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A personal tale of hospitality and self-confidence when wining out

Something I have noticed from this blog is how much love and prefer me talking about my personal experiences in wine, diningResolutionsaccessible, and hospitality. One of our New Year Resolutions was to make the blog more accessible and have more of these stories. Well, this weekend was one to be remembered but also presented the opportunity to start these new wine blog experiences.


So I will catch up with you soon about my whirlwind weekend in the Raleigh area to host a wonderful private wine tasting for 30 people.


In the meantime, I will leave you with a TED TALK about the most uncomfortable situation I have been through in an establishment.


 After a hectic day Saturday, I decided to stop at this Champagne bar on my way home. I was so pleased with the aesthetic as it is my whole vibe. Beautiful midcentury decor but the most pleasant surprise was the wine list. A beautiful wine program! I am tagging fellow wine people or educators and any of you who wish to chime in on the TCA issue, what I am about to narrate, and how you would've reacted.


 So I settled for a Nebbiolo Sparkling Rose.


 The first thing I do is of course smell. It smelled like wet cardboard, usually an indication of TCA or that wine is faulted. I know sometimes this can be just a perceived aroma so I just went to taste it. I tasted it 3 times. That wine was totally flawed. I debated what to do as I do not like to cause fuzz.


Nevertheless, I really wanted to enjoy a nice glass of bubbles. Mind you, I went by myself and sat down alone in the corner of the bar. Perhaps the only person looking like me in the room (hope you know what I am referring to). Going out alone is always odd as service is always bad and they treat you like second class. Yet, I am used to it.


I reached the bar lady (now I am thinking perhaps manager as she never introduced herself) and the first thing she told me when I mentioned it was the following: "Well, that is the most expensive wine glass on the list." I never asked for a freebie... i had asked simply to order something else.


She did not ask what was wrong with it. I volunteered the information and she went to "race-plaining" (yes, this was all about looks and perceptions) that "sparkling wines do not get corked like red wines do". I could tell right away there was just a miscommunication or labeling of the concept. She then asked me if I had drunk before "brut nature".


If I am ordering such a specific wine... brut nature Nebbiolo rose must be perhaps because I know something about wine. I answered I had plenty and it is one of my favorite styles.

 She went on to debate with me that this musky, wet cardboard taste was the way the wine tasted. Mind you, I had googled before the wine and nothing of this came in the tasting notes of the winemaker. She went then to offer me a sip of a Beaujolais Cremant that it was delish, but not what I wanted, to show me an alternative. At this point, I am questioning myself but also feeling out of place in the space.


I never mentioned what I do for a living. No certifications, titles or profile. I only mentioned that I was a wine lover and I am familiar with certain wines. I am not one of those to flaunt what I do or my titles and such.


Once I saw the bottle, I noticed it was a 2019 vintage. My best guess here is that a Rosato Nebbiolo Brut Nature is not a best seller and that came from a distributor warehouse not properly stored therefore the cork was damage.


I debated what to do and sat down there trying to muster that faulty wine. In the end, I decided to take my check and leave. I was calculating the tip in my phone even when the same person approached me and said: "We are in a no tip necessary place as stated on the menu".


 I have read the menu. I knew it. Another assumption of me not reading it. I still felt like tipping as even when she was unsufferable, the person who helped me and served me was truly trying to be helpful and I would never short-tip anyone. I like their concept of gratitude no needed as everyone has a nice livable wage which makes the tipping part even more pleasant.



Here is what to take from this experience:


1. TCA (cork taint) does happen in sparkling wines. Note this good article about it: https://vinepair.com/articles/can-champagne-be-corked/


  2. Never doubt yourself- Here is what I did wrong: conforming and not debating even when she was so willingly debating. Mind you, the name of the place is Rest Bitch Face so I truly thought perhaps all this was part of the business model. I should've asserted my place and with confidence not letting someone pass judgment on me and what I know I am based on the way I looked and sounded. I should've used the space to educate and not just retreat for fear to validate the already unfortunate prevalent stereotype of loud, obnoxious, and dominant Latin women. If I would've been white, then I would've been called a Karen. This is just prevalent no matter what. I tried to reach them via social media to get to talk to someone more in detail but nobody has reached out


3. After having my own wine bar for 10 years I NEVER argued with a guest. This is why this is HOSPITALITY. I gracefully just offered something else and call it a night. If it was something truly outrageous I would use the space to educate.


4. If you are in hospitality, NEVER PASS JUDGEMENT based on color, accent, ethnicity, gender or any other matter. We are all paying guests wanting to support your business. Hear your guest out. Be kind.


Sadly a damp ending note to my trip which was so rich and full. I won't let it put me down and I still celebrate the space for such a beautiful aesthetically designed venue along with one of the best wine programs I have seen in that part of the world while supporting women in wine.


I will keep you posted if somebody ever reaches out to me.


Cheers my friends to empowerment and to the beauty of wine!

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