7 People You Don’t Want to Be at a Wine Festival

by Laurie on September 9, 2016

Fall festival season is in full swing and chances are there is a wine festival or trade wine tasting in your future. I’ve been going to and speaking at wine festivals all over winecoach_RGB_for_web_hi_resthe country for years. In fact next week I will be at the Hershey Wine & Food Festival and then at Euphoria Greenville the week after. Over the years, I’ve noticed 7 distinct alter egos that can overtake us at these events and I can no longer be silent. Listen, I’m not perfect and I am sure I’ve been guilty of one or more of these but I want to save you the same fate. Take a look and see if any of this sounds familiar.


Do you stick your wine glass out at the wine tasting table and yell “RED” or “WHITE”? Then you might be a colorist, aka a wine drinker that professes to drink only red or only white. Why in the world would you want to limit your choices to just one color? Don’t forget pink—I love dry Rosé. But I digress. I know you probably feel convicted about your ban on other wine colors but studies show that without the visual aspect of the wine’s color you might not even realize whether you are drinking red or white. Consider this; a French study by Gil Morot at the National Institute for Agronomic Research in Montpellier concluded that our perceptions of wine and its flavors or aromas are prejudiced by its color.  It turns out our brains are prone to unconscious synesthesia where our senses become confused.  In this study, participants tasted a white wine and described melons, honey and citrus.  The same wine was then colored red and participants perceived things like berries, leather and tar, which are common aromas in red wine. So give up the ban on whites, reds or pink wines. Instead go to your next wine tasting with an open mind and an empty glass.

Overzealous Cork Dork (OCD)

OK, you’ve been studying wine, collecting a little and maybe even took a wine certification class. I get it, you are REALLY into wine! That’s awesome but when you and your 100 closest friends are waiting in line at a wine tasting table, that is not the time to wax poetic about your theory on the effects of micro-oxygenation or how you prefer the terroir of a French Burgundy over a California Pinot. Do you see the long line forming behind you? Please do take an interest in the wines being poured but be considerate of others waiting their turn. If you want to correspond with the winery in more detail, get their business card or take a picture of the wine bottle so you can follow up.


The Camper is a lot like the OCD but they don’t really care to talk much about the wines. The Camper just wants to taste every single last solitary wine at the table. They also create long lines of pissed off people but are oblivious to that fact. Maybe they are too young to remember the gas lines of the 1970s or maybe they are just really inconsiderate. Either way, if you encounter a Camper, reverse the order of wine tables you’re visiting to get as far away from this person as possible. Of course you might see them later in the day. They’ll be easy to spot because tasting every wine at a festival is a recipe for a train wreck. I learned this lesson the hard way, so here’s a word of wisdom to help you avoid the same mistake. At each tasting or festival pick a priority – for example, “Today I will taste bubblies and tomorrow I’ll focus on crisp whites.” Without having a plan like this, you will live to regret it. Whatever your strategy, though, drink plenty of water and remember that this is a marathon.

Gadget Crazy

Nerds used to be known for button down shirts with pocket protectors. Wine geeks prefer wine themed t-shirts with a wine glass necklace.  A wine glass necklace is a handy invention to keep your glass out of harm’s way in between tastings. PLEASE remove the glass from the holder when you want a tasting pour! Yes, we love your wine glass holding plate, travel wine aerator and nifty wine chilling sleeve, too. Just like in fashion, though, a little goes a long way. If you are sporting more than 2 wine accessories you just might be gadget crazy.

Money Hungry

Can I taste the most expensive wine you have? This is the most ridiculous question I’ve heard at a wine festival or trade tasting. First off, at many festivals you won’t see high end wines and, even if they are there, that question won’t score you a taste. If you actually take an interest in the winery’s offerings and they enjoy the conversation, you might get to taste something they are keeping under the table. Secondly, price is not the only determination of quality and if that is what you base your wine choices on, then you will be sadly disappointed. In fact, a 2008 study that is outlined in Robin Goldstein’s book The Wine Trials found that the majority of the 6000 people in the study enjoyed the more expensive wines LESS! Try asking which wine the winery is known for or tell them what you normally enjoy so they can suggest something you will probably like.


At no point ever are you allowed to grab a bottle off the wine table and pour yourself and your friends a taste! In the same vein, you are never allowed to walk away from a table with a bottle of wine unless instructed to do so by the winery staff. Just because the person working that table had to take a quick bathroom break (with no backup) does not give you the right to steal the wine. Please understand that a ticket to a tasting or festival does not give you license to unlimited wine.  Same goes for decorations, props and wine books on the table.


I know you expected more wines to taste or more expensive wines or there just aren’t enough Chardonnays for you. The complainer will find a way to suck the fun out of this amazing tasting by pointing out all the things they feel are wrong. If this is a trade tasting, be thankful for the opportunity to taste many wines under one roof. You are an invited guest so please act accordingly. However, if you paid to be at a festival and your grievances are real, by all means take it up with the ticket office. Understand, though, that the festival is there to showcase wines of all different types and wineries, not just the one style that you happen to love. One of the advantages of these experiences is that you can find new wines to enjoy. Remember, if you can’t pronounce it, you should be drinking it! So think outside your normal Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay or Cabernet and try tasting only varieties or types of wine you have never heard of.  You will be rewarded with a whole new list of wines that you love!

What do you think? Have I forgotten any alter egos? Scroll all the way to the bottom of the page to leave your Comments below…

I’d love to hear your best glasshole stories!!

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

cindy September 10, 2016 at 12:44 pm

these are great! [as a pourer for Md wines] my favorites are the “glass of rose” [sorry, no flowers here]; or, the too short lancers and they bend over; you step up to pour wine in their glass. Not to mention the ones on cell phones holding their glass out. You’ve hit them all! on the head….or, I explained everything I knew regarding a dessert wine; e.g. it is to be sipped; the guy proceeds to gulp the whole thing down. another funny; the glass broke and they tried to use duck tape to put it together-looked like the leaning tower of glsss. And, why are we using stemless when the whole point of the stem is to keep ‘heat’ away from the wine? I stumped Kevin [Atticks] with that one….drink up ! ps try Catoctin, Big Cork and homestead; Thurmont

cindy September 10, 2016 at 12:47 pm

pss one of my favorites is Whiter merlot [re: color] Solomons has a nice one

Lisa September 10, 2016 at 2:39 pm

great article! I think you may want another category for the “W(h)iner” (or re-name “complainer” lol!

Laurie September 12, 2016 at 11:20 am

W(h)iner good one! Thanks for commenting…share with friends!

Laurie September 12, 2016 at 11:20 am

I want a whiter Merlot…that is funny too!

Laurie September 12, 2016 at 11:22 am

Yes downing the wine like a shot and duct tape on glass…WOW you see it all! Thanks for the recos…willdo!

Kelly September 12, 2016 at 5:49 pm

Don’t forget the Over-Served Aggressive type… nothing worse than a complete drunkard at a wine festival. Pace yourself, eat, drink plenty of water and for heaven’s sake don’t be afraid to dump and spit.

Laurie September 12, 2016 at 6:04 pm

Yes that is an ugly look…sometimes you just gotta spit! Its a marathon…no a sprint–hard lesson:)

Chris September 12, 2016 at 7:46 pm

The Boomerang – isn’t this the third time you have been to my table? Yes! Thank you! I’m glad that we are one of your favorite wineries, but…

The Groupie – It’s always fun to meet fans, but when said fan asks “which wine I would most like to pour over here naked body” I often defer to my wife and let her explain my preferences.

The Whisperer – we only have a few minutes for me to leave an impression on you and share what sets our wines apart from 400 other wineries, and it’s noisy in here, and I can’t hear a single word you said, and I’m trying to engage, but… WTF? Maybe I’ll talk to your wife instead.

Laurie September 13, 2016 at 9:12 am

OMG Chris these are AMAZING…especially love the Boomerang who could potentially become a groupie after enough times!

Wayne September 13, 2016 at 3:06 pm

Then there is always the camper who insists on standing there holding up the line while in a loud voice, going on and on about all they (think) they know about wine while to everyone else it is obvious they don’t know wine from vinegar

Laurie September 15, 2016 at 4:20 pm

Very Funny Wayne…thanks for sharing!

Ann Bartholomew September 18, 2016 at 8:39 am

I haven’t been to Grapefest (here in Grapevine, TX), for years, because it’s usually too hot to enjoy the wines and they’re not treated properly for an outdoor festival – the reds are *way* too warm (was that a Tempranillo you just poured, or a Cabernet Sauvignon)? And attending the People’s Choice tastings – you deal with the OCD, the camper, and at the end of the lines (2 rows of tables inside a tent with 2 lines per table) are the people who stand and talk like they’re @ Happy Hour for a regular bar: ‘Oh, have you been to ________ (new restaurant that just opened), their menu is sublime, but I didn’t care for the X.’ Or ‘have you seen Y (new movie that just came out), and if you did, let’s discuss plot points. It’s a wine-tasting, people!

Laurie September 20, 2016 at 9:20 am

So funny Ann…I love that town of Grapevine and hope to do my wine comedy there someday!! When its not too hot:)

Kate September 29, 2016 at 11:30 am

When I am hosting the “tasting table” on weekends, all on the list applies. In addition, “I want to taste the sweetest wine” (usually have fruit forward offerings but not “sweet”), “I want to try wines for the ladies” (older gentlemen asking); my reply, “all these wines are for the ladies. Never a dull moment!

Laurie September 29, 2016 at 1:35 pm

Kate kudos to you for letting them know all wine is for LADIES! Yes it is never boring at a wine festival table:)

W. B. MOORE October 4, 2016 at 10:31 am

Thanks for keeping true and funny with food-related (edibles and potables) cartoons.
Charlotte, NC

Laurie October 10, 2016 at 11:43 am

Of course Bill…thanks for the feedback!

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