Needless to say in a small town such a switch up could create quite the buzz, but when it comes to my "standing in" at a wine, beer, or liquor pairing dinner no one's going to question the logic behind that call (I'm the right gal for the job). I was requested to arrive promptly at 7:00 o'clock for the occasion held at Saltus River Grill in Beaufort, SC and told that my "date" would meet me there. It is important to note that I didn't even ask what wines were being poured. First of all, the restaurant rallies beautifully with a new executive chef so the food is going to be divine and second, this friend would never lead me astray, especially when it comes to wine from California. It is appropriate for me to point out that the spouse of my requester is also truly entertaining, knowledgeable about wines and fun to hang out with (just like his wife)!
I arrive 15 minutes early and watch as the obvious couples attending the dinner make their way toward the seating area designated for the wine tasting. At this point I'm solo, standing out like a sore thumb waiting for my "other half" to arrive. The house wine buyer does everything she can to ignore me standing there. She loathes me, is most likely confounded by my presence as I don't appear on her guest list...she goes out of her way to simply cast aside my presence, but I'm not deterred. I eventually present myself as a substitute for one member of the Jenkins party to which she seemed to take a deep sigh of reluctance. Lucky for me the winery representative notes that I've not been introduced to her as the other couples had been and quickly makes her way to me as I join the group (I immediately like my new friend, Tracy Smith, Marketing Wine Club Manager from Terra Valentine Winery, Napa, California, but later in the evening when I learned she was 27 years old doing what she loved for a living I fell in love with her). Several minutes go by, still no date, the house wine buyer now irritated because my better half's late arrival implies holding up a timely start to the occasion, "When will "he" be arriving?" she asks. Noting her irritation I indicate it would be alright to pour the first wine without him. At this stage I just want the first wine poured so I can get past this awkward solo moment and the disdain seething from the wine buyer.
That's the thing about wine tastings, no one's a stranger by the time its all over, wine being the elixir for merriment, but also the common denominator for discussion (no small talk in other words). No luck needed.