Hello, Wine Snob.
I’m going to assume that in some sense you’re honestly oblivious about how intensely arrogant and pretentious you come across to most people. I’m choosing to be charitable and imagine that you’re not consciously trying to put others down with what you say and how you say it. So, coming from a place of love and concern, here are 10 things to try that might help you reintegrate into society and hopefully get invited back to peoples’ houses.
1. Shut the hell up.
Did someone ask about the minutia of California wine labeling laws, or that time you visited Burgundy? No? Then seriously consider listening and asking questions like a human being and stop waiting for someone to take a breath so you can jump in and talk all over them. You sound self-involved and oblivious.
2. Don’t boast.
Did you personally make the amazing wine you drank that one time? Then you either paid for it or were lucky enough to know someone who did. In both cases WHY ARE YOU PROUD? Any idiot with cash can buy a bottle and any idiot can be friends with rich idiots. Unless someone explicitly asks you about the best wine you ever had, you’re name-dropping and it’s tiresome.
3. Let people mispronounce.
Correcting anyone’s pronunciation outside of a language classroom is a surefire way to get crossed off the holiday party guest list. Try just saying the word the way (you think) it’s pronounced in context. You’ll sound less like a show-off.
One of the best things about wine is the shared experience of drinking it. If you really love, care about, and understand wine as much as you think you do, evangelize for the wines you enjoy the most by sharing them and let others have a chance to enjoy them as well. Don’t act like a connoisseur and then bring jug wine to dinner.
5. Do away with, “I used to drink that”
… and all its variants from your vocabulary. It comes across as belittling, as if you were saying, “When you grow up like me, you’ll stop drinking that.” All of which sounds like you think you’re better than someone and trust me, you aren’t.
6. Save the trash talk.
Shitting on a restaurant’s wine list or the selection at someone’s party makes you a gossip and an awful guest. If you wouldn’t say it to the host’s face, keep it to yourself. Plus, it’s facile; put in the effort to throw your own party and pour whatever you want.
7. Buy low on Merlot.
We all saw Sideways. Not all of us understood that Miles was an insufferable snob whose behavior shouldn’t be emulated. If you’re taking wine cues from a 10-year-old movie and categorically not drinking entire classes of wine (Merlot, Riesling, French wine, sweet wine) and then thinking you’re sophisticated for doing so, you come off as remarkably out of touch and close-minded.
8. Reserve judgment.
Culture or knowledge doesn’t consist of a never-ending stream of criticism, insults, and disdain. It’s also boring. Hearing your list of things you don’t enjoy reminds me of nothing so much as you describing a dream: flowery descriptions of things that have very little meaning or relevance to me.
9. Keep it to yourself
…if you really must try to identify the flavors and smells in your wine. For some people who may be within earshot, much like science-lab frogs, dissecting wine kills it.
10. Don’t be insecure.
Here’s the hard one you probably don’t want to hear. I don’t know what breeds such insecurity, exactly. Belonging? Self-respect? Pride? I don’t know. But I do know self-assured people don’t need validation from or through others. And that’s essentially what putting down other people’s wine choices, boasting, and “correcting” others is about, isn’t it? Figure it out, wine snob, and I bet you’ll not only be happier: you’ll get invited to a lot more barbeques this summer.
Landon Proctor is Stock & Barrel’s incredibly talented, ass-kicking and supremely humble wine specialist.
Find out more about him at www.landonproctor.com.