The SOMM Journal

June / July 2018

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Page 16 of 132

16 { THE SOMM JOURNAL } JUNE/JULY 2018 { one woman's view } Karen MacNeil is the author of The Wine Bible and the editor of the free digital newsletter WineSpeed. HERE'S WHAT FINALLY DID IT: A short man shoved his potbelly into the small of my back as I stood in front of a table, tasting a producer's wines and writing my notes. I tried not to notice. Could it have been unintentional? It wasn't a crowded tasting. I kept writ - ing, but a few seconds later, he came even closer. I moved to the next table. This is probably not an experience any man in the trade encounters at a wine tasting, but I bet every woman reading this knows what I'm describing. For decades, I've gone to tastings and just ignored times when men stepped in front of me, pushed me to the side, interrupted my question, or worse. But about a month ago, at a tasting of a famous importer, I felt I could no longer remain silent. At that tasting, I did something I've now been doing for several years: watching how much wine women are poured compared to how much men receive. In my experience, when the pourer is a man, women are often given a smaller amount than men, especially if the wine is expensive or rare. But, in this case—as in many others—it wasn't just the pours. I approached a table where the producer, from Burgundy, was stationed. In front of him stood two large men, each with their feet four feet apar t so that they effectively took up the entire front of the table. I stood to the side, just close enough to be noticed, and waited. Hoping to signal him, I looked directly at the producer and lifted my glass a bit. It didn't matter. The three men continued to laugh loudly and jest, and the pair in front on the table, aware of me now, didn't even budge. Instead, they began to take up even more space, spreading their stanc - es wider while holding their arms and glasses outward. They weren't taking notes, and to me the conversation seemed long on bluster and short on brain power. I carefully took a small step forward and squeezed close to the table, asking the producer if I might taste his village wine. A long second passed. The largest man gently pushed his thigh into me and noncha - lantly elbowed me aside. The producer continued to guffaw with the two men. I stared at him, wrote several words in my notebook, turned, and walked away. "Wait," he called after me. "Don't you want to taste my wine?" I doubt I ever will. There's an etiquette to a wine tasting—an etiquette we all know. It's about respect. One doesn't hog a table or monopolize a producer. One doesn't shove others aside or thrust one's glass in front of everyone else's. One doesn't plant oneself in front of a table so that no one else can approach. And one doesn't stick their belly, elbow, or thigh into the women around them. For another tasting perspective, read Melody Fuller's column on page 26. Why I Hate Wine Tastings PHOTO BY EGOKHAN VIA ADOBE STOCK (HINT: IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE WINE)

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