And what if the wine sucks?

If you’re in the position of wine sales (which does not just mean wholesale or winery level, but also restaurant and retail … anywhere in the chain of movement toward the end consumer), how do you handle the wine that truly sucks?

I’m not talking about a single bottle that is chemically flawed. I’m talking about a wine that consistently under delivers, or is slightly oxidized from the get-go, or has a whiff of volatile acidity with every bottle.

Do you have a superior that insists the wine is good?

Do you have a customer that doesn’t pick up on the faults?

How should you handle this?

The thing to do is to be the one to say something. You don’t need to pontificate endlessly, you don’t need to tell somebody they are wrong. You don’t need to put your fists on your hips and play King Somm. Just be the one person that says something about it, even if nothing changes.

To your manager that wants you to sell it: “I’ll sell it, but I’m not a fan of it. It just seems there is something consistently off about that wine” will cover all the ground you need to cover. You’ve stated you’ll do your job, but also stated your opinion.

To the consumer who doesn’t pick up on the faults: “We’ve had a couple of bottles recently that were a bit off. If you decide it’s not quite right, even at the last sip, let me know and I’ll refund the price.” Guarantees are awesome for delivering comfort (for both sides).