Wednesday, February 4, 2009
They say in vino veritas, in wine there is truth. Well that clearly is a dirty lie.
It's true that I don't write much in this space about my "real" job (the one that pays me actual money) - and for good reason. I would rather leave work at work and be done with the subject until my next shift. I don't live for my job, but rather the spaces in between. I imagine you have already gathered that something must have really pissed me off to cause me to break my long-held silence.
That being said, I work at a upscale steak joint by the name of Rick Erwin's, located in downtown Greenville. A large portion of our sales comes from the selling of wine. To me there is no bigger fraud in the restaurant industry than the idea that certain bottles are significantly better in quality than others. Sure, stuff like Franzia, Boone's Farm, Thunderbird, and Mad Dog 20/20 all taste like piss that has run off the side of some hobo's leg, but these are not the products to which I am referring.
Although it seems unfair to those few who want to dress up in a tuxedo and drink out of a brown bag, we don't even carry the aforementioned items. RE's does have an impressive wine list, boasting hundreds, perhaps even thousands of labels (okay so I haven't counted, but trust me there are quite a few). Accuse me of a barbarous palate if you will, but I can taste very little difference between the ones that I have tried, whether the bottle costs a mere thirty dollars or its attributed value lands in multiple Franklin territory. Obviously whites and reds (and certain varietals within these categories) cause different taste bud explosions, but other than that I would be purely guessing if presented a glass blindfolded, regardless of how many times I had tasted each of the samples.
Therein lies your scam. Why would anyone purchase the more expensive bottle if there is little difference in flavor? IMHO, part of your answer is prestige. A large portion of our diners want to imbibe and, more importantly, be seen imbibing, whatever is considered by the gurus that decide these things to be the absolute best.
Why else would our affluent customers care to partake of such an overpriced beverage? The process of tasting all these different varieties gives them a reason within the realm of social acceptability to get absolutely shit-hammered. Public drunkenness is considered a faux pas amidst many sectors of our society and the upper crust is not immune from this prejudice. Taking part in a wine-tasting, however, is considered acceptable behavior and is, in fact, 0penly encouraged as a manner of broadening one's cultural horizons. The same is true of regular diners in a large group - there will be no one to notice you slurred speech and palsyesque movements amongst the eight folks who just polished off six bottles of vino.
So let the counterattacks begin. I know the stuff has its defenders and I freely admit I am a beer man whose stomach aches from acid reflux after only a couple of glasses of red. I am certainly not likely to approach the exalted heights of the sommelier in my knowledge of the subject either. I will stick to my guns, though, so bring on your vicious smears you smarmy, wine-loving bastards. Think of the poor children pictured up above before you decide to support this vicious grift. What kind of future would they be living in if these whinos are not stopped?
Note: Apparently the blog is not allowing people to post comments on this article - if you have the same problem, just use the Ireland pics post to make any rash statements.