You’re on a plane and as it taxis out to the runway a little girl starts screaming, at the top of her lungs. Shrieks fill the cabin, heads turn, and yet the child continues to let out a howl. Death by a thousand cuts. We are witnessing the first of three tantrums in a plane. The wine business is an adventure. The wine business is elegant. The wine business is romantic. How can I get off this plane?
While the little she-devil wailed, mommy dearest kept repeating her failed mantra, “Use your inside voice, Haley.” Had we all fallen through a trap door into some Bizzaro-Montessori-gone-south experiment in parenting? Please bring us all a collective pair of tantrum-cancelling earphones. Snakes on a plane.
We decided instead to open the hatch and throw the child and her mother out. A young Army paratrooper on leave volunteered an extra chute for the pair. It was a little windy and we lost some papers and a laptop or two, but afterwards all the remaining kids were good, and all the parents learned some new skills, quickly.
Later, I witnessed one of those wonderful scenes one sometimes finds in the wine business. That would be people interested in learning about wine from each other. The laptop is the modern day campfire, we tell stories about vineyards and wines around it. We indoctrinate young people to come into the trade. We show them exotic places and underground caverns, measureless to man. Yeah, the wine trade is one big giant Xanadu, with the requisite vow of poverty.
The other day I broke out about 60 or so bottles of wine for a journalist. Standing room only, all the seats on this hopeful plane of press were filled. The Pinot Noir phenom- we tasted 8-10 of them- some were pricey- $35-ish. For that price, if an Italian wine isn’t perfect we hear it all the way back to 1982. "But they don’t make enough Pinot Noir," which is usually followed by the invocation, “and we need all we can get.” Yeah, I heard that spun back in the 90’s with Merlot. There is about to be a lot of broken golden goose eggs, folks.
The dog days of summer. Retailers in these parts have a floor tax. Translation: “We aren’t buying.” Things can be challenging in terms of starting anything up until after Labor Day. This is our Ferragosto without the beach, without the table, without the camaraderie of a slow time and a break taken to accommodate for the lull. We have brought in counselors for the sales staff who have to deal with the inertia of the market place (temporary). And still the onslaught continues; we keep seeing more new wines being brought in. The goose is stuffed. Can someone lock the doors now?
Seats forward and tray tables up. Pass the parachutes, please.