This fellow, the host is a very nice man, but unsure of himself.


I get to hear: “Listen, we like both your wines . . . ” ” . . . thank you for letting us try your reds . . . ” ” . . . we buy only white Cabernet Sauvignons.”
I think to myself “Idiot. Cabernet Sauvignons are usually red!” However, I say, “That’s great! No problem!”

On a busy night a new waitress calls me over to help her with a table of four. I greet them and ask “How can I be of service?”
The host has many questions related to our wine list and I spend at least ten minutes explaining wines to him. The way he talks, lets me believe that he has at his home the double garage filled with red wines. He seems to collect red wines, specializing in Cabernet Sauvignons.
Listening to the gentleman, he tries to impress me with his knowledge for Cabernets which he collects by price, not vintage, not vineyard but just by price tag. He says he has wines from any vineyard known in the United States, accumulated in the past fifteen years.
My gut feeling is: This fellow, the host is a very nice man,but unsure of himself. He is trying to show off in front of his guest. That’s fine with me. By his words there is not much he has not tried in the line of Cabernet Sauvignons. The two lowest priced local red wines, on our wine-list, appeal to him. He asks for my expertise to make his choice. I know both wines in question. Both are good and worth the asking price. I know we have both wines open. They are part of our wines by the glass selection. I excuse myself and bring them a sip of the J.Lohr Cabernet and a sip of the Estancia Cabernet.
I want the host to try both wines, side by side, to make his own choice. I notice both the host and his wife are impressed, both decide to taste the two wines in question. I watch the host looking at the wine. His long nose hovers over the glass’ rim smelling the aromas developing inside. I see him swirling the wine in the glass to check the color. He takes another nose full of the enriched flavor before he has a sip and his wife is doing likewise copying every move he does. I cannot spend more time with this table. Food is waiting for me in the kitchen to be picked up.

I need to take care of my own station. I tell the waitress what I did and ask her to go back to her table, in a few minutes, to find out which one of the two Cabernet Sauvignons they would like to have. She is happy and I am busy doing my job, attending to my customers. I try to catch up with my own routine. Food has to be served at two tables. The order needs to be taken at another one. Plates are to be cleared at one table and desserts to be explained. I am at the Espresso machine, making cappuccino’s, as the same waitress, catches up with me. Before she can say a word, I inquire: “Which wine did your people order?”
She answers “They are still undecided!”
I give the guest-check and guest-book to one of my tables and see the Cabernet-tasting-four-top’s host waving for his server. She is opening a wine bottle at another table, standing with her back to him. I go and check with him about his needs and get to hear: “Listen, we like both your wines . . . ” ” . . . thank you for letting us try your reds . . . ” ” . . . we always buy the white Cabernet Sauvignons.”
I think to myself “Idiot. Cabernet Sauvignons are usually red!” However, I say: “That’s great! No problem! I have just the right wine for you!” I get the lowest priced bottle of Fume Blanc, give it to the waitress, who has time now, and say: “Show him the fine print on the label, especially where it says dry Sauvignon blanc. Tell him that’s my best recommendation and don’t forget to mention to him that it’s bargain priced for under twenty dollars a bottle.”
I get another new table, a demanding eight-top, and I forget about the waitress’ four-top. At the end of the night she tells me that these four people had been very impressed by the advice and service. And that they had been dipping extra deep into their pockets. She hands me ten bucks, an unexpected side-tip for my help.

by helmut schonwalder