The Wine Snob: A Short Field Guide

Vinted on January 2, 2014 binned in commentary

Instances and identification of the Wine Snob in the wild

The wine snob is easily encountered but often difficult to successfully identify in the wild. This is because the wine snob in almost all salient ways physically resembles the human homo sapiens. Often, the only way to successfully identify the wine snob is via verbal cues.

The wine snob, isolated, is rarely dangerous and poses almost no immediate threat apart from annoyance. There are cases in which it has been reported that the wine snob will “leech” onto an unsuspecting person and follow them incessantly, carping verbal nonsense – the phrase terroir (tear-WARW) is often repeated – and requiring the person to physically remove themselves from the area to abbey the threat. However instances of bodily harm in these cases is statistically quite rare, and most “threats” from the wine snob have been completely overblown in the modern, scandal- and –shock-hungry press.

Identification of the wine snob cannot be successfully confirmed based on the presence of wine alone. This is an important enough point that it bears repeating and additional emphasis: not all specimens possessing a wine glass in the wild are wine snobs. The instances of wine snobs within any given wine-drinking population are still quite rare. Again, verbal confirmation must be obtained, as the presence of the wine snob also cannot be confirmed via nesting ground, habitat clues, tracks, diet or scat.

Wine-stained urine is not a reliable identification measure.…

Further identification clues and diet

The only way to confirm a wine snob sighting is through verbal clues. They will almost exclusively utter one or more of the following phrases (with the remainder of their speech patterns manifesting as unintelligible to any but the most experienced field guides):

  • terroir (tear-WARW)
  • ninety-five points (95 points)
  • score  (skôr)
  • Laube (LAOW-bee)
  • Parker (PäRK-or)
  • Magnum (MAG-nuhm)

The wine snob feeds primarily on wine and other human foodstuffs, and has highly developed and fragile psychological needs for wine information. It appears to derive great pleasure from hearing its own verbal cues, even if alone. It should be noted that the wine snob drinks very little water, taking most of its moisture needs from wine, augmented with the blood of its infrequent prey, which it laps readily after a kill.


Wine Snob habitat

Wine snob sightings are most likely to occur in large metropolitan areas, though they certainly are by no means isolated to those areas, and rural sightings have become more common as the proliferation of the wine media on which they feed has reached new heights and high volume in recent years (2013 at the time of this writing).

Their habitats include:

  • Large coastal cities in the U.S., as well as major cities in the midwest
  • Cultural centers in Italy
  • Mainland Japan
  • Most of the city of London
  • Mumbai, Sydney, Hong Kong and Beijing in Asia
  • The entirety of the nation of France

Social gatherings for humans are a common and excellent vantage point for sightings, particularly wherever their psychological crutch (wine) is served: bars and restaurants in urban areas, holiday parties and functions in outlying suburban and rural areas.


Are wine snobs dangerous?

Generally, the wine snob is much more nuisance than threat, and even then the nuisance is primarily verbal. In larger numbers, however, the wine snob can become dangerous, particularly when a group of them detects an outsider or begins to feel threatened.

If you are tracking a wine snob and happen to inadvertently stumble upon a larger group, you may feel an almost irresistible urge to flee. Do not, under any circumstances, run, for it will almost surely mark the end of your field days as it will signal easy prey to the wine snob group. Instead, feign nonchalance and act as if their lair is simply a point along your way to some other destination, avoiding direct eye contact and at all costs avoiding verbal contact with the wine snobs. Slow, careful, deliberate movements are best, avoiding running and quick jolts, both of which may trigger predator responses.

Happy fielding!





  • Todd - VT Wine Media

    Great observations, but are you saving the stuff about mating behaviors for a article? ;)
    Cheers, and happy new year.

    • 1WineDude

      Thanks, Todd. Sadly, most wine snobs do not mate…

      • Todd - VT Wine Media

        clonal reproduction then?

        • 1WineDude


  • charmion

    so here is my question. many people in the usa downplay or totally dismiss the concept of terroir. so why are there 16 or more AVAs in napa, same in sonoma, a buncha new ones coming in the columbia valley, new ones coming in paso robles, etc. etc. isn't that like standing on one leg but denying that yoga can be good?

    • 1WineDude

      Charmion – I've got an entire article on that topic planned soon…

  • Corr Chilled

    I love this line “Generally, the wine snob is much more nuisance than threat” It sums the whole article up well. Great read

    • 1WineDude

      Corr – that line probably wasn’t actual parody…

  • Solomon Mengeu

    An interesting article as I think that somehow by not being careful I have become a wine geek snob at times with trying too hard to 'educate' people rather than sharing the joy, amazement and wonder of the glorious wine world.

    I think you have to take people where they are at generally & also at what stage they are in their wine development/journey; of course if someone swears by Yellow Tail or Gallo they may need some help.

    But beyond that I think we have to respect people's personal preferences and seek to find common likes & interests while getting people to get out of their comfort zones & be more adventuresome.


    Solomon Mengeu

    • 1WineDude

      Solomon – agreed (except about you becoming a snob! :). The only way we really become snobs is the same way we become bores, which is to insist on voicing our thoughts and opinions in conversations where others don’t want them at that time, I suppose.

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