A friend snapped this for me at P.J. Wine and Liquors thinking I would be amused. And I was.
Some people were upset at the warning. The reaction surprised me. Some thought it was going to increase wine fear. I beg to differ. I think it's necessary especially in a neighborhood far from Hipsterville.
Adam Eisenberg who works at P.J's, has a different opinion. His experience tells him that New Yorkers generally just don't know much about the genre, outside of the shops that specialize in them like Flatiron, Chambers, and Frankly's. Even though readers of this blog believe that everyone and their grandmother is now whole hog drinking low sulfur wines that break the fourth wall, he believes people out there still want thick and conventional.
Eisenberg was there when the sign was birthed and shared this background with me.
"PJs had far too many returned bottles. Customers were complaining about issues that wasn't wine faults, but that the wines weren't what they were expecting. "It was too light. Too acidic. Too funky. Basically all the things that make natural wine drinkers love natural wine. I think a lot of people have pretty specific notions for what they expect a wine to be and that is where the confusion comes in. We once had a customer bring back a bottle of Puffeney (AF: not really considered a natural wine, but natural enough). The "complaints" accurately described the wine. With each "fault" our eyes lit up. Seeing how excited we were by his notes he decided to keep the wine! It just wasn't that California Chardonnay he was expecting and he probably simply grabbed the bottle because he were in a rush and wanted an "organic" wine and didn't consider the style. In a shop PJs size, that can happen when there are hundreds of customers on the floor."
I've been an encourager of signs and flags like this whether in a shop low on help or restos without a good sommelier. In a shop like P.J.'s with an excellent bunch of wines but a liquor atmosphere in a neighborhood at the end of the C it's a warning that should be heeded and a highlight that there's another world of wine here. Do you want to go inside?
Anyway, if you love stinky cheese and Lapsang, it's a good tip. After all, who of us doesn't like the smoky and stinky?