Wine Dine Crime

| Working | November 9, 2014

(I’ve been a qualified sommelier for about 10 years and have been working in hospitality for 20. I’m visiting my family in New Zealand and decide to pop into a well regarded new wine bar one evening before dinner. I’m sitting at the bar, looking at the list.)

Me: “I’ve never seen [Very Rare Wine] on a wine list before! I was under the impression there were only three bottles left in the world and they were all privately owned.”

Bartender: *whispering* “Don’t get it!”

Me: “Uh…sorry?”

Bartender: *whispering* “Don’t bother mate. It’s not real.”

(I can’t work out why he’s whispering because I’m the only one inside.)

Me: “What do you mean it’s not real?”

Bartender: “The owner, she thinks it looks good to have something like that on the menu. So she just got labels made to put over other bottles of wine. Now I have to put up with people asking how we got our hands on a whole case of them! What am I supposed to say, huh? And she actually expects me to sell them. Like no one will notice it’s a $10 bottle of plonk!”

(The ‘relabeled’ wine is in the thousands. I stick to a nice local red and when I’m leaving I hand him my card.)

Me: “If you’re ever moving to Australia and need a job give me a call. Frankness and honesty are quite rare and you seem to have both qualities.”

Bartender: “Wow, I’m so glad I told you. Sometimes I can’t be bothered, deterring customers. Have a good evening!”

(He now works for me in Melbourne.)

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