Editorial Thoughts


Michele Pesula Kuegler is the founder of PeKu Publications and chief foodie at Think Tasty. She runs this one-woman show focusing on creating new recipes to delight her family, friends, and herself.

Yes, I’ll Take the Wine List

by Michele Pesula Kuegler on December 10th, 2019

Before we get to the wine list part of this post, I’m going to start with a few fun facts. When I am working on an article, I do my writing on one day, and I do my editing a day or two later. That time away from my writing allows me to edit better. It also gives me time to reflect on what I’ve written.

So, when I wrote this article last week, I took a non-confrontational approach. I shared my thoughts on being a woman with a wine list and then kindly asked others to respect the fact that if a woman orders the wine, she also gets to be presented with the wine. I thought about this post for an extra day, delaying my editing. Something wasn’t sitting well with me. So, below is my edited post on women and the wine list, and I’m not quite so passive.

I’ve been on this wine education journey for a couple years now. Although I have been enjoying wine for longer than that, I began to take wine fairly seriously two years ago. Part of the reason for this newfound interest was a trip to Napa.

After a week spent in the Bay Area for work, my husband and I headed to Napa for a couple days of goofing off. One of the stops was at the RARECAT winery in Saint Helena. A childhood friend of mine worked there and provided us with the most wonderful afternoon of touring and tasting. While there I learned more about the founder, Sharon Kazan Harris, and became intrigued with wine and all there was to learn.

In addition to making fabulous wines, Sharon runs a program called Take Back the Wine List. It’s an educational program that teaches women about wine. So often at corporate dinners, one of the men at the table is given the wine list. The goal of this program is for women to be knowledgeable enough in wine that they can ask the wine list be given to them. As a female, who is used to being in the minority and possibly not heard, I loved this concept.

Between this inspiration and my love of wine and food, I decided to work on Wine Spirit and Education Trust certifications over the past couple years. As such, I now have greater wine knowledge than my husband. So, when we are out, I order the wine. I don’t say this to brag, it’s simply a matter of fact.

Recently, we were at a nice dining establishment in Boston, and the wine list was placed in the middle of the table. I took the list, chose a bottle, and placed the order when the waiter arrived.

So far, so good.

When the waiter returned with our bottle, he presented the label to my husband, who nodded. (Side note: I did mention to my husband that he could have redirected the waiter.) The waiter then poured a taste in my husband’s glass and asked for confirmation.

So far, not so good.

I’m not good with confrontation, so I didn’t correct the waiter. I just felt like I’d be perceived as rude, but I was unhappy that he didn’t present the wine to me. I reviewed the wine list. I placed the order. I should have been presented the bottle and the tasting.

I should have said something. I wouldn’t have been rude; I simply would be correcting the situation. I ordered the wine, so I should have been tasting it. I know better than to just sit and let things happen.

In so many roles I have been overlooked. I’ve been told by a male presenter that I “should take a seat”. He didn’t need a moderator in a breakout session. I’ve been introduced to a committee as the wife of Mr. Kuegler, when I’m Michele Pesula Kuegler, who’s good enough to be introduced by her name alone. Sometimes it simply is that I’m only 5’3″, and I am literally overlooked. None of these things are acceptable.

Deep breath.

Look, there are many times when I’m seen and heard, and for that I’m grateful. But when it’s something as simple as ordering a bottle of wine, present the bottle to me. I’ll let you know if it’s good.


One Response to “Yes, I’ll Take the Wine List”
  1. Mary K. says:

    Sit with me next time, Michele, especially in Boston. I’ll put that waiter to rights. 🙂

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