Day in the Life of a Wine Shop Manager: Prosecco Mountain

Warning: Below imagine isn't for weak stomachs.

It was a pretty typical Wednesday afternoon in April, just before Easter. The wine shop wasn’t particularly busy and the daily vendors had pretty much come and gone for the day. I would normally only receive a few shipments on Wednesday, from a few of the mid-size distributors. I had arrived to work in the later portion of the morning, because I was scheduled to teach a wine seminar at night. I run a light staff on Wednesday. My morning employee had left and there was one other employee on the floor with me with another on the schedule to work in the shop til close.

 I spent most of the afternoon getting ready for the class, picking out wines and getting them chilled, making corrections and additions to my presentation, making sure all the glassware was cleaned and polished, and gathering the rest of the supplies needed. My final delivery arrived, and it was a midsize order. It did include the wine I had been waiting for all day, because I was going to be building a big display of Prosecco for the springtime and Easter holiday. The space I was going to put it the display had already been cleared out and swept. In Virginia, most of the distributors employed merchandisers; the people who are paid to follow the delivery truck routes and stock all the wine they had just delivered. It is a great system for wine shop employees, because it saves them from having to do a lot of back-breaking work. I sent the driver on his way and my impatience got the best of me. I didn’t want to wait for the merchandiser to arrive. I never like having big empty gaps in the shop, and I preferred to build new displays by myself, simply because I usually had a vision for the way I wanted it to look. It was really not a big deal, except I was dressed up a little nicer than normal for the class I was going to be teaching later. I took my tie off and rolled up the sleeves and began building a mountain of Prosecco. It was coming together pretty quickly and then my ascent to the summit of Prosecco Mountain came to a screeching halt.

With only a few cases left to stack, it happened, crash! The bottom flaps of the case of sparkling wine I was carrying gave out and twelve bottles of Prosecco crashed against the floor exploding into hundreds of pieces, sending glass and wine everywhere. My nice dress pants were covered in wine and my shoes, drenched in juice. It is one of those moments every wine shop employee has in their lifetime, you just always hope it isn’t big and isn’t on a busy holiday or weekend. My closing employee had just arrived. She and my full time employee on duty had a nice laugh at my expense. Together we began to clean up the mess and finish building the display. After we finished, my leg still felt wet. I thought it was strange, because I had dried off my pants already. I did it a second time, but this time when I was rubbing my pant leg with paper towel, I felt a sharp pain on my shin. Then I noticed that my pant leg had an almost unnoticeable hairline rip in them at the same spot where the pain was coming from.  I pulled up my pant leg and quickly realized that this was not good. The entire front of my leg was cover in blood and my sock that I thought was soaked in Prosecco, was actually catching all the blood running down my leg. My first thought was, “great, I like these pants,” then “Shit, this hurts.” I filled out an accident report and drove myself to urgent care. Urgent care was about ten minute away and the pain was getting worse and almost unbearable. By now, it was about 4:45pm and I was scheduled to teach at 6:30pm. When I arrived, they took me right back to a bed and I think I spoke to three nurses, before a doctor even came into my room, all of them shopped in my store and wanted to talk about wine.  The doctor finally came in and brought me a Percocet for the pain. I briefly thought about not taking it because I had to teach, but my leg really hurt.  I had taken Percocet before when I had my wisdom teach pulled and it didn’t get me high or loopy, so I figured, it will probably just help my leg pain a little. She pulled a piece of glass out of my shin bone that was about the size of a dime. She told me I was lucky it didn’t hit a major artery that runs close to my wound, I would be in major trouble then. Then she gave me two options. She could stitch up the wound, but because of its placement on the shin, she didn’t think it would hold, especially if I am on my feet all day. The other option that she recommended was to staple my cut together. For deep cuts on the shin bone and skull, staples are the preferred method, but putting them in is the more painfully option. I have had stitches before and they were pretty easy to take, how bad could staples really be? I told her the staples were fine and I really needed to get back to work. She told me I should just go home and lay off the leg for the evening; unfortunately, it was too late to cancel the class. It was almost 6pm. Because I chose staples, I only needed three. Now, when she put the first staple in, I thought I was prepared, but she had to bunch up my skin that was already in searing pain, and then, with her evil doctor stapler, snap! snap! snap! I don’t want to sound like a wuss, but I don’t ever want to do that again. It was awful and felt like pieced my skin with a nail they had pulled out of a well-lit fire pit. She gave me another Percocet for later that evening if I needed it and sent me on my way.

I walked back into work a few minutes before 6:30pm and my amazing staff had set up the class for me. One employee stayed late and was planning to start off the class for me in case I didn’t get back in time. None of the student knew anything had happened and that the last few hours were a painful scramble, until about half way through the class when my walk had turned into a limp and was getting worse. Finally, one of my regular students raised his hand and asked, “Are you alright?” I hadn’t really noticed I was limping because I was pretty focused on the material. I gave in and explained what had just transpired and we all had a big laugh about it. The class digression at this point had turned into a group therapy session with lots of wine. I pulled up a seat with my group of about fifteen people and we all discussed old battle wounds and stitch stories. They had all forgotten they were in the store to learn about wine. I grabbed all the bottles of wine and passed them around to everyone and they helped themselves and we chatted about them if they wanted to, but mostly just enjoyed them.

I never attempted to reach the summit or Prosecco Mountain again. Someday, I will climb it and I concur its barrage flying bubbles and glass shrapnel.