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Food & Drink

Do’s and Don’ts Of Cellar Door Etiquette

Tash Stoodley
Images: Naomi Giatas

How to (and not to) behave badly when visiting your favourite cellar door.

They say you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. I disagree. Meet me in town after a few cordials and guaranteed you’ll get your second chance. Most people, however, do remember their first encounters, so here’s how to put your best foot forward when visiting cellar doors.

Confidence is key. Whatever you do, do it with conviction. Saunter into the room with an air of, ‘Don’t you know who I am?’. If you can’t project that level of assurance, aim for ‘Don’t you know who I’m friends with?’. Push past others waiting to be served, and stride boldly to the tasting area. Staff will quickly realise you are worthy of their instant and undivided attention. Game over, plebs.

You’ve nailed the first impression, why stop now? Rhi Rhi tells us to shine bright like a diamond, and shine you should. You’re no wallflower! Speaking of flowers, with all the lovely wine aromas in the air, you don’t want to be overshadowed. Reapply your perfume. For maximum nostril reach, select the most crowded location, usually the tasting area. Your scent will linger for days, overpowering the wines and the people trying to appreciate them. What a great way to leave a lasting impression.

Tash Stoodley Wine Etiquette

By now you can expect stares from people who want to sleep with you, marry you, or be you. You have a moral responsibility to share your wisdom. As you continue tasting, provide a verbal commentary of your opinions. Always stick to grape varieties you know. Don’t try anything new, that’s an absolute waste of your time. If it ain’t broke, why fix it? There’s no need to find your new favourite thing when you’re perfectly happy with what you already have.

If you taste a wine you don’t like, you are obliged to tell everyone within earshot so they don’t waste time making their own decisions based on personal preferences. Bollocks to that! Tell the staff so they can throw the bottle in the bin and initiate a nationwide product recall.

Moral commitments fulfilled, you can now relax and enjoy the rest of your tasting, temporarily forgetting your responsibilities. In particular, small children. Allow them to roam freely among sharp edges and power points, leaving sticky fingerprints on wine displays and artwork. Staff should be grateful for the reminder to review their birth control methods. Especially as they work overtime to remove your little munchkins’ residue.

No kids? No problem. You have your own sticky fingers. Shove any trinket you can reach into your pocket, bag or bra. You’re basically doing them a favour: you’ll be telling everyone which tasting room you stole from for years to come. You can’t buy that kind of PR.

Really though, it’s probably easier if you forget everything you’ve read and remember this one simple thing: Don’t be a dick.

Smiley Fritz

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