7 Habits of annoying wine people

From waiters who automatically hand the wine list to the man at the table to crazy corkage fees, readers share their pet peeves—and what they do about them.

TWO MONTHS AGO I wrote a column detailing the actions and habits of wine drinkers that I found most annoying or over-the-top. The list clearly resonated with readers, who wrote in not only to express agreement but to name a few of their own gripes as well. The following are the seven reader wine peeves I thought deserved wider discussion in a column of their own.

1. Bait-and-switch bottles

How many times have you picked up a bottle that, according to the store’s card, critics have rated 95 out of 100 points only to find that it’s not the actual wine they were rating? I’ve encountered this disconnect in more wine shops than I care to count (or to name), and this was one of the most common complaints I received from readers.

When this discrepancy occurs, the high score and praise on the “shelf talker” frequently belong to a wine’s previous vintage. While the difference might be “just” a year or two, that little gap can have fairly great consequences. All it takes is some bad weather (heat, hail or frost) to turn a promising vintage into a dud.

It may be the fault of a store clerk who didn’t take care to display an up-to-date review, or a purposeful deception on the part of a store manager who knows that the new vintage isn’t quite as good as the old. And when a retailer regularly attaches the wrong reviews to wines, I wonder if he or she might be deceptive in other ways, too.

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