Spitting is Encouraged - Spit Bucket Patrol
The Vancouver Wine Festival, housed in the Convention Centre, promised to be a splendid affair. Three days and nights of tastings and seminars about wine, grapes, growers. I would see bottles of Dom Perignon and reds from the Rhone Valley. And I would get to taste them! I signed up as a volunteer, thinking to get right into the heat of the action. When I was assigned to Spit Bucket Patrol, I was intrigued and still eager to volunteer and be able to attend this event. Little did I know what gruesome sights awaited me! Picture vats and vats of regurgitated wine. Now inhale. Yes, the fumes are earthshaking.
Now, it is all well and good to spit at any tasting. The best people do it – sommeliers, wine experts - when faced with mountains of bottles of exquisite French Burgundy, Italian Brunello and Napa Cabernet Sauvignon You just can’t swallow everything you taste. To get through all the booths is an overwhelming task. And so, spitting is de riguer. Lugging the full spit buckets off each counter is just plain nasty. Wine slops on you. Spills on the floor – despite your best efforts to be balanced and careful. As the day continues, the room temperature rises, the crowds thicken and your job on the patrol becomes even more disgusting, no matter how you try to dissociate.
Do I regret my turn on the SBP? Not for a moment. Walking into that convention hall early each morning to view the spotless tables and booths was a moment of beauty. Each producer was wearing their best smile and their excitement was infectious. But the next time, I wear hip waders and the full rubber suit.