The first time I used the expression “wine geek” to describe a persnickety wine scribe at a winery-hosted luncheon, in 1983, my colleagues laughed.
The words just came out of my mouth (and fit this guy’s personality perfectly).
I’d never used the words before. None of us had ever heard the phrase, so for us it was a first.
What is a wine geek? Well, I’m having dinner with one tonight.
But unlike the writer I referred to earlier, this self-described geek is a friendly one.
She’s 40ish, relatively new to the high-stakes game of trophy wine chasing. But she’s obviously enjoying every minute of it and getting good at buying and drinking great wines as she fine-tunes her palate.
When she called the other day to see if I was in town, she mentioned that she had a full slate of winery visits in Napa and Sonoma over the Labor Day weekend.
She asked me what she should bring for her tour.
“A purse full of cash,” I said.
Today she has visited Spring Mountain and Pride Mountain Vineyard. Friday she’s in Stags Leap, at Shafer for a Hillside Select tasting. Then stops at Kosta Browne, Pax, Adulessa and wherever her whims lead her.
Oh yes, and a couple of specialty wine shops, too, the kinds that carry those small, harder-to-find labels.
Hope she’s got a big van.
She sent me a copy of her inventory of her growing cellar. I noticed Beaux Frères, Carter and Almaviva. More than a dozen cases, with more on the way.
So my friend is off and running, having really started to enjoy the nuances and excitement of great wines earlier this year. Now she’s going full-speed ahead.
Wine geeks. Gotta love ‘em -- most of the time.
The eyes-wide-open passion and enthusiasm for their discoveries about the wine world is invigorating.
But there are times when wine geeks can annoy their friends, swirling their glass of orange juice or water, dropping names, discussing minutiae and engaging in wine one-upsmanship.
How do you define a wine geek? And do you consider yourself one?