I’m not a wine drinker. It gives me headaches and nightmares. I drink the occasional glass, but in general, I do not enjoy wine. This may make me sound uncultured; however, I make up for it in other ways.
For example, I am a connoisseur of coffee, chocolate, potato chips, and Seinfeld. You may be wondering how someone so well-rounded does not like something so good, and I understand your point; I don’t get it either. But I have met other people who do not like wine, I promise.
I’ve worked for several corporate giants. One particular job was unique in that my boss was in London, yet I worked in the New York office. On a visit across the pond, my boss took a few of us out for drinks. When the server came around to ask for our drink order, the guys ordered wine, I ordered a cocktail, and my boss ordered something unmemorable.
However, I remember him saying the reason he doesn’t drink wine is because it makes him mean. I had to restrain myself from asking how he gets away with drinking at the office.
I wasn’t always aware wine wasn’t for me. A few years ago at the same corporate giant, I made a friend who has become like a brother to me. Mike, my friend, is über sophisticated. He lives in a hip neighborhood, knows all the fun restaurants (I call him a walking Zagat), is well read, and rides cabs. We hadn’t been friends for very long when he asked me to go to a wine tasting with him. He had no idea what he was getting into.
Before the wine tasting started, Mike and I perused the wine store where the tasting was to take place. I tried to understand the different kinds of wine from all the different countries, but really I just hung on to what I knew coming in – there’s white, there’s red, there’s rosé. Now would be a good time to tell you I used to work in an Italian restaurant where we served wine. Somehow I had faked my way through wine knowledge while working there for over a year. Clearly, I took my job seriously. It was my first job out of college and I was putting that BS in Communications to good use.
Back to the wine tasting. Mike and I were escorted to a conference room. Each seat had several big fat wine glasses at the place setting. In my defense, no instructions were given prior to the beginning of the wine tasting session. NO ONE said I should just take a sip of the wine, not drink the entire glass set before me….or all the glasses set before me. Mike didn’t know me well enough to know I’m not a lush, just new to the world of wine tasting.
As you might guess, I had gotten more than a little buzzed. To my delight, so had Mike. The wine had gone to our heads and we couldn’t stop laughing at the other ten or twelve people sitting around the table. They swirled their wine, they sniffed it, and they held the glass oh so delicately. To annoy me further, they referred to the wine as fruity, earthy, bold, dry, blah blah blah. To this day, I describe wine as either sweet or bitter. I believe the words “pretentious” and “douchey” were floating around in my brain and I have no evidence to prove the words didn’t escape my mouth.
The woman conducting the tasting continued to teach us about the various wines. She asked how a particular wine tasted. As there was no response from the table, the hero in me decided to chime in and save this poor woman. With honesty and conviction, my innocent albeit buzzed response was, “Grapes!” The wine woman and the winos at the table were not impressed.
I don’t know how I had missed this fact, but as it turns out, the “wine woman” was Mike’s friend Andrea. To this day, Mike hasn’t invited me to meet her…again.
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