Don't be fooled by the headline. Sommeliers don't really hate you (well, maybe they do), rather, they wish they could simply tweak the way some>"/>
Don't be fooled by the headline. Sommeliers don't really hate you (well, maybe they do), rather, they wish they could simply tweak the way some customers behave in order to enhance their wine experience. A good sommelier is there to make your dinner date a memorable one, not to make you feel inferior. They love nothing more than to encounter an adventurous drinker -- someone who lets them drive the booze boat for a night. After all, they've tasted everything on the menu and know what's good, right?
Follow these little morsels of goodwill and you and your sommelier will be on the path to Happybuzzville, USA. Who wouldn't want to visit that place? Know that we have nothing but your best interests in mind when you read the following seven reasons why your sommelier hates you.
7. You don't ask for help. "It's like people who don't pull over and ask for directions when they're lost. I think there's a level of not knowing about wine that some customers want to disguise. Some people kind of disregard what I may or may not know about wine because I work in a restaurant. It's the opposite of the snooty sommelier -- it's the snooty customer. My favorite customers are those that ask what I think is really good; what I've tried lately that I really like." - Jason Crume, wine buyer for Toulouse Petite.
6. You kill your tastebuds. "I hate it when people ask for a huge, meaty red like a California Cabernet or a Southern Rhone to go with something delicate like fish; it just kills any chance that they have of enjoying either component of their meal. Totally depressing. But the thing that annoys me the most is when customers ask for my advice or guidance and then the first thing they do is start setting up all these rules, like: 'We only like wine from California' or 'I hate sweet wine.' If you already have all these ideas, what the hell do you need my help for? As a sommelier, I want to be able to enhance your meal and open your mind to new wines the same way a chef hopes to open your mind to new food. It's very hard to do when people are unwilling to go out of their comfort zones." - Niki Parrish, certified sommelier and server extraordinaire at Tilth.
5. You're unwillingness to try something new, to have that new experience with wine and food. "Some customers would rather have their filet mignon and the big Napa cab rather than experience what the chef has going on and what the sommelier thinks would complement it. A perfect example is Riesling. No matter how much I thought it would work better with the food the customer ordered, they could never let themselves experience it. I even remember when Pinot Noir was difficult to sell." - Brennon Leighton, former sommelier; current winemaker for Efeste.
4. You're annoying. "I once saw a sommelier at the Windsor Court Hotel in New Orleans hang up on a guest who called room service for a White Zin." - Terresa Davis, co-owner Steelhead Diner and Blueacre Seafood.
3. You're a braggart. A cheap braggart. "I get annoyed by the guy (it's always a guy) who tells me about their 1,500 bottle cellar which includes Quilceda Creek, Leonetti, etc., then complains about the pricing on my list and asks for the best value around the $40 range. I really don't give a shit how big your cellar (or penis) is. I don't want to hear about it. Just tell me what kind of wine you want at what price point. I also hate the customer who knows just enough about wine to be dangerous. They learned the term malolactic fermentation and want to use it every time wine is discussed. There is actually one more: the people who make a blanket statement like 'I hate all Merlot.' I will find a Merlot and taste them blind on it and they will love it." - Jeffrey Dorgan, wine director at Sullivan's.
2. You're a sheep. "You don't like Riesling, Chardonnay or Merlot because a movie or publication once told you not to. I also hate it when people try to be helpful and move their glass as I am about to pour the wine. I damn near pour it on the table! It's also irritating when people start off by saying they don't like sweet wine, but what's even more anoying is when they say they like a dry white wine and have nothing else to describe. So, you don't want White Zin -- great! That doesn't help me!" - Jen Schmitt, sommelier at Seastar Seattle.
1. You don't know what you're talking about. "I bristle when a guest tells me that, 'according to my vintage chart, '07 was a bad year. Do you have anything from '98?' Also, I get edgy when somebody declares the utmost disdain for any one region or grape. 'I hate Chardonnay/Merlot/Washington wine' -- it's the opposite of wanting to discover and enjoy. It's not the curious that annoy, it's those that believe/act as if they know everything that drive me to drink. (And that group includes some sommeliers, by the way...)." - Chris Horn, wine director for Purple Wine Bar & Cafe, Seattle.