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7 Kinds of Tasters you meet at a Tasting

Posted: Wednesday, 04 March 2015 11:35

7 Kinds of Tasters you meet at a Tasting

March 04: The tasters at various wine events are professionals who try to understand and rate the wines according to the impression on their palate but each has a separate personality of his/her own and most fit in one of the seven categories, according to Rojita Tiwari based on her experience at several tastings in India and abroad

Click For Large View“All through the nineties I met people. Crowds of people. Met and met and met, until it seemed that people were born and hastily grew up, just to be met”. – Carolyn Wells, American Author and poet

There is something about social gatherings. Not everyone can claim to have mastery over the art of surviving the crowded, awkward moments chanced upon at these events. Sometimes you are there with a purpose and sometimes without one. But there’s some kind of certainty about a gathering of a different nature where hundreds of press and trade members come under one platform, on invitation of an organizer with the sole purpose of ‘Tasting Wine’. It becomes a melting pot of people of diverse nature.

Over the years of travel to many such international and domestic wine events, one observes that there are some fascinating and distinctive kinds of people who are regulars at such events. Here is list of at least 7 such kind, whom you may chance upon at every tasting event.

1)     The Attention seeker
S/he has been a regular at the same event for many years probably even before you were born. A veteran, a has-been who is still clutching on to the lost glory. S/he does not hesitate to show up even uninvited at such tastings. Throws a fit around for not being treated well and has an opinion about almost everything. Starting from the latest vintage to the last sandwich served at the lunch table. If s/he has your attention, well, you might as well wait till the opening of the Pandora’s Box.

2)     The Almighty
S/he may or may not be a Master of Wine. But, surely has the last say on things. Enjoys the godly attention but most of the time stays hidden from the lesser mortals. Sometimes s/he will brace you with her/his wisdom on wine by occasionally sharing her/his opinion on a particular vintage or just throw you a glance or a forced greeting. If you have befriended one of these kinds, you too bask in the glory of her/his godly aura.

3)     The Trouble maker or the constant grumbler
You pray that you do not come across one because you may become one of the reasons for her/him to complain. This kind usually has trouble with everything, from the dying iPhone battery to the long queue at the lunch area; taxi fare reimbursements to the cold/hot weather. This kind either keeps the organizers on toes or chews the brains of the companion. But s/he is also occasionally seen complaining about a bad vintage.

4)     The Over-friendly, over flirtatious
Married, middle-aged, or has one foot in the grave, does not matter. Old habits die-hard! This serial offender spares no one. Though some enjoy all the attention while pretending to be bothered by his over-friendly, over flirtatious nature, one often overhears stories of clandestine romances at such events. This kind usually observes and zeros down on a possibility and then sets his eyes on the prey. I am told that by the end of the trip he mostly gets what he wants. There is also another kind that never stops trying.

5)     The Drunk Taster
A taster by nature knows when s/he has had one too many sips. However, although this is a rare kind, this species really exists. S/he is the first one to enter the venue and the last one to leave. Usually heard boasting about her/his enormous capacity to be able to hold alcohol. Either s/he becomes fun or a total bore by the end of all that drinking/tasting slobbering, spitting through the conversation.

6)     The Mr/Ms Know-it-all
The world is divided between two kinds of people; one kind thinks understanding wine is an art or science, that professional wine tasters have a gifted palate; they know much more about wine than a regular wine drinker. Another kind who thinks it is all UTTER CRAP. But there is yet a third kind too. The wine snob who thinks that s/he is blessed with the special gift to be able to tell you the country, wine, grape or even the vineyard and is willing to disseminate the info during a blind tasting even while you are struggling to find the ingredients in the blend. Seriously, they are no fun. Party spoilers!

7)     The Collector
S/he may look a regular person like any other guest at the tasting yet has a hidden weapon, which is used only when no other guest is around. That secret weapon is used to acquire a bottle of wine from the producer or the exhibitor or the company representative. While the regular guests are still trying to strike a conversation with the representatives or getting deep into the understanding of a particular wine, this special kind has already secured a bottle of that rare variety or vintage or blend, which the regulars are just raving about. By the end of the event or tour usually s/he has the biggest luggage to take home. I salute thou. 

Have fun at the next tasting. And remember not to shoot the messenger!

Rojita Tiwari

Rojita Tiwari is a freelance wine & spirits writer and consultant based out of Mumbai. She is also the founder of Drinks & Destinations. Tweet to herat @RojitaTiwari or follow her blog The views expressed are her own-editor

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Subhash Arora Says:

Rojita What about the following types:

THE LOST ONES - This is the kind that almost every taster fall s in at least once . This is her/his first opportunity to be a part of a big group o r a small exclusive tasting .The invitation to taste might have been perhaps passed on from higher ups in the media business. Clueless about how everything works , this kind is usually seen asking questions about schedules, programme details and tips to survive after such tasting s. They usually stick to a very close range while scoring.

THE BORING ONES- like me who go and do their best according to their palate experience, stay out of trouble and drink a lot of water during tasting to dilute the alcohol intake. This kind is seen rushing to the toilet often and may be seen drinking moderately at dinners. Subhash Arora

Posted @ March 10, 2015 18:04


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