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They said it on Facebook

31 comments

I don’t make this stuff up, kids, I just report the facts. I asked on Facebook, “What’s the dumbest thing you’ve heard lately about wine?” Dozens of comments. Here are a few. Enjoy!

“That shiraz and syrah are not the same grape.”

“that white wine has more carbs than red wine”

“Red wine is less fattening because it doesn’t have sugar.”

“You have to swirl your glass to the right in the northern hemisphere and to the left in the southern hemisphere.”

“I’m allergic to sulfides.”

“If there’s a punt in the bottom of the wine bottle…it’s a better wine.”

“That the vintage on the bottle has nothing to do with when the fruit was picked-and that I was an idiot for believing that!”

“That wine is actually made from the stuff mentioned in the reviews: raspberries, cherries, chocolate, cedar, road tar…” [This is one of my faves!]

“That if you lay down Sauvignon Blanc for 10 or more years, it will be worth a fortune.” [I wish…]

[Someone said] “Interesting, you’re copying the South Americans by putting Malbec in your Blend. You must not be a traditional California winery.”

“Consumer question: When it says the name of a river (i.e.Russian River) does that mean that was the water used to make that wine?”

“I’m allergic to the tannins in Merlot. Can I get a Syrah?”

“I was at a wine bar recently where the bartender told me that Piedmont does not have a classification system like the rest of Italy.”

“it was with a fellow tasting room person years ago, when a consumer asked, ‘What makes this wine sweet?’ The answer – from a supposed wine specialist – was, ‘It’s the kind of grape that it is.’”

“I found a mouse in my bottle, and, like, my cousin is a cop and he says I should get a free case.”

“(in discussing Champagne): Just like you can’t call a Pinot Noir a Bordeaux.”

“Oh look! Kendall Jackson is in California.” “What’s Kendall Jackson?” “It’s a white wine.”

“The cork is what removes the tannins.”

“Since you guys are a small winery, are your cases 6 bottles instead of 12?”

[from a winemaker] “pointing to my tasting menu [customer says]: ‘I’ll have a bottle of the number two.’ YUCK!”

“Do you still stomp the grapes like Lucy?” [Let’s not forget Ethel.]

“Wines over 14% alcohol absolutely do not age.”

[And the #1 Dumbest Thing Ever]: “Swirl Left for oak flavors and Swirl right for fruit flavors.”

  1. …and some of us writers spend HOURS trying to find funny things to say about wine!

  2. Steve,
    I worked retail for about two years in the 2000s. A couple funny things I heard…

    A guy comes in the store, walks up to the counter and ask, “do you have the wine they serve at church?”

    Another time a woman come into the store, browzed the various case stackers, picked up two bottles and then put them on the counter. I asked if she needed help finding anything. She said, “no, I just like to grab random wines I have not tried before to taste something new.” Ok, fine. She then walked to the back of the store were the liquor was. She browzed the back of the store and then came back up to the counter to add to her pile on the counter: it was peppermint schnapps. I thought she was just browzing the spirits too, so I asked if she needed help there, if she found what she was looking for. She said, “oh, yeah. I love the schnapps. It goes great in my bong.” Totally straight-faced, and, I can only assume, totally serious.

    I too have had people ask me how they get the cherries and raspberries into the bottles.

    Michael P.

  3. I was following this on your FB page yesterday. Hilarious! I think most of us have an egocentric world view, but then you hear people’s opinion about politics, religion, etc. and see comments like this, and you realize, there are so many opinions set forth as facts that seems to come from no reasoned place. Politics and religion can be serious stuff. Thanks for the showing us the lighter side!

  4. I was managing a well-known San Francisco restaurant in the early ’90s, and was taking a wine order on an eight-top. The party’s host was making a big show of reviewing our wine list. After several minutes, he scanned the prices, settled on the cheapest number he could find ($10) and loudly stated so that everyone could hear, “We’ll have a bottle of your finest corkage!”

  5. raley roger says:

    Ha Ha! Finest corkage! I love it. Since it’s nearly impossible to find a new brand name to file with the TTB that hasn’t already been taken, I think I’ll go ahead and file for “Finest Corkage Cellars”. Thanks for the early morning laugh.

  6. I try not to laugh whenever someone refers to the Unoaked Chardonnay as “Uncorked” Chardonnay.

  7. Here are mine:

    “All wine is Cabernet, it is all the same, they just add flowers or berries to make it Syrah or whatever.”

    “Wait, raisins are grapes right.”

    Moments later, the same women said:

    Women: “What about rubbing, is Rubbing a kind of grape.”

    Winery: “Rubbing?”

    Women: “You know, rubbing alcohol, does that come from the rubbing grape.”

    Winery: “Uhhh, no. Rubbing alcohol is made in a very different way.”

  8. I was pouring in the tasting room, and the customer wanted to try the Sauvignon Blanc after having just tried the Pinot Noir. I poured a little SB in the glass to rinse it out, and she goes “Oh! I get it!”

    I asked what it was that she “got”, and she turned and explained to her friend “That must be how they make a rose, they mix the white and red together!”

    I explained how it was really made, and after she left, I imagined her thinking in that moment, that our winemaker stood on top of the tank, peering in and saying “needs another bottle of Sauvignon Blanc, it’s too red!”

  9. Customer in the Tasting Room:
    “This blend has Malbec in it, do you buy those grapes from Argentina?”

    Tasting Room Employee:
    “No, we grow those grapes in our Estate Vineyard.”

    Customer in the Tasting Room:
    “You have vineyards in Argentina!?”

    Tasting Room Employee:
    “No, we grow that grape in California…”

  10. Kurt Burris says:

    Once while waiting on a group of six, after pouring the bottle ordered by the host, shown to the host, and opened and tasted properly, I was cornered by the host, who, I guess to spare me the humiliation of being corrected in front of the table, tells me “Don’t you know Zinfandel is supposed to be white.”

  11. Kurt, you just inspired me to write an addendum to my “finest bottle of your corkage” story. Even though I suspected that Mr. Finest $10 Corkage was not likely to be a great tipper, I served him our most inexpensive wine (around $20-$25 if I recall) and ate the difference. I could have pulled him aside and explained the situation privately, but that would have been embarrassing for him and made me feel like the stereotypical snooty manager/sommelier. When I think about how little I knew about wine in my early days, and some of the dumb things I must have said, I’m glad I did what I did. But don’t think the whole staff didn’t get a huge laugh about it in the kitchen all night long.

  12. Another great one I heard, from a rep (for a giant distributor) talking to a customer in a grocery store: “The grape in this is Burgundy and it can only be grown in France”

  13. These are some seriously entertaining stories! Thanks all and Steve for the laughs!

    I’ve had some fun moments working the restaurant business with both food and wine. I over heard someone once say. “Who ordered the corkage? It is the most expensive thing on the bill.”

    Also a women asked me straight faced, “That New York strip, how many strip come wit dat?”

  14. I was pouring wine at an outdoor festival when a woman who had been lurking back for a while approached me and asked if the reason the Riesling was labeled Dry was because there wasn’t enough rain during the year the grapes were grown. I obviously gave her a straight answer. “Yes ma’am that’s exactly right!”

  15. “That wine is actually made from the stuff mentioned in the reviews: raspberries, cherries, chocolate, cedar, road tar…” [This is one of my faves!]

    I’m the person who posted this comment. It illustrates that there is a great need for wine consumers, especially wine novices, to be able to understand wine ratings, wine reviews, and wines gone bad.

  16. I heard more than once I hate chardonnay but I love Chablis.

    The other day I drank a wine from the Chablis grape.

  17. Working at a wine laboratory a few years ago, a laddy came in and ask me if we were able to messure the grapes’s aura.

  18. Donn Rutkoff says:

    Maybe the guys at UC Davis can try to cross-breed the rubbing grape with the corkage one.

    The sad thing is that so few of us have any connection to agriculture, thus so many ignorant or un-informed quotes.

  19. I work in a tasting room and after pouring Sauvignon Blanc for a customer I was asked, “So this is a white wine?”

  20. David Vergari says:

    Speaking of bartenders, I heard a joke the other day: …What’s the difference between God and a bartender? Answer: God doesn’t think he’s a bartender.

  21. The thing to remember is that these misconceptions/falsehoods occur because people are simply not educated on the subject, not because consumers are “dumb”. Those of us in the industry have a responsibility (if we feel responsible for our own self-preservation, that is…) to pass on information in an understandable way. It’s easy to make fun of people who misunderstand the facts about and history of wine, but let’s remember that none of us were born with wine knowledge.

  22. A phone call our tasting room once received, and honestly, I wish I were making it up:

    -“Can I talk to your winemaker?”

    “He’s actually out on the crush pad, may I take a message?”

    -“Well, I, I need to ask a question. I have some concord grape juice, and I’m going to make some wine with it.”

    “…”

    -“I need to know how much sugar to add so that I can start making the wine.”

    “I, uh… that’s not my area of expertise. Did you try googling it?”

    -“I tried the google, it didn’t work.”

    “Well… we don’t actually use concord grapes in our wine, so-”

    “You use grapes, though.”

    “That we do… I guess you’d need to know the brix level they were at when they were harvested?”

    -“…”

    “Brix is how they measure sugar. In the grapes.”

    -“Well they tasted pretty sweet. Do I just add the granulated stuff?”

    I still wonder how it turned out..

  23. I’m with you, Tommy. While the questions may be considered “dumb”, it’s our job to correct the person asking the question and an opportunity to educate them. Looking at them like they’re stupid or disrespecting them only reinforces the belief that wine lovers are snobs.

  24. @BD, @Tommy Fogarty, I don’t think anyone’s saying these people are dumb or stupid. I think we all honor and respect them, and we understand that they’re simply uneducated about wine, but curious and wanting to learn. It’s just that some of these stories are really funny!

  25. Last week a tour bus comes in woman says I don’t want any dry wine and want the wet wine.
    A woman calls and asks horrified after removing the capsule and has no idea what to do next. One family wanted to go down in the cellar to see the caskets.

    from “notes from the cellar”
    Don’t pretend you know more than you do — A real story, related to me by a member of the tasting staff at Concannon: “A guy was in with a bunch of people and trying to impress them. Every time I made a comment about our wine, he repeated it, nodding like he knew the answer all the time. It was getting a little tiring, so when I poured his group a taste of our Cabernet Sauvignon, I didn’t say anything and was hoping he’d have something to say. He asked, ‘How much of this is Cabernet, and how much is Sauvignon.’”

    http://notesfromthecellar.com/2010/03/8-rules-for-visiting-tasting-rooms/

  26. I had a self proclaimed *wine educator* tell me tha Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc are “exactly the same grape.” I said, “So Williams Selyem Chenin blanc is actually sauvignon blanc?” He emphatically said “YES!”

  27. I was at an event in the early ’80s with the Napa Valley Vintner’s and showing two very different styles of Sauvignon Blanc at the tasting. One was fresh and grassy, the other subdued and oak aged. A woman shuffled up and asked what I was doing. “Same grape, two different ‘recipes’,” was my answer.

    “What?” was the response.

    I carefully explained, “Well, if you give shrimp to two different chefs they might prepare them in completely different ways – different recipes.”

    “This wine is made from shrimp?”

    Yes ma’am.

  28. Sarah Horner says:

    While working at an Oregon winery I was giving a tour and tasting to a group. One woman decided she was the group’s wine “expert” and was doing most of the talking. She picked up her glass and asked everyone to watch. She swirled and said, “these are the legs.” I mentally rolled my eyes, expecting her to say these were an indication of quality. Instead she shared with the group, “those are the tannins.”

  29. Sarah: lol!

  30. Dirk Bromley says:

    Serving a table a Red after their white with entree,
    a young American girl decline, ‘I don’t mix my drinks’

  31. One day a woman came up to the tasting bar and I asked if she would like to start with a white wine and offered her the choice between a Riesling or a Viognier. Without batting an eye she said “oh I’ll have the Riesling, I’m allergic to Viognier”.

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