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Friday, July 26, 2013

A Letter to the Regulars

This isn’t the typical blog post - not that any of them are quite typical anymore - they range anywhere from tasting notes to fun anecdotes to a sort of wine philosophy.

No - today’s post is a letter to the people I often refer to as Lake Side Emotions’ “Friday regulars.”  Every Friday, I pour the wine tasting from afternoon until early evening.  And over the past year and a half, I’ve gotten to know many of the people who attend regularly.

Since I started working for AP Wine Imports, I’ve also been pouring tastings at other wine stores.  Sometimes those in-store tastings are lots of fun for me, and sometimes that’s definitely not the case.  Often, people in attendance at the other tastings take all kinds of liberties, or have no interest in the brief presentation I make about the wines I’m pouring, or just pretend I’m not even there.

Don’t get me wrong, any time I get to talk about wine is still fun for me.  But it’s not as much fun when no one is listening, or when they’re behaving badly.

Provence Rose’ tasting at Lake Side Emotions
to celebrate Bastille Day
So, I realize how lucky I am to see the “Friday regulars” every week and I notice that each time one of them walks in the door at my favorite wine boutique, Lake Side Emotions, I’m genuinely happy to see them.  I know we’ll be catching up on things other than wine, but now I also understand why so many other reps have no idea why I find pouring tastings, in general, to be a lot of fun.  It’s because the majority of my tastings are spent with you, our Friday regulars.  And while wine is fun for me, it’s also you who make it fun.

Often, at other tastings, I’m usually pouring French wines from the AP portfolio, and sometimes the wines are a bit offbeat.  Sometimes people don’t care to know anything about the products, and sometimes they just throw around statements like, “I don’t drink French wine,” “I don’t drink rose’,” “don’t you have any local wine?” and the like.

But not our Friday regulars.  I always appreciate the enthusiasm to try the wines we’re showing each week, and to hear me out on my little presentations - whether you’re that interested or not, I love it that you still let me go on about the wines for a moment.  And I love your feedback, when you tell me what you like or don’t like about the wines.  And I especially love it when you remember things we’ve poured at tastings in weeks prior.  Watching you enjoy wines you’ve never seen or heard of before, and trusting my descriptions enough to give the wines a chance, and of course bringing them home to enjoy or share with others - that makes it all worthwhile.

One of my favorite Friday tasting experiences happened over the course of two Fridays, last year.  One of the wines we poured was a Madiran - mostly Tannat with some Cabernet Franc.  It’s one of my favorites at Lake Side Emotions and I was excited to be showing it to anyone who was willing to listen and taste.  And I was a little surprised at the reception - nearly everyone loved the Madiran.  This is expecially exciting for me because anyone who knows me well knows that I have a major soft spot for the wines of Sud-Ouest, Tannat from Madiran in particular.  So watching so many people loving a wine that I connect well with, but isn’t mainstream, was fun.  And the following week, some regulars began to ask, “what was that really dark dry red you were pouring last week?  I want a few more bottles of it.”  The Madiran?  Really?  I was thrilled - they loved the Madiran!

So, I know that this is why I enjoy pouring tastings - because at most of my tastings, I’m fortunate enough to see our weekly tasters, our “Friday regulars,” and they’re the ones who make tastings so much fun for me.  Yes, it’s also the wine, but it’s the people who attend and listen and enjoy and come into the wine boutique not to judge the wines before tasting, but to have fun with us and try something new, and you are the ones who give me that three and a half hours each week to look forward to.

Thank you for that.

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