Having spent another day at the London Wine Fair last week, I am still fascinated at the number of people who wear white and light pastel shades to this event. The lower attendance allowed me to observe and quantify the most frequent and serious tasting injuries inflicted during this 3 day exhibition.
The Arm Over Spittoon. This is possibly the most common and easily avoidable tasting injury. You are tipping some unwanted wine from your tasting glass into a busy spittoon when timing dictates that some rotter discharges a mouthful of claret over your upper sleeve.
Everybody who drinks has at some stage in their lives had a number of beers followed by a messy curry. While eating you would have been exceptionally careful not to get curry sauce on your shirt or lap. In doing so, curry sauce being curry sauce, will have dropped into the darkness and ended up on the ends of your trousers. Here it will remain unnoticed sometimes for days.
You have been tasting sitting down, a very common but often unreported injury.
The Drunken Firing Squad; your shirt has the appearance of multiple entry wounds (Ballistics CSI). You have no recollection of any individual stain occurring. These minor injuries are generally believed to build up throughout the day increasing during the afternoon as tasters get tired. They are the result of other tasters wayward spits and splashes from bottles.
The Filling Pocket; you are probably engaged in a discussion about the merits of gobelet vs cordon de royat training techniques while standing beside a spittoon. You are readjusting your weight from buttock to buttock and the flap of your jacket slips onto the spittoon allowing osmosis to do its damnedest !
“No Dear it’s not Lipstick”; The rarest and potentially the most dangerous tasting injury of all. Thankfully I have only encountered a single case. Possibly caused by a minor distraction, this generates an slight involuntary turn of the neck resulting in a quantity of wine missing the mouth and falling on the shirt collar. It is even rarer but not impossible for the stain to be in the shape of lips. On such occasions it can lead to more serious injuries being inflicted.
Some ancient civilisations believed in a form of astrology based on the unique patterns made by the backsides of warriors that were dipped in wine and sat into sand pits.
The Sash; Can be inflicted from the mouth down or from the bottle up. The shape of the stain will determine this. Very common, if from the mouth down this normally happens when a taster is trying to leave an area quickly and spits while moving, when excited the salivary gland overproduces binding a normally fluid wine discharge into something with the consistency of melting mozzarella. Often careless pouring and restanding of bottles will release vinous droplets onto your clothing.
The Unknown Sniper: A single, very obvious and clean hit to the upper rear thoracic area. The calibre and velocity of delivery are consistent with a highly trained and experienced somilier, probably one who doesn’t like you.