That first sip of wine – the one where the waiter stands over you and watches you swirl and sniff and sip and swallow – kind of creeps me out, I’m not going to lie. Last night at dinner I was elected “taster” (and subsequently repeatedly referred to as a gentleman) by my friends at dinner, which was a huge mistake on both counts. Here’s why:


My knowledge of the subtleties of wine can be summarized in a few short proverbs:

  1. Cooking sherry isn't a good shooter. In an act of desperation as a teen, I took a swig and can still conjure up flavor that I can only describe as salt-meat-expiration-date-has-passed. Tasting notes like “smoked wild game with hints of lingonberry and warm toffee” make my internal BS meter spike a bit. Yes, wines can be complex. No, I do not care for a glass of anything described as tobacco and beef-bullion.
  2. Of most employees at BMC, not to mention managers, I am easily the most likely to say a potty word at dinner, or post a blog entry with the word “potty” in it, as I am hereby doing. Yes, I hold the door for women and children and the elderly and infirm. No, I should not be referred to as a gentleman.


I’ve never sent a single bottle of wine back, though one time in my dorm room I learned the hard way that you should never re-cork a bottle of red and pop it back open a couple weeks later to finish the job. Last night I asked our waiter if bottles are ever sent back, and he said they are on occasion, when they have gotten “corky.” From there forward, I just wanted to watch reruns of Life Goes On. (Chris Burke is actually an amazing guy and a true inspiration. In addition to being the first major television character with Down’s Syndrome, he has lately taken to touring the country in a folk band. Incredible.)


I have, however, sent hundreds of sodas back. No carbonation, no syrup, I asked for diet and they brought me regular, I asked for Sprite and they brought me vodka, I asked for sweet tea and they brought me what could only be hummingbird nectar; more often than not, when I order a drink that costs less than $8 a glass, something is wrong. I'm now an advocate for waiters looming around for me to take the first sip of Coca-Cola and gesture that it meets my high standards.


All that said, I have no complaints about the high prices of wine. If it were cheaper, we would have had five bottles instead of three, and that would have been two more awkward moments where the server watched me drink, waiting for me to nod my head in approval – perhaps laughing at me inside, knowing he had switched the good wine out for Franzia from the second glass on.


Oh, and welcome to my blog. I write about software all day every day (excepting most Saturdays and Sundays) for BMC Software, so I may occassionally throw a nod to something remotely related to data centers and IT efficiency. But probably not.