May 3, 2008

Wine stories

We went wine tasting the other day, and the difference between the tasting room experiences was significant. Both had friendly, knowledgeable staff. One had descriptions of the wines written on the tasting menu, the other had no written descriptions, but the man behind the counter described each one himself.

Which was the more enriching experience? The one with the stories.

At the second winery, Wolff Vineyards, the person who served us was a member of the family who owns the winery. It was clear he is passionate about wine, as he is directly involved with growing, processing and selling it.

As we moved on to each wine, he would hold up the bottle, show us the label, and describe the grape, its history, its farming method (they use integrated pest management and dry farming, among other sustainable methods), and its flavor profile.

I'm not a wine expert, so I need people to speak plain English to me when I go wine tasting. Clint, the man behind the counter, used images and examples to explain how "even though this wine is made with petite sirah grapes, there's nothing petite about it."

He described the smaller grape's gelatinous, rather than juicy, texture. He talked about the high ratio of skin to pulp. He talked about the difference between cold weather and warm weather crops.

The stories engaged me with the growing and processing of the grapes, and when I'm engaged and understand what I'm tasting, I'm more likely to buy!

Clint was passionate about his topic and found a way to make it interesting and engaging for the "average Joe."

How about you? Are you reaching out to the average Joe, or are you a wine snob?

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4 comments. Please add yours! :

Anonymous said...

Ooooh... Too close to home. :)

I've actually started integrating concrete metaphors with my presentation with some success.

My last presentation was to a bunch of physicians and hospital staff. I figured if I couldn't get them to understand what I was talking about, it would have been completely my fault! :)

Lisa Braithwaite said...

The more you do it, the more will come to you! Your mind starts working more creatively to come up with examples, analogies, metaphors, and it becomes easier to integrate naturally into your presentation.

Anonymous said...

And why the heck wasn't I invited? Boo. Hiss.
Yes, I like the "plain English" too. My favorite description lately was when the pourer said that the pinot he was serving reminded him of cherry jolly ranchers. He was right on! I just love that he used a really common candy rather than some fancy schmancy food I've never had before. Definitely made the experience more approachable.

Lisa Braithwaite said...

You wouldn't have enjoyed the business trip part of the wine tasting. ;-)

I love the cherry jolly rancher analogy!

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