Esther Mobley tells you how to look like a total newb

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Nate Simon
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Esther Mobley tells you how to look like a total newb

#1 Post by Nate Simon » September 5th, 2019, 10:27 am

Esther offers these (intended to be helpful) tips for visiting during harvest. A better title might have been “Ask These Questions To Annoy The Crap Out Of Everyone Within Earshot.”

https://thepress.sfchronicle.com/articl ... tions/amp/

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Re: Esther Mobley tells you how to look like a total newb

#2 Post by Anton D » September 5th, 2019, 10:59 am

[rofl.gif]

That's almost as good as her piece about how to help the plumber fix things at your house.

And nowhere near as good as her review of best ways of stopping to offer road crews helpful construction hints.
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Re: Esther Mobley tells you how to look like a total newb

#3 Post by CJ Beazley » September 5th, 2019, 11:03 am

Anton D wrote:
September 5th, 2019, 10:59 am
[rofl.gif]

That's almost as good as her piece about how to help the plumber fix things at your house.

Not quite as good as her review off stopping to offer road crews helpful construction hints, either.
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Re: Esther Mobley tells you how to look like a total newb

#4 Post by Nate Simon » September 5th, 2019, 2:19 pm

I just want to be in the tasting room when some greenhorn looks at their phone and reads off, “Do you make your rosé by direct press, or saignee?” while mispronouncing “saignee.”

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Re: Esther Mobley tells you how to look like a total newb

#5 Post by D@ve D y r 0 f f » September 5th, 2019, 4:04 pm

CJ Beazley wrote:
September 5th, 2019, 11:03 am
Anton D wrote:
September 5th, 2019, 10:59 am
[rofl.gif]

That's almost as good as her piece about how to help the plumber fix things at your house.

Not quite as good as her review off stopping to offer road crews helpful construction hints, either.
Sign hanging in an auto repair shop years ago-
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A local body shop has something like this -

We offer any two of the following:
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Re: Esther Mobley tells you how to look like a total newb

#6 Post by alwright » September 5th, 2019, 4:24 pm

Wow, the snark comes fast and easy around here!

The Press is a website intended to help the general population visiting wine country learn how to get the most out of their visit. I guess that's really not a good idea, though, since who needs to educate people about wine when you can just condescend to them? I mean, everyone knows the right questions to ask at a winery during harvest time (anyone have better ones?), and everyone knows how to pronounce saignee (oh wait, the article actually indicates the correct pronunciation). And, you're completely right, why should you learn the right questions to ask a plumber or a mechanic, since they would never rip off an unknowledgeable consumer.

I get that some of the questions can seem basic, but everyone has to start somewhere - and the general public can do a lot worse than this article.
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Re: Esther Mobley tells you how to look like a total newb

#7 Post by Yao C » September 5th, 2019, 7:42 pm

alwright wrote:
September 5th, 2019, 4:24 pm
Wow, the snark comes fast and easy around here!
I think winery staff would rather be asked genuine questions that come from curiosity as opposed to crap recited off a list for the purposes of ingratiating oneself. But perhaps I’m old fashioned
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Re: Esther Mobley tells you how to look like a total newb

#8 Post by alwright » September 5th, 2019, 9:19 pm

I guess that we just disagree about whether this article is "crap recited off a list." I happen to think that questions about the vintage, picking decisions, and fermentation processes are within the realm of reasonable questions when visiting a winery at harvest.

But, yeah, it's a lot more fun to mock new wine consumers, who aren't trying to read and learn but are instead "ingratiating oneself." Either you know exactly the language to use when visiting a winery, or you deserve to be mocked as a "total newb." When it comes to the wine world, I fear that condescension is truly the most old fashioned of exercises...
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Re: Esther Mobley tells you how to look like a total newb

#9 Post by Anton D » September 5th, 2019, 9:39 pm

alwright wrote:
September 5th, 2019, 9:19 pm
I guess that we just disagree about whether this article is "crap recited off a list." I happen to think that questions about the vintage, picking decisions, and fermentation processes are within the realm of reasonable questions when visiting a winery at harvest.

But, yeah, it's a lot more fun to mock new wine consumers, who aren't trying to read and learn but are instead "ingratiating oneself." Either you know exactly the language to use when visiting a winery, or you deserve to be mocked as a "total newb." When it comes to the wine world, I fear that condescension is truly the most old fashioned of exercises...
That’s some fine virtue signaling.
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Re: Esther Mobley tells you how to look like a total newb

#10 Post by blarmston » September 5th, 2019, 10:15 pm

The Snarkiness Level is high on these boards, for sure. I used to love coming to this website, but now I pop in to see upcoming offer tips, see if there’s any new producers to put on the radar, and that’s about it. An ever increasing % of this board think their shit doesn’t stink, maybe because they can pronounce Montalcino or Grenache correctly. News flash- it does. If I could only be in a room, drinking a glass of wine with them, I would call them out right on the spot. Would love to see their reaction. But I can’t, so in its place, the next best option...
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Re: Esther Mobley tells you how to look like a total newb

#11 Post by Chris Seiber » September 5th, 2019, 10:23 pm

alwright wrote:
September 5th, 2019, 4:24 pm
I get that some of the questions can seem basic, but everyone has to start somewhere - and the general public can do a lot worse than this article.
Yeah, I guess it's alwright if you think of it that way.

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Re: Esther Mobley tells you how to look like a total newb

#12 Post by PeterH » September 5th, 2019, 10:38 pm

I see nothing wrong with the questions in the right context. The questions should come from genuine interest, though, and should be coupled with the ability to understand the answer.
If you can't already taste the difference between saignee and direct press, or whole cluster and de-stemmed, it is better to wait until you have the opportunity to try the two together.
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Re: Esther Mobley tells you how to look like a total newb

#13 Post by GregT » September 6th, 2019, 1:00 am

Esther Mobley tells you how to look like a total

douche!!!
Fixed.

It's not snark, it's an objection to idiocy.

Would you offer a list of questions for any other subject? You get to meet the pitcher who won the World Series. You should ask him if he throws the ball a little faster or slower in the post-season games.

You get to meet the doctor who set your aged father's broken leg. You should ask him if bones are like wood and you can use nails to pound them together.

It's just a dumb approach.

"Hey! Here's a list of questions! Do you care about any of these things? No? Well, that's OK. Wine makers are so stupid they'll think you're a really sophisticated wine lover!"

Why not just tell people to ask what they want to know?

Oh yeah. It's because if people need to be told what to ask, they've already failed. Genuine interest has nothing to do with a list of stupid canned questions.

But it's snarky to point that out.

Thank god I don't mind being snarky. rolleyes
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Re: Esther Mobley tells you how to look like a total newb

#14 Post by Jason T » September 6th, 2019, 3:12 am

Yao C wrote:
September 5th, 2019, 7:42 pm
I think winery staff would rather be asked genuine questions that come from curiosity as opposed to crap recited off a list for the purposes of ingratiating oneself. But perhaps I’m old fashioned
They probably would. And anyone who came in read the questions straight from their phone probably deserves some scorn.
alwright wrote:
September 5th, 2019, 9:19 pm
I guess that we just disagree about whether this article is "crap recited off a list." I happen to think that questions about the vintage, picking decisions, and fermentation processes are within the realm of reasonable questions when visiting a winery at harvest.

But, yeah, it's a lot more fun to mock new wine consumers, who aren't trying to read and learn but are instead "ingratiating oneself." Either you know exactly the language to use when visiting a winery, or you deserve to be mocked as a "total newb." When it comes to the wine world, I fear that condescension is truly the most old fashioned of exercises...
blarmston wrote:
September 5th, 2019, 10:15 pm
The Snarkiness Level is high on these boards, for sure. I used to love coming to this website, but now I pop in to see upcoming offer tips, see if there’s any new producers to put on the radar, and that’s about it. An ever increasing % of this board think their shit doesn’t stink, maybe because they can pronounce Montalcino or Grenache correctly. News flash- it does. If I could only be in a room, drinking a glass of wine with them, I would call them out right on the spot. Would love to see their reaction. But I can’t, so in its place, the next best option...
Exactly. This article isn't meant for us. It is meant for someone who is learning about wine. Perhaps we forget just how much we know. I know a great deal about wine - more than most anyone else I know 'IRL' (and I admit, I don't hang out with many people that share my passion towards wine) that isn't ITB (and surprisingly, more than a fair number ITB). That's not a statement of arrogance - it's simply a fact. It's also a fact that the majority of people on this wine board completely smoke me in terms of their wine knowledge.

Ten years ago, I knew nothing about wine. I found it incredibly intimidating. So I did what I do when I'm intimated by something - I went all in and learned everything I could about it. And I admit that despite that, even when I first started visiting wineries in the last couple of years, I found it incredibly intimidating. I worried about every word, worried that I would expose myself as a total newb, worried that I'd ask a completely stupid question. So worried that I actively avoided interacting with winemakers for way too long. Hell, I STILL AM WORRIED.

What a terrible way to feel about what should be a fun thing. And that's a huge disincentive for people to want to know more about wine.

Esther doesn't just say 'hey, go ask these qestions', she at least provides a few sentences on why those questions are relevant. Maybe that gives someone the confidence to go to a winery, strike up a conversation with a winemaker. Maybe they ask one of the questions she suggests. Maybe her questions spark some thought, and they come up with one of their own questions.

Maybe her questions actually help a couple people enjoy wine more....

We really should get over ourselves.
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Re: Esther Mobley tells you how to look like a total newb

#15 Post by Markus S » September 6th, 2019, 4:44 am

Jason T wrote:
September 6th, 2019, 3:12 am
... I found it incredibly intimidating. ...
I've never found wine to be intimidating. How can it, when it soothes the spirit and loosens the tongue.
But I have found it to be frustratingly expensive (more so nowadays), that I've missed many chances to try some great wines simply because of their price.
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Re: Esther Mobley tells you how to look like a total newb

#16 Post by Michael Feldman » September 6th, 2019, 6:34 am

alwright wrote:
September 5th, 2019, 4:24 pm
Wow, the snark comes fast and easy around here!

The Press is a website intended to help the general population visiting wine country learn how to get the most out of their visit. I guess that's really not a good idea, though, since who needs to educate people about wine when you can just condescend to them? I mean, everyone knows the right questions to ask at a winery during harvest time (anyone have better ones?), and everyone knows how to pronounce saignee (oh wait, the article actually indicates the correct pronunciation). And, you're completely right, why should you learn the right questions to ask a plumber or a mechanic, since they would never rip off an unknowledgeable consumer.

I get that some of the questions can seem basic, but everyone has to start somewhere - and the general public can do a lot worse than this article.
Great response to the OP! Just returned from Napa-Sonoma and the best advice I heard a winemaker give to a fellow visitor was if you know what you like then that is all the wine knowledge you really need.
On several visits to different wineries I do not think that the pourers or the hosts would have the slightest clue as to the answers to these questions.

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Re: Esther Mobley tells you how to look like a total newb

#17 Post by Tom G l a s g o w » September 6th, 2019, 6:57 am

Michael Feldman wrote:
September 6th, 2019, 6:34 am
alwright wrote:
September 5th, 2019, 4:24 pm
Wow, the snark comes fast and easy around here!

The Press is a website intended to help the general population visiting wine country learn how to get the most out of their visit. I guess that's really not a good idea, though, since who needs to educate people about wine when you can just condescend to them? I mean, everyone knows the right questions to ask at a winery during harvest time (anyone have better ones?), and everyone knows how to pronounce saignee (oh wait, the article actually indicates the correct pronunciation). And, you're completely right, why should you learn the right questions to ask a plumber or a mechanic, since they would never rip off an unknowledgeable consumer.

I get that some of the questions can seem basic, but everyone has to start somewhere - and the general public can do a lot worse than this article.
Great response to the OP! Just returned from Napa-Sonoma and the best advice I heard a winemaker give to a fellow visitor was if you know what you like then that is all the wine knowledge you really need.
On several visits to different wineries I do not think that the pourers or the hosts would have the slightest clue as to the answers to these questions.
You make a good point, but it lends more credence to the OP’s objection to the article. You need to know enough to understand the question you’re asking.
BTW, who comes to an enthusiast site as a newbie and doesn’t expect snark?

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Re: Esther Mobley tells you how to look like a total newb

#18 Post by H Wallace Jr » September 6th, 2019, 8:47 am

I'd be happy if a visitor asked me any of these questions.
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Re: Esther Mobley tells you how to look like a total newb

#19 Post by Alan Rath » September 6th, 2019, 9:22 am

Michael Feldman wrote:
September 6th, 2019, 6:34 am
Just returned from Napa-Sonoma and the best advice I heard a winemaker give to a fellow visitor was if you know what you like then that is all the wine knowledge you really need.
Hmm, I'm not so sure. If you like Big Macs over Michelin star'd food, is that all the food knowledge you need? The truth is that too many people drink crappy (really crappy) wine, and are perfectly happy with it. That is definitely not all the wine knowledge they need.
Tom G l a s g o w wrote:
September 6th, 2019, 6:57 am
BTW, who comes to an enthusiast site as a newbie and doesn’t expect snark?
I suspect most newbies who visit here aren't expecting the snark they typically get. Which is why there's a certain barrier to participation. A bit of self-selection: people who can deal with it remain, those who can't (or don't want to) don't. Now, I don't think we're nearly as snarky as a decade ago, but there is definitely some.
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Re: Esther Mobley tells you how to look like a total newb

#20 Post by Alan Rath » September 6th, 2019, 9:24 am

H Wallace Jr wrote:
September 6th, 2019, 8:47 am
I'd be happy if a visitor asked me any of these questions.
I ask a couple of those questions all the time. Though I never ask to taste a grape, that's a complete waste of time, unless you have years of experience with a vineyard. Plus I never ask, I just do it ;)
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Re: Esther Mobley tells you how to look like a total newb

#21 Post by Jason T » September 6th, 2019, 9:31 am

Michael Feldman wrote:
September 6th, 2019, 6:34 am
alwright wrote:
September 5th, 2019, 4:24 pm
Wow, the snark comes fast and easy around here!

The Press is a website intended to help the general population visiting wine country learn how to get the most out of their visit. I guess that's really not a good idea, though, since who needs to educate people about wine when you can just condescend to them? I mean, everyone knows the right questions to ask at a winery during harvest time (anyone have better ones?), and everyone knows how to pronounce saignee (oh wait, the article actually indicates the correct pronunciation). And, you're completely right, why should you learn the right questions to ask a plumber or a mechanic, since they would never rip off an unknowledgeable consumer.

I get that some of the questions can seem basic, but everyone has to start somewhere - and the general public can do a lot worse than this article.
Great response to the OP! Just returned from Napa-Sonoma and the best advice I heard a winemaker give to a fellow visitor was if you know what you like then that is all the wine knowledge you really need.
On several visits to different wineries I do not think that the pourers or the hosts would have the slightest clue as to the answers to these questions.
I get the sentiment but I disagree with the literal statement. If we all just settled for what we liked we’d be barely beyond cavemen.

I could be working a dead-end job in central Illinois, listening to Toby Keith, fuelling my “lifestyle” with nothing more than Mountain Dew, McDonalds, and Bud Light. I LOVED IT. But it occurred to me that, hey, maybe there were a few things going on in the world that I didn’t understand, and maybe it’s just worth a little investment of effort on my part try and grasp them.

It’s not like people come out of the cabbage patch fully-evolved and with a natural thirst for 30 year old Chinon.

Well, other than Alfert...
Last edited by Jason T on September 6th, 2019, 9:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Esther Mobley tells you how to look like a total newb

#22 Post by Nate Simon » September 6th, 2019, 9:33 am

LOL, I once walked a vineyard with an experienced winemaker who is well-regarded on this board. He grabbed a few grapes and tasted them. I asked him what information he gets from doing that. He kind of shrugged and said he wasn’t sure if it was even that useful.

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Re: Esther Mobley tells you how to look like a total newb

#23 Post by Nate Simon » September 6th, 2019, 9:34 am

H Wallace Jr wrote:
September 6th, 2019, 8:47 am
I'd be happy if a visitor asked me any of these questions.
I’m sure the winemaker would find these questions enjoyable. However, the article is about visiting wineries during harvest. The chance of having any substantive time with the winemaker during that time is almost zero. I’m sure the tasting room employees would be amused at someone asking them how they make their picking decisions.

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Re: Esther Mobley tells you how to look like a total newb

#24 Post by Anton D » September 6th, 2019, 10:48 am

Confession: I pronounce Domaine Leroy “Doe-main Lee-Roy,” like Leeroy Jenkins and I still found her article funny.

If I am at a wine nerd wine tasting, I will call it “Kai-moo Cabernet” and “Me-oh-My pinot noir” in a discussion and see what happens.

We need to constantly subvert the seriousness of the hobby at all times. Otherwise, we fall for it when someone calls a wine “serious,” or, my favorite: “This is an intellectual wine...”
Ha!
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Re: Esther Mobley tells you how to look like a total newb

#25 Post by Brian Gilp » September 6th, 2019, 11:04 am

Nate Simon wrote:
September 6th, 2019, 9:34 am
H Wallace Jr wrote:
September 6th, 2019, 8:47 am
I'd be happy if a visitor asked me any of these questions.
I’m sure the winemaker would find these questions enjoyable. However, the article is about visiting wineries during harvest. The chance of having any substantive time with the winemaker during that time is almost zero. I’m sure the tasting room employees would be amused at someone asking them how they make their picking decisions.
When I worked the tasting room at a small winery, I knew these things and more. I also participated in the blending trials and did some other odd jobs when needed in the back. The point being, I knew our product well and there were very few questions I couldn’t answer. I loved it when customers asked because it made a better experience for them and was more enjoyable for me as well. Not to mention, the better their experience, the more they normally bought.

I ask questions wherever we stop. It doesn’t take much to figure out if the person pouring knows anything more than the script they have been told to repeat. Often times they don’t, but I have found that many times they do and if they don’t they will find someone who does know the answers to my questions.

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Re: Esther Mobley tells you how to look like a total newb

#26 Post by Vincent Fritzsche » September 6th, 2019, 12:12 pm

H Wallace Jr wrote:
September 6th, 2019, 8:47 am
I'd be happy if a visitor asked me any of these questions.
+1
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Re: Esther Mobley tells you how to look like a total newb

#27 Post by Marc Hauser » September 6th, 2019, 12:41 pm

I think that this thread is a good example of why people don't like wine snobs. Like rock snobs. Or art snobs.
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Re: Esther Mobley tells you how to look like a total newb

#28 Post by Tom G l a s g o w » September 6th, 2019, 12:44 pm

H Wallace Jr wrote:
September 6th, 2019, 8:47 am
I'd be happy if a visitor asked me any of these questions.
You'll be making a rose this year?

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Re: Esther Mobley tells you how to look like a total newb

#29 Post by H Wallace Jr » September 6th, 2019, 1:18 pm

Nate Simon wrote:
September 6th, 2019, 9:34 am
H Wallace Jr wrote:
September 6th, 2019, 8:47 am
I'd be happy if a visitor asked me any of these questions.
I’m sure the winemaker would find these questions enjoyable. However, the article is about visiting wineries during harvest. The chance of having any substantive time with the winemaker during that time is almost zero. I’m sure the tasting room employees would be amused at someone asking them how they make their picking decisions.
I managed a fairly geeky tasting room on HWY 29 for two years. I would have killed to have these questions (which then become conversations) vs. listening to a tasting room associate and customer talk at each other about things neither seem interested in.
Tom G l a s g o w wrote:
September 6th, 2019, 12:44 pm
H Wallace Jr wrote:
September 6th, 2019, 8:47 am
I'd be happy if a visitor asked me any of these questions.
You'll be making a rose this year?
Ha! I've always said no, never, not gonna happen. To make it well, it is the most amount of winemaking for the least amount of return for something that has a cultural expiration date. That being said, I saw a great rosé vineyard the other day [stirthepothal.gif]

I wanted to chime in on tasting grapes-- Unless you make wine strictly by #s, I can't imagine not tasting grapes as a key part of the winemaking process. Plus, they are delicious. Visitors light up when they taste a grape or non-fermenting juice. It is a different and wonderful taste. If you want to go further and really blow someone's mind, give them a partially fermented whole berry flirtysmile
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Re: Esther Mobley tells you how to look like a total newb

#30 Post by Jason T » September 6th, 2019, 2:43 pm

Anton D wrote:
September 6th, 2019, 10:48 am
Confession: I pronounce Domaine Leroy “Doe-main Lee-Roy,” like Leeroy Jenkins and I still found her article funny.

If I am at a wine nerd wine tasting, I will call it “Kai-moo Cabernet” and “Me-oh-My pinot noir” in a discussion and see what happens.

We need to constantly subvert the seriousness of the hobby at all times. Otherwise, we fall for it when someone calls a wine “serious,” or, my favorite: “This is an intellectual wine...”
Ha!
Viva la revalucion!!!!
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Re: Esther Mobley tells you how to look like a total newb

#31 Post by Wes Barton » September 6th, 2019, 3:20 pm

Michael Feldman wrote:
September 6th, 2019, 6:34 am
On several visits to different wineries I do not think that the pourers or the hosts would have the slightest clue as to the answers to these questions.
That was my first thought. And, that during crush you are least likely to encounter pourers who can answer these questions. Maybe this should be: "How to badly fake you know anything by asking some poor server questions they don't know the answer to, and make your tasting experience as awkward as possible."
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Re: Esther Mobley tells you how to look like a total newb

#32 Post by Wes Barton » September 6th, 2019, 3:28 pm

Alan Rath wrote:
September 6th, 2019, 9:22 am
Michael Feldman wrote:
September 6th, 2019, 6:34 am
Just returned from Napa-Sonoma and the best advice I heard a winemaker give to a fellow visitor was if you know what you like then that is all the wine knowledge you really need.
Hmm, I'm not so sure. If you like Big Macs over Michelin star'd food, is that all the food knowledge you need? The truth is that too many people drink crappy (really crappy) wine, and are perfectly happy with it. That is definitely not all the wine knowledge they need.
Yes, it sounds patronizing as stated. It's all the non-curious need - find what they like and leave it at that. But, as a starting point for novices, it's important to let the know they aren't *supposed to* like particular wines. They should find what they like. If so inclined, they can start exploring from what turns them on.
Tom G l a s g o w wrote:
September 6th, 2019, 6:57 am
BTW, who comes to an enthusiast site as a newbie and doesn’t expect snark?
I suspect most newbies who visit here aren't expecting the snark they typically get. Which is why there's a certain barrier to participation. A bit of self-selection: people who can deal with it remain, those who can't (or don't want to) don't. Now, I don't think we're nearly as snarky as a decade ago, but there is definitely some.
Those who can't take the snark return to their wine blogs and overwhelming sense of self-importance in their safe spaces.
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Re: Esther Mobley tells you how to look like a total newb

#33 Post by Yao C » September 6th, 2019, 3:38 pm

alwright wrote:
September 5th, 2019, 9:19 pm
Either you know exactly the language to use when visiting a winery, or you deserve to be mocked as a "total newb."
This is a false dichotomy you've presented. There is a third way: visit a winery, describe your likes and dislikes in your own words, display a little humility about what you don't know, and pick up a little knowledge along the way. This approach is not hard, and no one's going to think less of anyone who uses it. Elegantly simple, no?
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Re: Esther Mobley tells you how to look like a total newb

#34 Post by blarmston » September 6th, 2019, 4:57 pm

[/quote]

Those who can't take the snark return to their wine blogs and overwhelming sense of self-importance in their safe spaces.
[/quote]

I don’t know you, and I’m sure you’re just a great guy to be around, and that your wife/ kids/neighbors/coworkers/cat all think that you’re a swell dude, but that’s a douche comment.
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Re: Esther Mobley tells you how to look like a total newb

#35 Post by Ben M a n d l e r » September 6th, 2019, 6:45 pm

I think the advice to ask about tasting a grape is a great one, especially for people who aren't yet beyond the pale in their love of wine. Tasting grapes at differing levels of ripeness, seeing the differences in flavor and texture between pulp, skin, and seeds, can really eye-opening for people who haven't done it before (it was for me). Tasting mid-ferment whole berries that haven't yet popped (mmm, fizzy!), or tasting partially fermented wine, can also be lots of fun.
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Re: Esther Mobley tells you how to look like a total newb

#36 Post by Michael Feldman » September 6th, 2019, 8:25 pm

blarmston wrote:
September 6th, 2019, 4:57 pm
Those who can't take the snark return to their wine blogs and overwhelming sense of self-importance in their safe spaces.
[/quote]

I don’t know you, and I’m sure you’re just a great guy to be around, and that your wife/ kids/neighbors/coworkers/cat all think that you’re a swell dude, but that’s a douche comment.
[/quote]

Well as a “newbie” I was not going to reply that way but well said! [highfive.gif]

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Re: Esther Mobley tells you how to look like a total newb

#37 Post by Wes Barton » September 6th, 2019, 10:31 pm

It was kind of tangential snark. Over the years there have been a number of self-important wine bloggers who've come on to various wine forums who couldn't handle constructive criticism or any sort of conversation. Used to pontificating with absolute certainty to other novices, getting corrected on their endless false declarations sent them huffing off. Some people aren't interested in learning. Of course this was back when everyone and their dog had a blog and thought that made them instant experts.

One of my favorite was a guy who just reposted the majority of other peoples' blog posts on his, and responded to the different points in a way only someone with severe reading comprehension issues could. His sold t-shirts for his blog.

------

As far as the topic goes, a sterile checklist of questions is just that. People can just come in to try some wines; they can think about what they're curious about in general about wine, do some research and formulate some good questions; they can look at the websites and other resources to do some research about the specific wineries, and formulate questions from there.

The burden should really be on the staff to allow visitors to feel relaxed, open doors to various questions, inspire questions. Some people just want a pour, others are there to explore, which includes coming across things they couldn't have expected, which may pique an interest and conversation on some tangent or another.
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Re: Esther Mobley tells you how to look like a total newb

#38 Post by Anton D » September 6th, 2019, 10:34 pm

Once someone can feel umbrage over a goofy wine thread reply, that person is no longer a “newb.” That person is a Wine Berserker!

[berserker.gif]
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Re: Esther Mobley tells you how to look like a total newb

#39 Post by D@ve D y r 0 f f » September 7th, 2019, 9:52 am

I have to say that when I first saw the title of the OP and then of the article my reaction, like Nate’s, was that the point must be that pestering the winemaker with a bunch of heavy/detailed questions right during the single busiest and most sleep-deprived time of year is a good way to get pruning shears or a hose inserted into an unwelcoming portion of your anatomy.

Since that wasn’t it, the last thing I’d say those questions make you look like is a newb. In the wrong context, I suppose, they might make you look like you’re showing off, particularly if you are, but in general they seem like fine questions if asked by someone genuinely interested in the answers and of someone at the winery who is in a position to know the answer and who isn’t working 22 hour days at the time. Put another way, they are fine questions to move to the next level of understanding beyond “what percentage of cab and merlot do you use in this blend?”

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Re: Esther Mobley tells you how to look like a total newb

#40 Post by D@ve D y r 0 f f » September 7th, 2019, 10:00 am

Anton D wrote:
September 6th, 2019, 10:48 am
Confession: I pronounce Domaine Leroy “Doe-main Lee-Roy,” like Leeroy Jenkins
I really hope you do this properly and say Doe-main LeeeEEEEeee-ROOOYYYY. [berserker.gif] [berserker.gif]

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Re: Esther Mobley tells you how to look like a total newb

#41 Post by Nate Simon » September 7th, 2019, 11:34 am

I guess the issue I really have with the article is that it is feeding people some talking points without a lot of context. I would say that if someone is truly interested in learning more about wine, the first thing to do would be to read some articles or books about basic winemaking techniques and theory, then take that to the winery and use that to frame questions.

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Re: Esther Mobley tells you how to look like a total newb

#42 Post by Cris Whetstone » September 7th, 2019, 11:51 am

I've been pretty shocked by the reactions to this article and the further doubling down. The way this is posted is more beyond usefulness than the source article is.

It's clearly an article to give people who don't know jack about wine something more interesting and more importantly, on point to ask than whether the wineries whites are sweet or how they get the flavors into the wines. You can quibble with her approach but the author was generally trying to be useful. They may not be all questions I would tell newbs to ask but these are fine. Trying to paint them as laughable or problematic is to take a juvenile attitude about all of it.

The only problematic part I see in it is suggesting that harvest is a great time to go to wine country. Unless all you really want to talk to are tasting room staff.

Congratulate yourself on knowing more than the pleebs who might find the article useful but it's not a good look.
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Re: Esther Mobley tells you how to look like a total newb

#43 Post by Cris Whetstone » September 7th, 2019, 11:53 am

Nate Simon wrote:
September 7th, 2019, 11:34 am
I guess the issue I really have with the article is that it is feeding people some talking points without a lot of context. I would say that if someone is truly interested in learning more about wine, the first thing to do would be to read some articles or books about basic winemaking techniques and theory, then take that to the winery and use that to frame questions.
Studying before a weekend drinking with friends in wine country? Would you force kids study the history of animation before going to Disneyland too?
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Re: Esther Mobley tells you how to look like a total newb

#44 Post by Anton D » September 7th, 2019, 12:23 pm

Cris Whetstone wrote:
September 7th, 2019, 11:53 am

Studying before a weekend drinking with friends in wine country? Would you force kids study the history of animation before going to Disneyland too?
No, certainly not. I would give them a list of 4 or 5 simple questions to memorize and blurt out.

1) Are you really a mermaid?

2) Mickey, why don't you speak? Are you mad at me?

3) How come the fire never burns up the Pirates ride?

4) How do I get the ghost to not follow me home?

5) Why is a Monte Christo sammich 27 dollars?

Bonus: Are we really soaring over California?

Done and done!
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Re: Esther Mobley tells you how to look like a total newb

#45 Post by Nate Simon » September 7th, 2019, 12:53 pm

Cris Whetstone wrote:
September 7th, 2019, 11:53 am
Nate Simon wrote:
September 7th, 2019, 11:34 am
I guess the issue I really have with the article is that it is feeding people some talking points without a lot of context. I would say that if someone is truly interested in learning more about wine, the first thing to do would be to read some articles or books about basic winemaking techniques and theory, then take that to the winery and use that to frame questions.
Studying before a weekend drinking with friends in wine country? Would you force kids study the history of animation before going to Disneyland too?
If someone's just doing some weekend wining, they should do that, and not try to fake erudition. That's fine, nothing wrong with just hitting some wineries.
On the other hand, if someone really wants to learn more about winemaking, they should do some reading first, to have a theoretical foundation. Parroting some questions from an article, without knowing what they really mean, won't be very useful.

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Re: Esther Mobley tells you how to look like a total newb

#46 Post by GregT » September 7th, 2019, 1:10 pm

Your kids will be traumatized for life if they have to memorize questions to ask the Disney people!

But why pretend? That's the problem with the article.

It was a way for the author to show off a little bit, and may contain some information for people who don't know, which is the majority of the planet, but if you are one of those people, it would be absolutely dumb to ask those questions without any idea of what the answers might mean. You'd be set up as a doof.

“Do you make your rosé by direct press, or saignee?” Answer - "Neither. We blend." Questioner's response - blank look. Or what if the answer was "Saignee"? Questioner's response - "Oh."

Why not just ask how they make their rosé and learn something?

“Are you doing any whole cluster this year?” Answers - "No". Questioner's response - "Oh."

Then what? How is a yes or no supposed to help the questioner if the questioner has no idea what the whole point is? I know jack about whole cluster. Every time I think I find it I'm wrong. Last weekend I was asking a wine maker about it and he told me something I'd never heard before. The most uncomfortable thing I could have done was to pretend that I knew what I was talking about when it was his field, not mine.

If someone is a total newbie it's unfair to set them up with questions like these. Natural curiosity is all anyone needs. In general, people like to talk about their work and I've never met a winemaker who was unwilling to talk about it. But you can spot pretense and phonies pretty quickly and advising someone to act like a phony is to me, bad advice. She should have just told people to ask questions to which they don't know the answers.

And that's not being snarky.
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Re: Esther Mobley tells you how to look like a total newb

#47 Post by Brian G r a f s t r o m » September 7th, 2019, 1:41 pm

Cris Whetstone wrote:
September 7th, 2019, 11:51 am
...

The only problematic part I see in it is suggesting that harvest is a great time to go to wine country...
Pretty much a +1 from me. Harvest is the worst time to visit, imo.

I do think the questions suggested are pretty stupid, but whatever ... they're also harmless. The suggestion to taste a grape is an interesting one.

I strongly agree with everyone who has suggested just being comfortable, relaxed, honest, and humble. Wine is one of those topics where Faking It is going to go very bad very quickly, so just don't do it.
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Re: Esther Mobley tells you how to look like a total newb

#48 Post by David Glasser » September 8th, 2019, 10:55 am

GregT wrote:
September 7th, 2019, 1:10 pm
Your kids will be traumatized for life if they have to memorize questions to ask the Disney people!

But why pretend? That's the problem with the article.

It was a way for the author to show off a little bit, and may contain some information for people who don't know, which is the majority of the planet, but if you are one of those people, it would be absolutely dumb to ask those questions without any idea of what the answers might mean. You'd be set up as a doof.

“Do you make your rosé by direct press, or saignee?” Answer - "Neither. We blend." Questioner's response - blank look. Or what if the answer was "Saignee"? Questioner's response - "Oh."

Why not just ask how they make their rosé and learn something?

“Are you doing any whole cluster this year?” Answers - "No". Questioner's response - "Oh."

Then what? How is a yes or no supposed to help the questioner if the questioner has no idea what the whole point is? I know jack about whole cluster. Every time I think I find it I'm wrong. Last weekend I was asking a wine maker about it and he told me something I'd never heard before. The most uncomfortable thing I could have done was to pretend that I knew what I was talking about when it was his field, not mine.

If someone is a total newbie it's unfair to set them up with questions like these. Natural curiosity is all anyone needs. In general, people like to talk about their work and I've never met a winemaker who was unwilling to talk about it. But you can spot pretense and phonies pretty quickly and advising someone to act like a phony is to me, bad advice. She should have just told people to ask questions to which they don't know the answers.

And that's not being snarky.
The article included a short paragraph or two after each question that I thought added enough context to allow for a follow-up response that could start a conversation. If the winery staffer doesn’t have the time, knowledge, or interest in educating a visitor expressing interest, that’s hardly on the visitor. Except the part about visiting during harvest. Not when I’d advise someone to go.

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