Guest Author - Jim Fortune
I was poking around in a liquor store the other day, wandering aimlessly up and down the aisles. I was not looking for anything is particular; just cruising. The wines were placed on the shelf according to the vineyard and not by varietal. I found it hard to really compare the different wines since all of the cabernets were not all together but were spread out across the entire store by vineyard.
A young woman came down the aisle and asked me if I needed assistance. I told her that I was looking for some naked Chardonnay, but I wanted to price compare a couple of different vineyards side by side to see if there were any value wines I could grab onto.
"Are you a wine snob?", she asked. To tell the truth, I never felt like I was a wine snob until that exact moment. I have known a few wine snobs or people who thought that they knew it all when it came to wines. They thought everyone else who knew something about wine, was inferior to them. They thought they were wine's upper crust.
This woman's whole attitude hit me in the face. But as I was just standing there thinking about the question, she said abruptly, "You're not a wine snob. You're taking too long thinking about the question."
I said, "Do you mind if I ask you a few questions?" Naw, go right ahead was the reply. "Are there new owners here now?" Her eyes narrowed at me as she replied that her father had recently bought the store. "What did your father like about the sales the store was generating when the store was owned by the previous owners?" He liked the sales growth, especially in the wine department. The old people who used to own it also did a pretty good bottled beer business, she said.
"I'll bet wine sales have been going down every month since the old owners left, would that be correct?" The old owners had stayed on for four months after the sale to introduce the existing clientele to the new owners. Once the previous owners were no longer around, the new owners started making small changes, here and there, to boost sales. "I am thinking that the previous owners had their wine on the shelf according to the type of grape - Chardonnay here, Cabernet here, Reisling here, Rose here, and so forth, right?" Yeah but it was hard to tell people where to find the Mondavi or where to find Gallo or Banfi. Because the vineyards were not just in one place, they might have been all over the place. So we changed it so that the wine was arranged by vineyard. It was easier for us to tell people how to find wine brands. "And wine sales are still good?" No, wine sales have fallen off and bottled beer sales are down too.
We were talking and walking and I found myself at the refrigerator beer case. It seemed like it was packed with Bud, Bud Light, Miller, MGD; all the name brand American beers. "Do you have Sam Adams IPA?" No we don't carry Sam Adams any more. "What about Breckenridge Brewery Oatmeal Stout?" No we dropped that line too. "What microbrew beers do you carry?" We don't carry those any more. "Why not?" My father's friends do not like them - they like the ones we carry now. "And do your father's friends come in here and buy a lot of beer?" I don't know. I work in the daytime, but I have never seen them come in on Saturday when I am here. They might come in on week nights.
"Uh huh", I said. "Is your father around?" No, her father was an attorney downtown and had made her the manager. "What kind of law does he practice?" He specializes in bankruptcies.
"Do you think he is a wine snob?" Naw. He doesn't drink wine.
Until next time, let me know what is on your mind, and how you are doing, O.K.?
You can send me your questions or comments on my bio page. My next article will be out shortly.
Jim Fortune - the Bella Online Wine Guy
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