Thursday, February 19, 2009

Wine Comments that Drive Me Crazy

Funny thing, I stole this entire title from my friend Samantha's blog (Samantha Sans Dosage).... she wrote a great list of wine comments from customers that are just simply difficult to respond to - stuff like "I need a wine recommendation - where are the wine guys?" and "I'm not a wine connaisseur."

So I decided that I probably have a list of some of mine that I encounter in my job in wholesale selling German wine. Here are some that come to mind:

"You know, German wine doesn't really sell."

All right then, should I just go home and go back to bed?

Or my other response in my head: making a funny face and thinking - "What the hell? I've been in retail the last three years and nothing sold better in my hands than a bottle of well made German Riesling. And after a little introduction, I even got people to ask for German Spatburgunder by name. What do you mean German wine doesn't sell? Oh you mean you actually have to do your JOB and show your customers something a little different, something more than what they already came in knowing? Wow! I'm sorry!"

"You know, Riesling doesn't really sell." or its cousin, "We don't sell much Riesling."

Really? Shocking. One of the greatest noble grapes of the world which expresses its terroir in the most transparent way... why would this sell? Oh, I'm sorry, you mean you have to do your job. Pardon me.

Seriously though, I know people are going to order their Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. I know. You don't need to tell me. I already know. I'm just saying that having some Riesling on your list or in your repetoire may be beneficial for rounding you out and making you differentiated from all the other joints that are your competitors. You are in the wine business. Have you no creativity or love for wine? Or do you just try to put J. Lohr everything on your list and call it a day?

"You know, I love German Riesling, I really do, it is great, it just doesn't sell."

Again, sorry. Tiring comment. All this means is you don't know how to sell.

"We are looking for a $10 Riesling that we can pour by the glass (and charge $12 a glass for.) But we don't buy anything you can buy in stores."

Oh, you want an inexpensive Riesling but just one case a month, but I cannot sell it retail. Thank you for thinking this way. It takes reality into account.

"That's sweet."

Really. When you drink Orange Juice do you recoil in horror, saying "That's sweet!"? When you bite into a fresh apple, do you grimace and say "That's sweet!"? What else are you tasting in the wine? Anything? Anybody? Bueller??

"That's all you sell? German wine?"

Yes. We are importers. We try not to diversify too much. Just like you are a Japanese/Italian/Steakhouse restaurant. Focusing is good. It makes you an expert in the field.

"We're in bed with Southern. They print our wine list and everything."

And you admit that out loud???

"We get too great a deal with Southern. We don't deal with anybody else. Sorry."

Great! Should we all go back to bed then? Thanks!

Honestly, their Riesling comes out of a factory. Ours comes out of family owned estates that date back for centuries.

"Can I just order one case of wine? No, I can't pay the delivery charge."

Okay, let me hand deliver it to you. It will be my pleasure. I love loading docks. They excite me.

"But the wine I am now serving by the glass is just $6 for a 1.5 L bottle. Yeah, people seem to like it."

I have no words.

"You know, I just don't Riesling."

So..... why did you ask me to come down here and open bottles for you?


Samantha Dugan said...

Don't hold back Nancy, tell us how you really feel. Southern really sucks the life out of the little guys don't they....guess that is kind of the point but pretty soon we are going to be left with fewer and fewer

Lyle Fass said...

"We're in bed with Southern. They print our wine list and everything."


Nancy Deprez said...

Thanks guys! I actually felt bad after writing this since it was so negative - as though I thought everyone who didn't like German Riesling was a bad person, or can't sell wine! That isn't how I feel of course - people are entitled to not like Riesling! :)

Noel DLP said...

Nancy, those voices in your head are so funny! Gave me a good laugh, thank you.

Michael Hughes said...

This is hilarious. I know you must have felt better after writing this post. Don't ever apologize for how you feel! You can't say these things to their faces so you have to get it out somehow. Keep on with it!

Nancy Deprez said...

Thanks Michael and Noel!

James said...

get used to it, kid.

and I'm sure you'll persevere.

Nikita said...

Don't hate the buyers, hate the Liebfraumlich.

Jeffrey Hollister said...

I don't get it why these people need to evaluate German Riesling. I mean, they're one of the best tasting wines I ever had. Other kinds taste funny, ya know and stains the teeth. I even visited my dentist after drinking a glass of red wine in a party in Greenville, SC. Those words running through your head are really funny, btw. Thanks for the laugh!