Covert Recycling Mission - a Sommelier's Pitfall

Covert Recycling Mission - a Sommelier's Pitfall

Covert Recycling Mission - a Sommelier's Pitfall

Covert Recycling Missions - a Sommelier's Pitfall

Today was cleaning and bottle recycling day.
Like any other person I take a day off and do those chores that need to be done and bottle recycling is one of them.
The difference is that as a Sommelier I have a lot of bottles and that means a lot of trips to the recycling place.

In our village we are the only English speakers and also just happen to run a B&B where people enjoy a beverage or two outside in the evening.
This in itself leads to a few trips to the recycling "dome" but throw in me, a Sommelier, who holds tasting classes in people's homes and the end result is a LOT of bottles that yours truly has to deal with.
To say that I get some funny looks from the locals is an understatement.

French eyebrows are well and truly raised when someone comes to the door mid-morning and sees me with open wine bottles on the table, tasting.
The people at the supermarket eye me suspiciously when I go through the check out with 36 bottles of wine on a Monday morning (a last minute tasting!).
Or maybe it's the jeans, I don't dress like a Sommelier, yes that's what it is.

The French don't really get it, the amount of bottles thing.
Sure they have a glass of wine or two but rarely more and although every village has a large colored bottle recycling "dome", a trip there is maybe a bi-weekly event and even then the quantity pales in comparison to what I take there.

It's probably one of the only pitfalls of being a freelance Sommelier and not working in a bar, restaurant or hotel - I can't hide, I have to hide my own dirty work.

Covert Recycling Missions - a Sommelier's Pitfall

Covert Recycling Mission in progress!

A couple of weeks ago I had some back-to-back wine tasting events and I generously offered my services as garbage girl, to take the bottles to the recycling. Why not? It was on my way home anyway.
So with a car load of dirty glasses and empty bottles off I went, chinking my way down the road.
When I turned up at the recycling "dome" in my village at 4.30 on a Thursday afternoon it was, for some reason, a busy place and I was dreading opening the back of the car as it smelt like a brewery.
Thankfully, I wasn't stopped by a Gendarme on the way back, even though I hadn't been drinking (I never do when I work).

So, out I got in all my well-dressed Sommelier finery, including a few well-placed wine splashes on my white blouse (I will never learn).
I was there for a long time inserting bottle after bottle into the dome, feeding it.
What they thought I can only guess but they were definitely "looking" as only locals can.

Imagine my surprise when, doing exactly the same thing the next day, some of those same people drove past; rubber necking and jaws agape.
They are now certain that I am an alcoholic and that’s how I’m going to be known from here on.

To be honest, the concept of anything other than a restaurant Sommelier or sales Sommelier isn't anything most of the people around here can get to grips with so as a freelance Sommelier I'm at a bit of a disadvantage to begin with.
Those I have educated, get it, but the others and especially those around the recycling dome don’t and it's funny to watch their faces and not say anything other than to give the "who me?" look while smiling sweetly.
They are a curious bunch so I'm sure it won't take long before they ask me what the deal is or slip me a piece of paper with the number for the local AA meeting.

I don't just go to the "dome" anymore, it's a carefully choreographed maneuver, a covert recycling operation, a mission.

I go at lunchtime when I am certain no one will be there (they take lunch very seriously here in France) and today I looked like a navvy in old paint covered jeans, fleece and trainers. Certainly not something that the French ladies in my village would ever do.

Once sure that no one was around I hopped out of the car, deftly man handled the recycling carton as close as I could to the dome and started feeding the beast.
“Come on, come on hurry up.” I was thinking. “Could it take any longer?”
There's a little hole (the mouth) that allows one bottle at a time, presumably to stop people putting sinks and such-like in there.
It was like feeding a slot machine in Vegas.
Double fisting it to make it go faster and then, relax, I could see the bottom of the carton and it was all ok, I could breathe until the next time - I had gotten away with it, for now.

So, it's not all wine and painted nails as a free-lance Sommelier you know, life's never boring, even when you're taking out the garbage.

Lou Messugo
Drink This: 

After completing a Covert Recycling Mission dressed as a navvy it's only right to have a well earned Stella - in the bottle of course!

Mmmmm Stella


We only go to the dome about once a month, so when we do, we have a "few" bottles as well. Whenever it takes longer than 5 minutes to "feed the beast" (hahaha), there is definitely a feeling of amusement all around! :) Your job is the best!

Add new comment

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.