Professional Wino

August 1st, 2008

At my suggestion, our little clan (Laziest Dog On the Planet included) took a nice camping trip last weekend. I felt it would do us all good to get away, breathe some fresh air, eat chili dogs, and lie in the dirt. Plus camping is one of Hubby’s favorite activities, so being the thoughtful, selfless wife that I am, I insisted we go, willing to endure being eaten alive by mosquitoes for his happiness.

Actually, that’s a bunch of crap. It was just an excuse to get us up there so I could participate in a wine tasting competition at Greenwood Ridge Vineyards, a mere six miles from the campground! How convenient!

I figured I had as good a chance as anybody at winning a wine tasting contest. After all, I’ve been a Professional Wino for years. The winery had the competition divided into three levels: Novice, Amateur, and Professional. ‘Professional’ in this case meant those who actually work in the wine industry, not those that support it single-handedly, so I entered myself at the ‘Amateur’ level. I even called the winery just to clarify the difference between ‘Novice’ and ‘Amateur’, and the nice lady I spoke to explained that ‘Novice’ was supposed to be for those who generally weren’t very familiar with wine at all. I’m so familiar with wine, I don’t even mind walking around naked in front of it. Amateur all the way, baybee!

I arrived at the competition, scoped out the crowd, and felt a little nervous but sure I could at least give these people a run for their money. I even allowed my thoughts to stray momentarily to the “winner” fantasy, the Oscar moment where I stand at the podium, clutching my golden wine bottle trophy: “I’d like to thank Beverages & More and The Bottle Barn……”

Then the other competitors started talking about the hint of cedar you get in this wine that you don’t get in that, the purple color of one varietal in comparison to the really purple color of another varietal, the subtle differences between wine barrels made with 100-year-old oak cut down by French unicorns during a full moon as opposed to 101-year-old oak cut down by the Keebler elves at precisely 06:57 GMT on the third Saturday of any month starting with the letter ‘J’. I’ve always gone by the more pedestrian, “Yep, that tastes like a Cab,” and “Yeah, that tastes like a Chardonnay.”

Needless to say, I got my friggin’ ass kicked on the first round. Out of eight varietals (Cabernet, Syrah, Sauvignon Blanc, etc.), I got one right. ONE. On the last two, there was the opportunity to guess the year, region, and winery as well. I didn’t bother to check, but I’m sure I wasn’t even close. The other tasters assured me that this was a particularly difficult round. As it turns out, they had all done this a gazillion times before. Regardless, I hung my head in slightly-buzzed shame. My Big Adventure In Winoland was over.

Then, a miracle happened. The wine gods smiled down upon the gustatorially impaired (i.e., the guy running the competition decided to go easy on losers like me), and I was advanced to the next round! I still had a chance at delivering my carefully prepared winner’s speech! The golden wine bottle would be mine, all mine!!

Actually, I went into the second round thinking, ok, I know I ain’t gonna win, but I’ll just have fun with it. I had gotten to know some of my competitors, and those people knew how to have a good time. (What Professional Wino doesn’t?) Well, I don’t know if it was those couple of glasses of wine I had during the break that, in my professional opinion, were essential for keeping myself primed for tasting, or if I just got lucky, but somehow I managed to guess six out of eight varietals! This round also had the option of guessing the year, region, and winery for every wine, and I got two of the years and one region. I had been redeemed! I was back, in all my alcohol-infused glory! Of course I didn’t win, but I was able to claim a rightful place among my fellow tasters. Once again, I could proudly hold my head high and declare, “Step back, everyone. I am a Professional Wino.

Step back, everyone…..

previous post: Acceptable or Unacceptable?, Vol. I next post: Acceptable or Unacceptable?, Vol. II

3 Responses to “Professional Wino”

  1. Von on August 4, 2008 7:46 am

    I have that same experience (sort of) every october when I head back home! :)

  2. Frogge on August 6, 2008 12:59 pm

    I have some friends that formed a wine-tasting group (after years of doing their own vintning). Their motto is “Rieslings rule, Chardonnay sucks!” Anyway, I have learned from osmosis that it’s a huge, complex world.

  3. mad mama on August 7, 2008 10:13 pm

    Chardonnay was the first taste in the second round, and I got it immediately. One sip, and I was like, “YUCK! I know what that is!” (Sorry to all you Chard luvrs. I just can’t stand the syrupy quality of most California Chards.)

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