by Ben Hilzinger
As I write this, I am sitting at Monkey Trench Studios in Bremerton, Washington listening to some drum tracks I recorded earlier this morning. Being a studio drummer has certainly taught me a lot about patience, perseverance, and humility…especially humility. I will never be the best drummer, nor will I ever come close, but I still hold my own. I look at wine the same way. When I was younger (I’m now the ripe old age of 26), I wanted to be the smartest wine guy in every room and wanted everyone to know it. Oh, being young and naive. At the end of the day, however, there will be times when I am, and there will be times when I am not. In the extremely rare occasion that I am, I try not to boast my knowledge to make others feel weaker. I am assuming that everyone reading this right now is super cool and won't ever use wine to reign over anyone else in a social or professional setting. You’re way better than that, right? My point is this; wine was not intended to be a platform for expressing superiority, but it certainly seems like that these days and it’s completely ridiculous. Here are a few reasons to prove my stance:
1) Wine is just juice. Albeit, fermented juice. But, even though this needs no explanation, wine snobs seem to forget this simple fact all the time.
Step 1: Grapes have juice.
Step 2: The juice is extracted and forced to hang out with yeast.
Step 3: The product of that meet n greet is what we call wine.
Essentially that's it. I love everything about wine just as much as the next guy, but come on!…why make it out to be more than it is?
2) There will always be someone who knows more than you. You can take this as motivation to always keep learning (which is great!), but in the context of this rant, I’m telling you this to save you from looking like an ass. I am no expert on wine, nor do I claim to be, but, like drums, I can hold my own. I remember many instances of older gentlemen walking into my tasting room, acknowledging my age, and immediately treating me like an inferior in front of their company. Quickly, I’d answer all their questions and show them age doesn’t always dictate knowledge in anything, especially wine. Ultimately, they came across looking like arrogant, ignorant jerks when they didn’t need to. People!…just drink and be happy.
3) Why wouldn’t you encourage people to feel more comfortable with wine? This is the one that baffles me the most. As a wine drinker, I LOVE geeking out with other winos. The easiest way to get the people around you to become winos it to get them excited about wine. Duh! Why on EARTH would you choose to make them feel dumb and alienate yourself? Unless you like drinking by yourself (which I don’t mind it from time to time), making everyone feel stupid around you in regards to wine is only going to leave you sad, alone, and angry at the world. Don’t do that to yourself.
4) Sometimes when you shut your mouth, you learn more. Could anything be more true? When your head isn’t exploding with arrogance, things can finally fit inside. The art of “sticking a sock in it” is the best, and sometimes only, way to learn what other people have to offer. No one likes a know-it-all. Become a learn-it-all.
I’m glad I got that off my chest. If nothing else, pass on these thoughts to your next friend who steps out of line when talking about wine. Lets call it “crossing the wine line.” Love it, appreciate it, enjoy it…but don’t use it as a device to elevate your ego to diminish others.
At Northwest Cellars, we go out of our way to make sure you simply have a good time. Whether you’re a guest in one of our tasting rooms or drinking a bottle with friends, we want you to feel welcomed into our family and always know you’re one of us.
Drink Northwest Cellars. Cheers!