“It was sunny but slightly misty on that crisp autumnal dawn, as Francoise, Guy, Jean-Michel and the boys tackled the first acre of vines. The breeze was out of the southwest at four knots, and a high pressure center kept the skies blue and cloudless. Little did they know that those baskets of grapes were destined to forge a legend.”
Now, I love anecdotal information, and find myself using it when I have a bit of worthwhile trivia to entertain with during a wine transaction:
“Well, heck: the entire shipment of this five dollar Bolivian Merlot was hijacked at gunpoint in San Pedro. It was tasted by the Uzi-toting vino-thugs and then immediately returned to the importer, after the indignant criminals proclaimed it ‘too vegetal and somewhat thin on the mid-palate.’ I disagreed with their assessment, and bought the entire lot from the frightened importer, who was so upset by the incident that he sold me the 200 cases at an enormous discount and left the wine business to bus tables at an Applebee’s.”
I’ve also discovered that the amount of information necessary to sell a bottle of wine is in direct proportion to its price.
For example, trying to incite a customer’s passion for a $200 Australian Shiraz requires me to transform into a Shakespearean soliloquist. The customer will ask me about the wine, and suddenly, the store lights will fade, save for a single overhead spot which illuminates my face in dramatic, eerie fashion. I hold up the bottle like a skull and address my audience:
“I know little that may comfort ye, but tis this I shall relay; just as the twilight descends, purple and black, enveloping the earth with its inevitable overlay of night, so shall this exquisite nectar please thee with the sinful essence of deepest, darkest fruits. Verily, it is a regal spice box overflowing with clove, cedar and lavender, and it finishes in heavenly fashion, offering glimpses of a shining and serene hereafter…and don’t forget, we also do a ten percent discount on six bottles or more.”
Anecdotes and information are useful, but most customers just want to know what the wine tastes like, and that’s where trivia and textbooks are of no use. That’s why we taste round-the-clock, and consult our thesaurus when necessary…