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Feeling Guilty for Free Wine

Dear Good Somm Bad Somm,

My non-industry friends actually pay for their wine.  It makes me feel guilty when they post something on Social Media they actually purchased.

Yours Truly,
Feeling Guilty for Free Wine

GOOD SOMM

Dear Feeling Guilty for Free Wine,
The fact that you see your friends paying full price for wine and posting it to their Instagram is an amazing thing!!!  From a business perspective, it shows great economic health, as wine is a luxury item. 

And typically, when a person shops, there is no doubt that they will pay full price for items that are high quality.  Think about diamonds, perfume, cosmetics or a new car.  Highest quality items are always the first to go and paid in full price.  In addition, wine, after all, is a bit like a commodity, it holds its value and can appreciate over time.

Just as you run your wine program, it's all about profit maximization and the business side of things.  When we as sommeliers are allowed to buy wine at cost or given wine as a gift, that is a benefit that we receive for selling the wines.  Don’t feel guilty about that.  You and I have worked long, hard hours at the restaurant sacrificing our nights and our weekends to be ambassadors of fermented grape juice.  At the end of the day, it's great news that the general public is willing to purchase wine at full price.  It’s a great thing for all of us until the well dries up.  But I’m positive that with great people like you in the industry who care, our business is on the rise.  And a rising tide lifts all boats.

Sincerely,
Good Somm

BAD SOMM

Dear Feeling Guilty for Free Wine,
Please don't feel sorry for your friends that have to pay full price for wine.  You should be envious of them because they can actually afford to buy wine!  Wine ain't cheap.  Good wine, anyway.  At least they have a job that allows them a few luxuries and are supporting our industry!

Also, at least they don't have to run around some dinning room all-night playing Servant to people hoping to steal a sip or two of some Bordeaux they sold, then put it on Instagram as if they drank the whole damn bottle...  Your friends actually DID drink the whole damn bottle!  And they probably feel sorry for you that you work in a restaurant.  Who should pity whom?  You're the one going home drunk every night, sleeping off your hangover until 2PM the next day and then staggering back into work the night to count inventory and do ordering with your teeth stained all purple.

If the business were dependent on Somms like you and I to support it, the whole global wine business would collapse over night.  So now you should also "thank" your friends for keeping this whole thing going!  In fact, we should all thank wine consumers:  profusely! 

Because if the wine industry were dependent on people with Somm Salaries to keep it rolling, all of Napa Valley would be torn up and replanted with condominiums, strip malls, multiplexes and massage parlors.  There would be no green rolling hills, no charming vistas, no seas of green or seemingly infinite rows of trellised vines...  Thank your rich friends that there's an entire industry of agriculture, farming, and wine production up there. 

I could never afford a $400 bottle of wine, but Thank God there are some people who can.  At my age, I need the wine business to exist in the way that it does, otherwise I would probably be slinging Long Island Iced Teas in a vest and suspenders at Applebee's or greeting shoppers at Wal-Mart.  

Yours Truly,
Bad Somm

Thank you again for the thoughtful questions.  Hope you enjoyed our answers and with any luck you are receiving the help you truly need.

Follow us at @goodsommbadsomm on social media and/or visit our page www.goodsommbadsomm.com

Until next time,
Be Good!

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