A few weeks ago I wrote a post about the difficulties wine “newbies” have in deciphering tasting room jargon. I received this email from Pat over the weekend and asked her if I could post it, because I thought it might give wineries more incentive to do some self evaluation. What does your tasting room menu or Website tasting menu look like to a person who is a wine novice and has never been to the wine country? This email is funny and satirical, but right on the money.
E-mail from Pat
I am a 69 year old woman from Ohio who has been researching a trip that our daughters are taking in Napa for a week this September.
I’ve been delighted and stimulated for the past months, pouring over information on the Internet from hotels to wineries to restaurants and everything else in between. Being of generally sound mind, my biggest gripe as in your “reserve tasting…..tasting, huh?”) has been receiving not one clarification to the questions, “What is a reserve tasting?” (maybe they’re reserving some wine so they don’t run out?) “which library are you talking about?” (are you allowed to drink wine in libraries in California?), “What is this pairing thing all about?” (do we have to bring a companion)?
Not getting very specific answers, having contacted at least a dozen of the 400 wineries in Napa, I assumed I’d have to find other professionals to answer these, what I thought were simple enough questions —-so I wrote to various and sundry folks at wineries and wine stores out there with the question, “Where do you offer education classes for neophyte oenophiles?” (is that an oxymoron?)
I cannot tell you how weak and wobbly their answers were—-from ”you could check __________ ; she runs a class at the winery —I think” and ”there are so many different definitions…………” . In general, I’ve found some answers, on my own, God help me as it took a lot of blood, sweat, and tears to get there….
So when i found your article, I was euphoric! be still, my heart!!! finally, someone who ”gets it” that there are people from OHIO who choose to come to Napa and are eager to expand their food and wine experiences because they’re ”foodies” and ”winos”. Oh, joy, now I’ll get the real inside scoop on the bewildering number of definitions of ”tastings” ………I thought. Foiled again. You didn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know.
Is there anyone on staff or out there in the ether that is California that could try?
Your advice to the wineries would be a great p.r. move, should they choose to take it. Then trying to find a good fit among them would be somewhat easier, although I’m not going to hold my breath.
It’s with tongue in cheek that i write to you, as I’m really not a quarrelsome person. In fact, I’m a charming senior citizen and would be as charming as I’ve ever been to that person(s) who would take the time, energy, and thought into creating answers to “reserve……tasting, huh?”
Regards from Pat in Ohio