The Friday night session of the Wine Fest in St Johns was, without any doubt, the wildest consumer tasting I’ve ever experienced. This was not – I hasten to add – for reasons of poor behaviour on the part of Newfoundlanders (locally pronounced new-fin-LAND-ers). During those three hours there was such a crush of people holding out glasses that at times I felt like a human Enomatic machine.
I wasn’t sure if the cramp in my fingers was the early onset of tendonitis.
I asked a taster about her interest in spitting, to which she replied: “Dat would be like trowin’ up your dinner.” Fair enough.
Another woman, while tasting The Dark Side, asked me: “If you drink this, do you go to the dark side?”
Quick as a flash the man standing next to her replied: “Let me know if it does, and I’ll take you outside.” Prior to that moment they were complete strangers; what happened thereafter I don’t know, because the next group of tasters was at the table.
Needless to say, Inkspot and The Dark Side were huge favourites, as measured on the basis of the sales from the temporary store that had been set up in the convention centre.
Spare a thought for the staff re-stocking shelves. Over the course of three hours, roughly 7500 bottles were sold. Bear in mind that the store was totally congested space, with queues of trolleys snaked all over. How the staff got through with that quantity of bottles, I don’t know. It’s not as if they could get in with a fork lift, and the overwhelming majority of purchases were mixed cases (i.e. not easy-to-grab cases of individual wines).
Throughout all of this everyone remained calm and friendly. I don’t know Newfoundlanders any other way.