Monday, January 17, 2011

Sips and the Single Girl: Where's the Beef?

I have been thinking about writing this post for quite some time, mostly because this question has continued to plague me as I attend more and more wine tasting and social events here in Seattle and the surrounding area. When it comes to wine events, where are all the guys? Sure, there are plenty of men at these events, but the 20 to 30-something variety of these men only seem to attend at the request of their other (female) halves and are seen perusing the tastes of the event in tow of someone else. The events clearly lack single men. What gives?

Let’s examine this more closely:

I consider wine to be a high-class beverage of choice (for the most part), with a mostly educated and high-class individual on the quest to learn about and enjoy all that the amazing vine has to offer. Men are constantly complaining about how you just can’t meet the right woman in the “bar scene”. Sure, encounters in said “bar scene” do occur and don’t get me wrong, I do have some friends that have met their significant others in a bar. But for me, and most others that I know, it’s just not the ideal environment for finding Mr. Right. Gentlemen, take note: are you looking for the classy, well-educated, and ambitious woman? Then why aren’t you attending wine tasting events? These events are FULL of attractive, smart, high-heeled 20 and 30-somethings who choose to make wine their drink of choice not just because it “tastes good”, but because they truly desire to learn about and appreciate different varietals, vintages and winemakers. The immediate response I might get to this statement is that these types of events are intimidating to the single guy who might not know a whole lot about wine. Ok, I’ll give you that, BUT: you don’t have to have a subscription to Wine Spectator and be on a waiting list to receive your Leonetti allocation in 2016 to strike up an interesting conversation with someone at a wine tasting event. While there are many at these events that do in fact have a very high understanding of wine and could likely pick a Cab/Syrah blend out of a line-up in a blind tasting, that doesn’t mean you aren’t worthy to chat with them. So, I present to you, some tips and tricks for the single gentleman in attendance at a wine event (who might also be looking to find a lovely single lady):

1. While these are classy affairs, they are NOT black tie. Don’t feel intimidated by a wine event by thinking you have to be dressed to the nines to get in the door. Not the case. Think about what you might wear on a first date to a nice restaurant. For the super ambitious: suit up! We (and by we I mean myself and my female counterparts) do love a man in a nice suit.

2. This is a wine tasting event, not a wine drinking event. The reason the wineries give small pours is so that you can taste a wide variety and discover what you do and do not like in certain types of wine. Don’t be afraid to sip and dump in one of the many dump buckets provided at these events. You’ll have more to chat about with someone if you have tried a wide selection of the wines present.

3. Do some research in advance. Most of the larger events all list out the different wineries that will be pouring at the event on the event website. Scroll through the list and pick a few you would like to try, even if you’ve never even heard of them. This will help when you do converse with someone (see #4), as you can mention those wineries as ones you “have been meaning to check out”.

4. Generally, when people taste, they may linger at the table in between pours to chat with the winemaker or learn a bit more about what they’re tasting. This is a GREAT opportunity to casually ask the classy, attractive, single (check on this, make sure a boyfriend does not linger nearby) female standing next to you at the table her opinion on what you are both tasting. In this situation, you don’t have to have extensive knowledge of the wine, you are just chatting about your opinions of the wine. If it appears that this classy female has a bit more knowledge of the wine than you do, (i.e. she answers with something like “nice fruit on the nose but the tannins in this hit the palate hard”) don’t be afraid! An appropriate response would be something along the lines of “Interesting. What do you think causes that?” When in doubt, just answer with a question. You’ll get by JUST fine. Most people (myself included), love when people are genuinely interested in their opinions on the wine. Just nod and smile. You may have more in common than you think! The other scenario is that the female in question doesn’t in fact have 60 bottles of wine at home and is in the early learning stages, just as you are. This will produce a great conversation where you can continue to taste together and offer each other additional opinions. In between sips of Malbec and Cabernet, the other “we just met” conversation can take place and VOILA! The magic happens…

I’m not trying to turn wine tasting events into single’s socials. What I am trying to do is offer an obvious way for singles to interact over something that they enjoy: wine. As mentioned previously, the nature of the women at these events are top-notch. These are college educated, professional and classy women who are passionate about their work and their wine enriched social lives. Take a chance at an upcoming event; you may just be surprised at what happens…

Some fantastic wine events occurring within the next few months include:

The Seattle Food & Wine Experienc
e – February 27th, 2011 – 1pm to 5pm – Seattle Center Exhibition Hall – Seattle, WA

Taste Washington – Seminars: March 26th, 2011 – Bell Harbor Conference Center; Grand Tasting: March 27th, 2011 – Qwest Field Event Center – Seattle, WA


  1. I am going to reply to this from a 20-30 something male perspective, as eloquently as possible. Hopefully giving insight to the questions single female wine tasters apparently are blogging about.

    Yes, wine is a higher class beverage (for the most part). And for the most part, I am looking for the classy, well educated, and ambitious woman. There are multiple problems a young gent like myself could come across as a single man enjoying a glass of wine at one of these events. Intimidation by a womans knowledge is hardly one of them, and if a guy pulls that card, why do you want a man who is afraid to learn anyway? My issue, from experience, comes with the smart, attractive, 20 - 30 something female wearing high heels... on a high horse. Its like when that Cab/Syrah blend hits the lips, a lady is automatically ambitious. For the most part. So I present to you, some tips and tricks for the single lady looking for a single gentlemen at a wine tasting event.

    1. Stop assuming guys are intimidated. Its the last thing we want you to think. Even if we are. If he wants to wear a black tie with a pair of Chuck Taylors, let him add a little flavor to the party.

    2. Wine tasting, wine wasting. If youre looking for a guy to share a classy drink with, share a classy drink. If you have to do it when your girlfriends aren't looking, fine. But drink a glass of wine. He might even loosen up a bit.

    3. Researching wine before the event is a great idea. Provides common ground to start a conversation. But could lead men in a direction where they cant continue the conversation. And feel uncomfortable again. Reminds me of when I took a womens studies class in college to meet women. Ok, I never did that, but that was funny.

    4. The more I think about having a conversation at a wine event, the more I think the experienced woman shouldn't be afraid to approach the guy. If it is all too uncommon for single men to show up to these events, give them a reason to show up again. Educate them. Ask them what they think about what they're tasting. And ask them about the after party. There probably isn't one, but there could be.

    On that note, I would like to say that your post was very well written, Taryn. I wouldn't mind attending one of these events to see what they are all about. Black tie, chucks, and a little after party.

  2. Anonymous:

    Thanks for the comment! You bring up some interesting things. First off, I guess I need to clarify that I really don't think all men are intimidated by the thought of attending a wine tasting. That actually wasn't my initial position when I first started thinking about writing this, but was brought up as a possibility by a (male) friend who happens to be quite knowledgeable about the vino. So I went with that as a "possibility". In fact, I'd love to hear that guys aren't intimidated by wine and tasting events.
    Also, I agree that it does go both ways. Women need to approach and strike up a conversation with a guy just as much as a guy does with a woman. Since I was posed with the question of "why are there no men here?!" I decided to just offer up the one-sided ideas. But you're right! I just want to see more interaction in general at these events (and, ahem, as stated clearly, more men).
    Thanks again for your comment on this, I appreciate the insight!

    And p.s. There's ALWAYS an after party. :)

  3. Solid Post Taryn. A local company, EverGreen Escapes, incorporates wine tasting into a number of their tours. You can go rock climbing, paddling, snowshoeing, etc before going to Woodinville for a half day of tasting. If there's a way to gather a group together it may be a fun opportunity to break the ice in a slightly more casual environment. Just a thought. I like where you're going with this...

  4. Oh no! As a woman and a Certified Sommelier, I attend tastings for work on the regular and disagree completely with your post. Please don't encourage men to hit on me while I am working! Personally, I am tired of men schmoozing on me while I am at these events. Perhaps is a better avenue for dating???I have a black book the size of the bible and am really probably not interested in you if you are trying to hit on me at a wine event. I'm giving you an A for effort (an A+ if you are wearing Chucks), but I have some advice form both parties:

    *Dress sluttier. You will be in a sea of black and grey, take a page from the street walkers and wear stilettos, neon colors, or fishnets. Men will talk to you
    *Watch the wine lips. Nobody is going to want to chat you up when you look like you just gave BJ to Barney the purple dinosaur. On that note: also watch the gross ass wine teeth.
    *If you want a guy to talk to you, talk to him! I know, what a freaking concept! Remember Sadie Hawkins dances? Just like that.

    *Don't show up early. Wait until everyone gets a little wine flowin'. I sure as hell don't enjoy talking to strangers while sober and nothing exciting will happen until later in the event. As Taryn said, there is always an afterparty.
    *On the subject of afterparties: A hot tub, whiskey, cigar, or sports car is ALWAYS a good idea.
    *Wear those Chucks.

  5. Nice post, Taryn. I like the intent of it.

    However, I think you miss a major point.

    You stated, "What I am trying to do is offer an obvious way for singles to interact over something that they enjoy: wine."

    Your assumption is that guys enjoy wine as much as women (and there are some guys who do), when this is not the case as evidenced by the lack of eligible single men at wine tasting events.

    Intimidation may be a factor as to why single guys don't attend wine tastings. The more likely factor is that most guys just are not that into wine. In my experience, most guys would rather go grab a beer than go to a wine tasting event unless they are dragged there by a significant other. Even then, most of the time they are looking to leave as soon as possible so they can go somewhere to grab a beer for "suffering" through the wine tasting for the sake of their significant other.

    From my experience as a bartender, I have noticed that guys in their 20s-30s are more likely to order beer or liquor/mixed drinks/cocktails, and seldom order wine, while the opposite is true of women of the same age.

    I do attend occasional wine tastings, but like "j" above, I tend to be there for work, not socializing. I'm there to learn what I can about the wines and winemakers, and sample their products for future consideration when it comes time to re-evaluate the winelist of the place(s) I am working at. As I am focused on work, I tend to not notice the single women, let alone try to figure out how to approach them, especially if they are in a group of women.

    As much as your post is geared toward getting single guys to approach single women at wine tastings, single women should also be willing to approach (the few) single guys at wine tastings.

  6. j:

    Whoa now. I never used the term "hit on" once in my post. "Interact" and "hit on" are two completely different things in my book. Definitely NOT encouraging pick-up lines, I don't want that, ick. I hear you on the working thing, but that's not the case for everyone. It's a unique situation for you, and I do understand wanting to focus on your work.

    I must say, well done on some of those "tips". Not that I approve of them all (especially the "dress sluttier" one, those are NOT the types of girls we are catering to with this), but man did I get a good chuckle at those. Thanks for the comment!

  7. Michael:

    I absolutely agree with you that not all guys are into wine and would rather throw back the large mug of Oly at the Loft (well, at least my guy friends would!) than a glass of Cabernet. There are, however, a lot of guys that do enjoy the glass of wine from time to time and wouldn't mind learning more or tasting more at an organized wine event (I know this from some research. Basically, I asked around). I suppose it's more of this group of guys I am preaching to here. Because you're right, not all guys even WANT to go wine tasting. No shame in that.

    Thanks for the comment, I appreciate the insight!