As a wine sales rep for a good retailer, you sometimes take your personal time and devote it to the store by standing behind a barrel pouring samples for anybody who wants them. Boring stuff, usually. You might not sell very much wine, but one person connected deeply with one of your wines, and she has quietly bought a bottle every two weeks for the last three years. She also shares it with her friends at every book club and talks about the day she discovered it at her local wine shop.
As a wine sales rep for a restaurant, when you get a new placement by the glass you go into the establishment for a pre-shift training on the new wine. You’ve had a long day, you’re burnt out, the staff is completely disengaged, and you can’t wait to get home. But there’s a shy server, new to wine, who never heard somebody explain it so simply and clearly. He didn’t know the color came from the skins of the grape. He never heard of ‘terroir’ until now. He immediately orders Wine For Dummies, devours it, goes on to the CMS and WSET programs, and eventually ends up running the wine program at another restaurant.
Some of the most important moments in a wine sales job are not only unmeasurable at the time, but the impact remains unknown to you forever.
And that’s part of being a wine professional. You step up and bring forward passion, honesty, integrity, and excitement even if you’re not in the mood. It’s about them, not about you. And sometimes your impact on them cannot be measured or known.