Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Wine Stereotypes Vol 2: The Common Consumer

A while ago now, I wrote a piece about different stereotypes within the wine industry and lets face it, everyone who works in wine knows someone who fits the bill exactly.
I thought it was about time that we turn the tables a little bit though and shine a light on some consumer stereotypes instead. If you work in a wine job where you are public-facing, you will know the types, or you might even be one yourself, who knows!? (Me. I know.)

Either way, if you are one of these people, you need to reconsider everything you have been doing in your life and if you are not one of these people but know someone who is, you have every right to stand and laugh in their face, because quite simply, they suck.

Johnny Scores

Is a blithering idiot. Poor old Johnny has much more money than sense, he follows His Royal Godness
Sir Robert Parker and hangs off every word he says.
Johnny never particularly knew much about wine and didn't really take the time to learn. However, when he realised that the ladies love a sophisticated wine man (hello ladies), he thought that if he was ever going to be a hit with the opposite sex, a bottle of something expensive and that makes him look like a conosseuir (I hate that word so very much), would be the way forward.
Because Johnny is unable to think for himself, he believes that the more expensive a bottle, the better it is. If Parker has given it a score in the high 90s then its probably the best wine in the world.
If you served Johnny a glass of cheap chilean Merlot and told him The Wine Advocate had scored it 99/100 - Good old Johnny Scores would pay £1000 for a case. Idiot.

"I swear it was this big..."
Linda and her Ladies Who 'Lunch'

Linda comes accross as a pretty well-to-do type and is married to a hard-working chap who has an office job in the city. When hubby is at work and the three kids are away at boarding school, Linda has her ladies round. In the summer, they sit out on the veranda and drink. And my god, do they drink. If it's pink and in the region of £8-10 per bottle, Linda will knock it back faster than you can say "Plonk". Does she care what it is? Well, no, obviously, as long as the name is a bit recognisable and the label has flowers on it.

The ladies have an elegant salad for lunch because they are all body-conscious "Yummy Mummy" types (the fact they'll be consuming about 4000 calories in wine is neither here nor there). They start off by with light chit-chat about their children's schools, local issues (gossip) and shoes... Then the wine starts flowing. By the 5th bottle, the conversation has descended to talking about the size of "Stuart's pork-sword". (he's a butcher, come on guys... a butcher with a 12" pork sword.)

Your imaginary wife isn't
coming back, Andy.
Andy Anorak

Andy is a geek, plain and simple. He knows quite a lot about wine but he has a strange range of knowledge. e.g. you tell him a Chateau and he will tell you where it sits in the 1855 Bordeaux Classification, however he doesn't correctly pronounce "Carménère". Andy is the sort of chap who goes into a wine shop, with a list of painfully specific wines from particular vintages (he says he has a wife but nobody has ever seen her) and then gets increasingly annoyed as you tell him that you haven't stocked two thirds of them for a few years now. One thing to remember, Andy doesn't like vintage changes.
Not particularly socially aware, Andy can't understand why you would take a nice bottle of wine to a party, where it would be wasted on people who won't analyse it.
Andy is a strange, awkward and misses the point of wine.

Mary Contrary

Mary is a simple character, probably from the North of England somewhere. She is in her 60s and is that repeat customer, who has drunk the same red and white wine since records began.
The thing with Mary is that she always asks to speak to a wine adviser. This would usually be fine, however Mary is very specific. This week, she is cooking a dish with black pudding and prawns and wants a wine that will match it perfectly. Fair enough so far, its not the easiest one but it can be done. Mr Wine Adviser goes to a lot of time and effort to find a few wines that would do the trick, even arranging a tasting for her to try them. After all is said and done though, Mary goes for the House Chilean Red and White, like she does every god damn time...

Dave The Wine Investor

Dave is a pushy character and is looking to make money, plain and
You have books growing out of your head Dave,
you look like an idiot.
simple. Although he claims he loves wine, he will buy large volumes of first growth Bordeaux and top-notch Burgundy and only open something half decent when it's his son's 21st. The rest, he only buys to store in a cellar until it's quadrupled in value about five times, after which he sells it to make a whole lot more money, which he will use to buy more wine he 'loves' but never drinks.

As a customer, he wants a crazy deal (even though he's more loaded than a Kardashian), he only wants to buy his wine in bond, and will expect you to knock off every little extra charge that you can and will still tell you that "Berry Brothers are doing this wine much cheaper you know". You may feel like telling him to sod off to them then and leave you in peace to drink your coffee, but there is an order for £7000 on your books that you don't want to lose out on, and he knows that.

Dave is a family man who doesn't have much time for his family. He inherited a lot of money and has always been pretty comfortable. The idea of missing out on a good vintage of Bordeaux En Primeur keeps him awake at night and his wife has just about had enough but he is too wealthy for her to want to walk out on him.

We all know these people, you better just hope you aren't one of them...

Photos taken from the following photostreams under the creative commons license:
HeatheronhertravelsDavid Kingsbury (Woot Design)Hing Ang Photographydjtracker0Passive Income Dream.comserzhile - NONE of these photos are meant to represent directly the 'wine types' in question. It's just stock photography they've kindly allowed us to use for free, guys. Be nice.

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