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Awkward wine lover moments



Come on, we’ve surely all had one or two… as soon as you identify yourself as a wine lover, you open yourself up to a plethora of awkward moments, either courtesy of your well-meaning but misguided family or friends, or via putting your foot in it.

Mine include:

  • A well-meaning relative bringing some Champagne to a party, which they said they’d been ‘saving’ for a special occasion and were very eager for me to try it… unfortunately it was a fairly basic, very inexpensive non-vintage Champagne and had been in their cellar for a good ten years or so… :see_no_evil: Needless to say, it was pretty flat, a very dark gold and really didn’t taste good at all, but I had to play along and drink some!

  • My tipsy husband showing off at a party and trying to sabre a bottle of Bollinger… only for the entire bottle to explode all over the garden. :smile: The light was just starting to fade and the owner of the house had dogs so we all had to go around trying to find every last shard of glass so they wouldn’t cut themselves… to top it all, his disastrous sabrage attempt was caught on video! We still laugh every time we watch it…

I want to hear yours! :relaxed:


Broke a bottle of Krug once :scream:


Ha ha … that title had me worried for a moment :wink:

I recall a time I put a bottle of sparkling wine in the freezer to chill it rapidly … and did the usual thing and forgot about it. When it thawed, the ullage (love that word … i.e the decreased level of the wine below the cork) was HUGE and I was really worried that it meant that the gas had all escaped the wine and was putting huge pressure on the cork and glass. I was so worried it would explode, I took the wine out into the back garden of our flats and prepared to open it carefully. Somehow all the neighbours had noticed the unusual activity and were ALL watching out their windows … as I carefully removed the wire, and worked the cork out … to discover it was COMPLETELY FLAT.

Hugely embarrassing of course, not strictly a wine-lover error I suppose.

There was that time, early in my wine-life, when I was in New York on business on my own and had to find dinner, so went out to a lovely local Italian restaurant and ordered an amazing ‘spaghetti vongole’ so chose to have a glass of wine with it. Naturally, I went to the “white” list and discovered there a wine I was unfamiliar with at the time, but sounded intriguing as I knew the grape made a red wine, but not a white. Being a friendly and curious sort, it seemed right to grace my US hosts by buying a glass of something ‘native’ to that country to match the dish they were serving me … so I placed my order for the White Zinfandel.

Yup! I was one of THEM.


I suppose mine would be at an anniversary dinner ordering what looked like a nice bottle of white Rhone at a Gordon Ramsay restaurant for me and my then-wife. It was too rich for her and she kicked up such a fuss with me – not making an overt scene I might add – that one of the attentive servers in the corner noticed and, without asking, brought a lovely glass of crisp Chablis for her on the house so she could enjoy her meal and us our time together. Serious kudos to that team! I took note of the server’s name and sent a long letter of thanks to the Maître d’ the following morning.


Back in the days when I thought I was still able to impress my wife (i.e. the first couple of years together), we had sauntered into a wine shop; I laid it on thick and acted very sniffily to what was on display, and even more so when one of the staff suggested we try something I assumed would be beneath me.

A tasting measure was duly poured and I proceeded to do the whole ‘swirl it around in the glass’ rigmarole et voila! a lovely soaking of my shirt with the vast majority of the red wine in my glass. I did not look very impressive…


oh dear :scream:


Was having a vintage Pol Roger over dinner in Epernay. Only after three glasses in, the guy next to me pointed out that what I thought was a bruised apple note was actually cork taint…


some bruised ego to go with the apple…however:

the green-eyed monster says you got what you deserved!


Having just returned from holiday, reading these have given me a much-needed laugh!

NO!!! Was it witnessed by anyone or could you pretend it never happened…?

:laughing: This is one of my faves - and let’s face it, we’ve all done it (although not quite as spectacularly in front of company!) Was it even drinkable?

Blimey, now that’s good service! I wish every time I kicked up a fuss someone brought me a glass of Chablis…

Hahaha! When very new to the wine trade, a kind friend took me to a fairly fancy wine tasting so I could get some practice, and I embarrassed him a bit by loudly declaring that some very oaked, very expensive white Burgundy ‘smelled like Frazzles’… To be fair, it DID. :smiley:

Oh no! Again, we’ve all done this!! :smile: We had a lovely friend, who had recently become a wine buyer specialising in English wine, over for a party and decided to impress him with a magnum of vintage sparkling Nyetimber… and that was corked, too. :flushed:


In a top - and therefore expensive - restaurant in London with my wife on our wedding anniversary. Opted for a relatively modestly priced Rhone. The Maitre D tried to persuade me to try an American Syrah instead. I accused him of upselling. So he said ‘well let’s do a blind tasting then.’ I picked out the American wine as the Rhone. :pensive:


@Markharrison252 Haha! Although slightly cheeky of the Maitre D to try to change your mind from the Rhone in the first place, perhaps! Did you buy the Syrah in the end…?


The real awkward wine lover moment happens when you’ve been on a self-catering holiday for a week … and you have to take multiple trips to the bottle bank to get rid of the remnants of your ‘catering’

We call that the wine-walk-of-shame

(… but you still take extra care to leave the best bottle carefully balanced on the top)



@Markharrison252 I like that Maitre D!


One should also leave behind an empty Wine Society box at the house pour encourager les autres


A few months ago I went on one of the not-as-frequent-as-they-should-be trips to the bottle bank. My normal crate was full so I also took some empties in an old wine carton I had knocking about.

As I was throwing them in the bank, one bottle seems a bit heavier than the rest and, as I let go, I noticed that the cork, cage and capsule were intact.

As it smashed I realised that the carton hadn’t been empty after all and I’d thrown away whole a bottle of 2002 Pol Roger.


@Jonesy… Noooooooooooooo!!!
A travesty :sleepy:


Today’s post in the ‘wine you hate’ thread by @MrNXM reminded me about my White Zinfadel story

With lots of new members, I bet we can find a few more amusing wine anecdotes though

Tell us yours


Whilst on holiday in the Loire, i.e. a wine tasting trip, I was discussing with my friends what we would say to a grower if we did not like the wine we were given to taste. After much discussion we decided that the bon mot would be ‘interessant’. The very next day we were offered a Sancerre rouge which had a decidedly fishy note and I blurted out to my friends that it tasted of pilchards… forgetting that the French for pilchard is … pilchard! That was an ‘interessant’ moment! Presumably some tainted isinglass had been used in fining the wine. The grower, who shall remain nameless, ‘punished’ us by insisting on a tour of his brand new bottling plant. O happy days!


Hmm … Not a very good one, this, but it’s all I can think of. I was trying to interest a fellow in a job in Spain, and he said something like “Well, the prospect of a drop of Mateus Rosé is very appealing.” I didn’t have the heart to tell him. Monty Python’s “I don’t think I’ll have any claret, but I will have some wine” sketch came to mind.


When your phone autocorrect ABSOLUTELY REFUSES to remember the difference between “wines” and “wives” … I swear I type the former 100x more than I type the latter

but when you write notes along the lines of … “I really enjoyed experiencing your wives” instead of what you intended to write, it can lead to confusion

(I say this as I see that @Ewan kindly corrected just such an error on my note typed on my phone on the way home from the tasting last night)