Dining Out: Wine Service Pet Peeves
"All four elements were happening in equal measure - the cuisine, the wine, the service, and the overall ambiance. It taught me that dining could happen at a spiritual level.” ~ Charlie Trotter
We've all most likely experienced what I call the "little-dance" known to others as ordering a bottle of wine. We have all seen it from one vantage point or the other. The wait-staff or in some cases the Sommelier standing table-side, the ritual of ordering, presenting the bottle, opening it, the first pour, sniffing, swirling and finally the first slurp; and they waiting for that knowing nod of approval or in the few rare cases, a head-shake of disapproval.
Often it's this little-dance between the customer and the service staff which can inadvertently give some folks a bit of angst in the process and it's precisely that angst-factor, many folks would like to avoid. Dining-out is like a mini-vacation; a chance to away from the hum-drum of everyday life. So when the average, garden variety dining-patron encounters obstacles ordering a bottle of wine, leaving many think why bother. For some this precisely why some would rather avoid the whole ritual all together. They tend to opt-out; by simply ordering a cocktail or in some cases asking for a can of soda or two, with a straw [I actually saw this one recently].
It has been said, "that you only have one chance to make a good impression" and often the first one, will be the last. I’ve long said and often repeated to as many folks as who will listen; "that many eating establishments or other related businesses need to do more, much more, to make this process more friendly". Because if restaurant's [sit-down dine and wine] collectively expect to capture a larger share of the market and turn more of their patrons into the "repeat" or the "regular" customer, then they may want to streamline the process.
I recently took a poll or a mini-survey on my Facebook page to see if wine-service issues were the "HOT" button issue I imagined them to be. Oh boy did I ever get a boat-load of comments, far more than any other topic I've brought up to date.