Sunday, November 11, 2012

Keeping it Personal

I spent the last few days leading consumer tastings in Whole Foods Markets across the great Chicago area. Honestly,  this part of the job is so invigorating to me - talking with wine shoppers always leaves me energized.  Wine is such a personal deal (well maybe not the lady who picked up a sample each of Bench Cab and L'Oliveto Chardonnay - mixed them together and threw the new "blend" down her throat).  I bet I spoke to at least 200 folks, eye-to-eye over the weekend, asking each "what do you like to drink", "what are you looking for today"...almost every single answer had to do with a great memory or emotion that provoked them to buy again from a certain region and or varietal or winery...  
On Saturday, a man walked near me so I asked him if he'd like to try a sample of wine...he stopped and said "I'm 86 years old, 2 years ago my wife cut me off from alcohol", he paused a moment and sorta rolled his eyes, "but she's not here at the store with me today, and I do love a nice Chardonnay".  He tried a big sip of the L'Oliveto Chardonnay walked away with a smile the size of Texas on his sweet old face. 

I just love it.  Heard about weddings in Sonoma, told people about how I was proposed to over the Golden Gate Bridge this summer (oh those store lights make my ring BLING!), was told that a baby sitting in the stroller was conceived in Napa, heard about how some grandparents celebrated a 50th Wedding Anniversary and toasted over their favorite Russian River wine, a proud dad told me about his daughter working on a local farming thesis in Sebastopol while attending UC Berkley, many folks telling me about their first time to San Francisco trips...all such personal reasons as to why they stop to discover more about what I was pouring in the middle of Whole Foods.  

Keep wine personal and you pretty much can never go wrong, drinking what you like & being open to wines you aren't so familiar with is key & is what it's all about...oh and the new memories to come from sharing bottles just may be the very best part. Cheers, Ali

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