July 29, 2013

Conversations About … snobs

…… why wine snobs should be very, very ashamed


Yesterday, I was reminded of one of the darker sides of an industry that is usually a pleasure to work in.  There are some things that really get me narked.  For instance, don’t ever get me started on obnoxious people who drive SUVs and 4x4s without due care in the city, particularly around school zones.  Yesterday, I was happy going on my way, picking up a sim for my new phone when the very helpful gentleman asked me about Wine Muse. He then went on to tell me about a person who had come in the day before and I wanted to hang my head.

According to him, this person was studying wine at the ‘highest level’ and was the very pinnacle, a veritable font, of knowledge about wine. When they asked him what he enjoyed, he told this person that his favourite wine was Yellowglen. To which this person apparently sneered and made him feel pretty ashamed of his choice of wine.

I promptly told him that Yellowglen makes plenty of interesting wine and he should continue to enjoy it.  And also left him with some other interesting wine suggestions that he might also enjoy. (No, I am not in sales, but I do love talking wine!)

Was this person from within the industry? I can only assume so, if they were studying at the ‘highest level’.  Did this person feel their superior knowledge gave them the superior right to make this wine drinker feel so embarrassed about his choices? What did this achieve in the end? A nice warm feeling of cleverness and supremacy for one and doubt, confusion and shame for the other.  Worse, did this snob who was in a position to educate and encourage, curb a fledgling interest in learning more about wine with one crushing, invidious blow?

This was a stranger.  One who was trying to strike up conversation while providing a service. Not a mate who can take a little gentle ribbing!

Luckily, I only occasionally meet these knobs. Knobs who I sometimes get coming to a course where they proudly boast, ‘I only drink wine over $30/$40/$50, there is nothing worth drinking under that!!!’ Like a fashion snob, anybody who makes another person feel belittled because of the ‘turn of their label’ is just mean, and definitely not classy in any way.  Even more so, if that prig actually works in the industry.

And so, my advice to all would be or could be wine snobs is….

‘Leave your wine snobbery at your front door as you leave in the morning.  You can always reclaim it on the way back in if it makes you feel better about yourself.’


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  1. Linda McIntosh

    Love this little piece! It’s always good to know we have kindred wine spirits out there who believe wine should be accessible, approachable and enjoyed by all! When this community becomes so elitist and pretentious (as it so often does) it really makes me sad. Yay to being nice I say!

  2. Lisa Johnston

    Hi Linda.
    Thank you for reading and taking the time to leave a comment. I can still remember that day that I wrote this piece and it is unfortunate but I have met many more ‘knobs’. Happily though, there is more and more lovely people who believe in kindness, like you, out there and I meet even more of them. I hope that you continue to enjoy whatever is in your glass, whatever it may be. – Lisa 😉

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