With at least Master of Wine candidate and many other wine professionals in the audience, the tasting was running late--thirty minutes late! A heavily confirmed event with organizers ending out multiple emails asking people to give up their seats because there was a waiting list, our expectations had been high. My WSET Diploma TA (the MW candidate who has already passed her theory) and I were both using this as a source of study (me for my theory exam in June) so we waited patiently as the clock ticked by. She had to return to work and I had another seminar across town to get to. Finally, the seminar began with a good number of empty chairs in the room (so much for the "waiting list"). There was no wine in the glasses and technically only 25 minutes remaining in the planned hour. I guess they assumed we had nowhere to go and that we'd just run late. Fair enough. Not true, but fair enough.
The lecture began. The French trade ministry had engaged a relatively well-known local sommelier to run the show. I suppose they thought we wouldn't understand their French accents? All I can say is that I would expect that someone at the certified level would be articulate. That I wouldn't hear "you guys" and that facts wouldn't be passed over with language along the lines of ignoring "all that history stuff" in favor of what restaurants in the city are doing with these sweet wines. Which he didn't quite address either. It was so awkward that three of us looked at each other and each of us, on our own but at the same moment, decided to leave. It was embarrassing. For him. As the Wine Director for a fairly large local restaurant group, we all expected more. We expected an articulate, well considered discussion of these wines put forth with a voice filled with knowledge, command and presence. This is why I believe the world is now getting too populated with "sommeliers" who feel pretty fancy about themselves which made me lose interest in that certification a while ago.
A disappointing start to the day. It made me feel pretty good about my own verbal skills though. So there's that.