Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Who Knew?

The wine tasting at the grocery was FABULOUS.

I walked in, and went back to the deli department (adjacent to the produce section). You know, where they slice your cheese and meat—and have rotisserie chickens? And often they have gross, plastic looking pre-made foods on display? “Shepards Pie---by the slice!!’ Ugh.

Anyway, there were tables set up, with tablecloths, flower arrangements, and small paper plates on a doily. They didn’t have any wine disposal buckets on the tables, so they went to the floral department and improvised with the containers you find pre-packaged flowers sitting in the store. It seemed weird at first, but hey---when you need to improvise, go for it. It was all good.

I was meeting a friend, so I was trying to find a good ‘end’ seat so we wouldn’t be crowded in. I found one, and debated with myself on if we should move. Some people came and sat by us (I don’t like people very much, so this was off-putting to me). Pretty soon, a quite hairy dude joined the ladies---he had a very deep voice, and it all seemed a little out of place.

There were LOTS of geriatric patrons, and a few apparent ‘serious’ wine enthusiasts. The store manager was there, wearing a tie with grapes on it (I complimented him on his theme-wear). Our table seemed to be the 30’s (and maybe 40’s---me) table.

I was really sort of worried. I guess I do like people, but am so afraid that they won’t like me that I get really withdrawn in situations like this. I don’t want to look around, or make eye contact, or chat. I worry that I’ll either attract the weirdos or people will think I AM WEIRD and want to avoid me!! It’s just awkward.

Pretty soon, the manager introduced the wine expert---he studied wine for 2 YEARS. TWO. YEARS. Wow. Mash up some grapes, ferment them with some sugar and call it wine…….but apparently there’s WAAAYYYYY more to it than that. It all was stilted and formal (to begin with). I felt awkward and weird. There was quite a menu of finger foods and wines.

Early on we began quizzing the cheese manager about the food (I’m more of a foodie than a wine pro)….we tried to be quiet. A little further into the event a late-comer joined the group that sat by us. My friend began cracking some jokes and the party was ON.

We giggled, and ate, and sampled the wines. The guys pouring seemed to enjoy the frivolity of our group. By the end of the session, the group next to us and us were exchanging numbers and throwing out plans for the weekend. We wandered through the store like a gang of teenagers planning a liquor ‘buy’. We giggled and other store patrons stared. IT WAS AWESOME!

Apparently, according to one of our new friends, one of the patrons at the far end of our table kept ‘shusshing’ her (us) saying he was ‘trying to LISTEN’ to the expert. We at the end of the table missed the action and continued to enjoy the food, wine and company. We had fun conversation (during the wine lecture), and I even was brave enough to ask questions. The expert said my questions were ‘good’. I think he just wanted me to buy some wine.

So, those of you who don’t have wine and liquor in your grocery……..I am so sorry. Because it IS a grocery store, there was a wide variety of food to sample (shrimp, crackers topped with brie/pears/almonds, deli cheeses and meats, pork tenderloin, beef strip steak, cookies and strawberries). They’d carefully planned the wine pairings, and despite my dislike for some of the heavier wines (NORTON), I could honestly see how food makes a difference in how wine tastes. I enjoyed the scary wines much more with the food than I did alone. It was an awesome deal!! And best of all IT WAS FREE.

Kudos to Schnucks for hosting a lovely evening. It obviously was not formal……with us sitting between the deli and the produce and customers wandering through staring at us…..but it was fun, and the food was good and the tasting and education was FUN!!

They’d obviously planned this well—there were various store managers there, and various wine people there----we were poured for and served. It was pleasant, it was fun and was pretty well organized. I’d say there were between 30 and 40 people there. It may not seem like a lot, but in our small community in the middle of the grocery store, it was a good crowd!! I would imagine it cost quite a bit to feed and provide wine for all of us.

I admittedly was leery at the beginning. Seeing some of the ‘older’ crowd was kind of weird. But it turned out to be a really cool Tuesday night event!! We were there for almost 2 hours!!

If any of you want to be on the guest list the NEXT time they have a tasting event, just let me know. I’ll sign you up. I’m telling you, with the right people at your table, it’s quite the PARTY!!

Happy Wednesday everyone!


MsDarkstar said...

It's weird... here in the Frozen Tundra we have a local liquor store that does wine tasting on Saturday and the folks that show up are HARDCORE and bring their own glasses in fancy velvet pouches and swirl, swish, "nose" and all that other wine-y stuff.

Many of them are people who appear to know each other. The wine expert dude is a huggy guy who seems to really enjoy the ladies.

We never get food, though... only a basket o' Wheat Thins... I'd much prefer your grocery store gig!

Kristen said...

That sounds so wonderful I can't even tell you. I'm even more jealouser than I was before. I know jealouser is not a real word but jealous just wasn't covering it.

PS: I always wind up drunk at wine tastings. I could never be a serious wine taster. THEY THROW WINE AWAY!!! That's just wrong on so many levels.

PSS: I get the same way around strangers. We're sistas.

Daisee579 said...

Like Crissy, I'm even more jealouser now (yep, it's a real word if two or more people use it, so I just helped Crissy invent a word). Not only do we not have liquor or wine in grocery stores, but this is the Bible belt. We can't buy alcohol on Sundays and can't even order a drink at a restaurant with a meal. In Memphis, we could still buy at a restaurant and could even get liquor after noon (closed on Sunday mornings).

There is one sort of fancy restaurant in town that hosted a wine tasting, but it was like $100 per person or something.

I'm glad you enjoyed yourself. What a fun way to spend a random Tuesday night!!

Dingo said...

I have wine tastings at my apartment. Sometimes Mr. Dingo and I will taste two or three bottles in one night. We also eat highbrow snacks with our wine -- to bring out the flavors of the vintage. M&M's go great with Reds but if you want something lighter, I'd suggest a nice Pinot Grigio with your Newman's Own Butter Blast popcorn.