What’s Worse…Faking Wine Knowledge or Faking Orgasms?
The Daily Mail in the UK reports on a survey that shows “Two Thirds of British Drinkers Admit They Know Nothing About Choosing Wine, So They Pretend Instead”.
The survey showing Brits are largely wine illiterate fakers was taken by the venerable Wine & Spirits Educational Trust, which, if you ask me, is kind of ironic. Be that as it may, it’s not surprising that so few people have much of an education in wine. Why would most folks need one? The vast majority of people in the world interact with wine in this way: “I’ll have a beer”. Still, the same survey seems to indicate that 2/3 of Brits (and probably not a much different percentage of Americans) actually FAKE having knowledge of wine. Keep in mind, this is considerably higher than the number of women who say they fake their orgasms.
According to the survey, the most common method of “faking” wine knowledge is by ordering the second least expensive wine on the menu. But that’s not interesting. What’s interesting to ponder is WHY anyone would feel a need to fake knowledge of wine? The Daily Mail suggests the reason why is found in part in this bit of information: “nearly one in six women said that they considered knowledge about wine to be an attractive trait in a potential partner.”
This proclivity to fake one’s level of wine knowledge does not strike me as a problem for the wine industry. The fact that so many folks are willing to try to fake wine knowledge probably bodes well for the wine trade. No, this issue of faking is more a sign of the intense desire among most people not to appear uninformed. But, who could possibly make a case that it is essential they need to be informed about wine and so essential that they will fake such knowledge? I don’t get it.
If the wine industry in the U.S. or in the UK decided they really did need to do something about this apparent fear of embarrassment connected to wine by their customers, then I would suggest a public relations and advertising campaign focused around six words: CAN – YOU – RECOMMEND – A – WINE – PLEASE ?
I say put the onus on the server to demonstrate or fake their wine knowledge, not the consumer or diner. By asking this simple question, what will come in return is either service (“Why yes, I can recommend a wine”), insincerity (Uh…yeah…um…sure, I can recommend this one here.”) or consolation (“I really don’t know much about wine, but I’ve had this one and liked it.”). Either way, the person asking the question wins because they get their wine and don’t have to fake a thing, nor look stupid or uninformed (hint, it’s the “please” that make this phrase work).
And here’s the real problem, if you try to fake your way through choosing a wine to impress someone, that someone is going to expect you to demonstrate your wine prowess again some time, particularly if it’s a date you are hoping to impress. And the results of those expectations are unlikely to be pretty.