As I write this I’m getting ready for a big annual professional conference that I attend every year with my wife and about 150 of my closest buddies, and competitors. One of the big events happens to be dinner nightly where we all bring a bottle to the table to share.
Depending on the caterer, some years we have to sneak in our bottles in our briefcases and pour a glass under the table for each other. Other years (the better years) we can just pay the caterer a corking fee to open the bottles and clear away our glassware. Either way, the wine gets consumed and everyone has a great time.
The reason I bring up this story is not to tell you of the rockstar lifestyle that I lead, but to discuss a common problem that occurs every year. The problem of somebody bringing an everyday wine to a special event. I know it doesn’t just happen to me and my friends. It happens way too often.
Let me explain the issue in more detail so we are all have an understanding. The problem is that most of us are cracking open bottles of 50, 60, or even 100 dollar bottles of wine, and some dude will inevitably show up with a bottle of Columbia Crest Grand Estates Merlot.
Now, please understand that I AM a huge fan of Columbia Crest. And, Yes, Grand Estates Merlot has earned the winery many many awards over the years. What I’m saying is that Grand Estates is ten to fifteen George Washingtons in most grocery stores. Believe me, most of us who are winos know the price pretty well because we drink it as a regular drink every night.
The problem isn’t the wine. The problem is that if you bring this bottle, or many others like it, we know you’re a tightwad who won’t splurge on a nice bottle for your friends. Heck, you aren’t even cunning. You are the guy who buys the bottle from the first display rack you see in the store!
I’m not going to beat up on you any more for the rest of this article. I promise. I’m here to help.
Do you want to be the hero and not the zero the next time you bring a bottle to an event? Do you want to win the praise and admiration from your peers? Do you want to go down in history as the guy who brought the “good stuff”?
You have a few choices. In my opinion the number one thing to do is never buy wine for a good impression at a drugstore or grocery store...EVER. Sometimes, if you buy only the best and they have a really nice selection, you can get a nice bottle from a convenience store. An example of this has been Dave’s Chevron in Pendleton, or a few other gas stations down in Hood River or in Yakima.
The best option is to buy a wine from a wine shop. There are several great ones in the region. They can help you find a nice wine at a price you can afford. Even if you don’t want to spend a lot of money they can suggest something you can fool everyone with.
Last, if you’re traveling, you can find a local wine shop. It’s worth the effort. Trust me, showing up with the “good stuff” makes you a hero.