The Grapevine

Help Your Wine Shop Customers not be Wine Snobs

May 16th, 2018

Wine snobs are insufferable. The trick to teaching people how not to be wine snobs is to not teach them at all. [level-members]

As I read this humorous take on wine snobbery – and learning to become a wine snob – I realized how little time most of us devote to educating our wine shop customers about the subtleties of wine.

The problem isn’t in the snobbery, it’s often in the “teaching.” If you offer to teach someone about something, you’re immediately telling them they don’t know enough. Most people don’t want to hear that, even if they know it to be true.

If instead you share your experiences and offer guidance on where to look so your “students” can arrive at their own conclusions, they’ll not only walk away with more knowledge than they had, they’ll walk away with the confidence to continue to trust their own judgement.

Confidence can be a precursor to overbearing snobbery, but it more frequently leads to the kind of relaxed approach that yields knowledgeable enthusiasts who can do without the pretense. Of course, getting them to realize that not everyone shares their enthusiasm is another story entirely …