cheers

No comments:

Post a Comment