Beware the Vino Snobo

There are all kinds of wine folks out there, but the really spooky guy is the Vino Snobo.

It has been some time since I last had a sighting, but I found a very lithe and talkative Snobo in Austin, Texas, at a lovely wine bar downtown. My first glimpse of a sighting was tipped off by the look of the barista, glassy eyed and trapped behind the bar! The Vino Snobo can be easily identified from among the other wine sippers by the following marks, stealthy movements and footprints:

Louder-than-normal conversation &

Ha! This is the first giveaway! Most of these species love to be recognized by other sippers as really different, standout guys. To do this, the Snobo elevates his or her voice to a level so that the rest of the sippers/appreciators of vino just have to look their way.

This can be done in two ways: talking to no one in particular while expanding on the ever-present and widening wine world or trapping and stunning (with a flick of the palate) the hapless barista on the other side of the counter. This "stunned and trapped" look is a dead giveaway and should be your first clue.

Body language &

Okay, this can be a tough one. The usual clue is a bit subtle but, ironically, this (subtlety) is what the veteran and untrapped Vino Snobo is very good at and body language can be deceptive.

This body language (seen in "Vino Snobo 101 The Movie") is best described as "casual nonchalance" or "studied relaxation."

Foot on the brass rail, designer polo shirt and very pastel pleated chinos make up the spring/summer plumage at this juncture. If the weather is a bit chilly, a very delicate sweep of a tennis or cashmere sweater around the neck with sleeves falling lightly among the shoulder is a dead giveaway. A look of supreme self-confidence, like an "I get it and you really don't," is the classic look of the Vino Snobo and it is a warning that this animal is ready to strike at any instant!

Name dropping &

This is the native call of the Snobo and can be heard above even the loudest din of conversation or music. In fact, if things are not going well (others not being attracted to the call), the Snobo will get quite shrill, using such well-know call phrases as "Mondavi," "Best friend," "Lunch with," "Gavin Gracey" or "Wine Spectator."

This native call can get very insistent if the Vino Snobo is on the courting scene with another Snobo or an innocent sipper. In fact, (I have witnessed this myself in the deep recesses of the Napa forests) there is a tendency to swirl a glass of wine in agitation until spillage occurs!

Cellar talk &

This is the kill ratio of the Vino Snobo: how many bottles lay under ground or in a temperature (spendy) controlled environment does he have, cultivate, has bartered for or purchased? This is big stuff for this creature and we can tell how important the Snobo is by the amount (seemingly endless in some cases) of wine carefully stored in their caves or underground lairs.

The talk about this "cave treasure" can also seem endless, as with name dropping, especially to unsuspecting or financially strapped species of Snobo. Remember, not many of these bottles are consumed, given as presents or shared in any way and may turn to vinegar as time passes because the cave is sacrosanct to the Vino Snobo.

Well, there you have it, the easy way to tell this kind of wine guy a mile away! See you next week.

Share This Story