More tales from the cellar

Working with the general public generates some interesting moments, to be sure. Here are a few stories you might enjoy from my shop, the Ashland Wine Cellar:

Two-buck what?

Customer walks down the stairs and looks around. "Hi. I'm looking for a particular wine label for a gift. Just let me look around for a moment, please." He then proceeds to walk around the store, picking up wine and putting it down. After a while, I ask him whether he would like assistance and he shakes his head, this being a definite "no."

"Really, might I help you with something?" I say.

He walks around a bit longer, then responds.

"I had a red wine with a little yellow tulip on the label, anyway, I think it was a tulip. It could have been a rose or another flower or maybe it was an artistic kind of a sun-looking thing, but it was a definite yellow-colored flower thingy. It was about two bucks and I bought it for our wedding ceremony in 1976. Do you carry it?"

You don't sound a bit like him

Caller: Hi, Ashland Wine Cellar?

Me: Yes, you have reached the Ashland Wine Cellar.

Caller: Hey, you are across from the old Black Swan theater, right?

Me: Uh, no. We are under the state liquor store.

Caller: So, when did you move?

Me: We've been at the same location since 1980, since we opened.

Caller: Oh, no. I beg to differ with you. I remember, clearly, that I bought wine from you when you were across from the Black Swan. That had to be in the 1970s, or so.

Me: (quietly but firmly) Um, no. The Ashland Wine Cellar opened its doors, here, underground in 1980. We have been in the same spot, same owner, the entire time.

Caller: What? No. My wife and I were just talking about the Wine Cellar and you, my friend, are mistaken.

Me: (dawning incredulity) Uh, I don't know how to break this to you, but —

Caller: And there was this wine guy, Lorenzo. We bought a ton of juice from him.

Me: What? That's me!

Caller: (Very quiet. Thinking.) Uh, no. You don't sound a bit like him. I think he had some sort of Italian accent or something. Is he still living in Ashland?

It gives you a headache, all right

Man and woman come down the stairs.

Woman: Hi, we are here to get a few nice bottles of red wine for a dinner party at a friend's house.

Me: Great. So what do you think? We've got them at just about every price range.

Man: OK. Say, how about a nice red from Argentina?

Woman: Oh, no, remember that last wine we had from Argentina? It gave me a really bad headache. No, not Argentina. How about a fun little Chianti?

Man: Oh, no! I got a headache from that last Chianti.

Woman: Um, how about this Napa cabernet, this little guy for 24 bucks?

Man: Oooh, woody, those wines are too woody. I don't like woody wine. Hey, over there, Oregon pinot noir. That's what we need.

Woman: Way, way too light. No, we need to have something deeper for red meat, that's what they are serving tonight.

Man: Merlot?

Woman: Too soft. Zinfandel?

Man: Too fruity. Syrah?

Woman: Too peppery, that's for sure.

They stop and look at each other for a minute and say nothing. Finally ...

Woman: So what have you got in the beer box?

$80 rosé, anyone?

Man and woman come down the stairs.

Man: Hey, there. I would really love a nice, I mean really nice, bottle of red wine. I am willing to spend 40 bucks on a bottle. I would also like a white wine, equal price, please.

Me: Sure. Let me tell you about this cabernet. It is worth every cent of $40, deep, round, spicy and rich. You will love this wine. As for the white, this is an elegant offering which is dry, flinty but finishes up with a wonderful creaminess. This is a lovely white, really nice.

They look at each other and smile.

Woman: The truth is, we both love rosé wines and we are going to blend them together and make the world's best rosé wine!

Lorn Razzano is owner of the Wine Cellar in Ashland. Reach him at

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