TITLES, acronyms, and other very serious matters.


Now where did I put those business cards…

I’ve always found job titles to be like those little angry, barking dogs that speak to you through car windows– irritating and impossible to decipher. How many times have you met someone and heard this:

(hand reaching out to you) “…John Doe. Regional, sub-division, inter-market, vice DM of operations.”  You politely smile, desperately trying not to look confused, shake their hand, and pretend you just understood all that high-pitched barking and yipping. Sometimes I would try and counter: “Umm… Jared Germain. Official wine steward..guy. Director of the wine desk, intra-regional PMS corkscrew operator. …9:30 A.M. coffee analyzer. “

I used to get a hard time from friends for using the job title “Wine steward/consultant” in my e-mail signature.

“More like wine steward/imbecile-tant”, they’d counter. Nice. Real nice.

But I understood where they were coming from; titles are really designed for our own egos and mean very little to those we help. Unless of course you’re choking or having a heart attack, and you spot an EMT. Then they’re OUTSTANDING. But most of the time, they’re just annoying.

The same with all those crazy acronyms. DM, VP, PRM, CEO, CFO, COO, FMC, CCR, SRFM, and on, and on, and on. So being the jobless SOB that I am, I’ve had fun entering all sorts of random, goofy titles to my signature. In New Mexico it was Vino bandito. In Idaho, wine spud. I’ve been lost in the dessert, a wine steward of Gondor, vino voodoo man, and  brave-tart.  And now, thanks to the folks at the Society of Wine Educators, I will be a Certified Specialist of Wine, or (ahem) CSW. The results from my exam in Noo’wallins came back and I can now put those annoying three letters after my name.


I payed $255, and all I got what was this crappy pin.

…What’s that you say? I’m a hypocrite? Not so! Okay, maybe a little… But hey, I’m jobless and any letters I can add to my name is tasty alphabet soup to me. So what does a “CSW” actually mean? I dunno. I suppose it means that I paid to get registered, actually made it there, and passed a fairly difficult and comprehensive 100 question wine exam.

And that’s it.

It doesn’t offer me any privileges to be haughty, pretentious, or stuck-up about my wine savvy. Which is sort of what those letters are going to imply. It’s like a vino paradox (oooh, that’s another good one.).

Ah well. Such is life, I suppose. When my old partner in crime, Alaya, and I completed an intro sommelier course and passed the exam, we didn’t get any extra letters after our name. Boooo! It could have now been, “Jared Germain. IS (intro somm?), CSW”, or something like that. Damn. But then those same “friends” of mine would be making up all sorts of new meanings for those: “Jared Germain IS, A, JACKASS..”

In any event, I promise to always remember there is no end to learning, and exams will never match up to real-life experience. By now, I’ve likely offended a few of you out there that have letters before or after your name. You should know, however, that I only bring this up since I will now be joining the “letter club”. Next up is the Certified Specialist of Spirits (CSS), and the Certified Wine Educator (CWE) programs. And of course, if I actually gather up the discipline (and money), I can try and go further into the master sommelier (MS) program. In fact, I’m so inspired by this new acronym buddy o’ mine, I’ve made a video displaying my profound seriousness and professionalism. I hope you you all enjoy, and never, ever take wine too seriously. Unless of course you have some letters after your name…




~ by Jared on May 22, 2009.

14 Responses to “TITLES, acronyms, and other very serious matters.”

  1. I liked the video and I trust you enjoyed the Trimbach. Be careful of what you wish for in life. Letters after our names are meant to quantify our achievements in the minds of others. Your achievements are so far above and beyond any additional need for glory that you can either choose to include or exclude the letters. If yo do choose to include letters, I recall you have a bachelors degree, I would hope it is in the sciences so you can put the BS before the CSW.
    Robert Swider (Initials of degrees intnetionally omitted)

    • Somehow I KNEW you would be commenting on this post…

      And VERY well said! Unfortunately (but fortunately for myself), my bachelors degree is a “BA”, so the BS about the “BS” stops here.

      And the Trimbach was indeed good- a 2005 pinot blanc. Simple, yet sublime, with hints of yellow apple, wet stone after a driving spring rain… ahh, forget it.


  2. “Laughing” over morning coffee, LAUGHING!!! OK, to fricking funny!!! Now we REALLY miss you. A second career in the near future? Have a lovely weekend.
    PS-we have only snuck a few bottles 🙂 kidding.
    Off to the beach we are.

    • …obviously I’ll need to be more serious in my next video.

      “Laughing”. The nerve… 🙂

      Glad you enjoyed it! Have fun at the beach and say hi to the family.

      Edinburgh tomorrow!!

  3. Tangerines, love em.

  4. Enjoy Edinburgh. Have fun.

    yes, more serious……

  5. very amusing Jared. I love a early morning laugh.

    • Hiya Beth.

      I can only pray that many mouthfuls of morning coffee were spit across the table as a result of “Certified…”


  6. Jared! That was some of the funniest stuff i’ve seen/heard in some time. Yes perhaps I need to get out a bit more often. But no, I do believe you are certifiable. I mean certified! Congrats!! I hope you’re enjoying Scotland! I loved it there. If you head to loch ness, keep your eyes peeled for Nessie. I swear I saw her, but that could have been the hangover goggles I was wearing.

    • Hi Annick,

      …I almost titled that video “certifiable”, no joke! Glad you liked it. Scotland is AMAZING. And the pints and drams make everything even better. Much better…


  7. You do realize you made me cry, I laughed so hard, right? I probably would have peed myself too, if I hadn’t just gone. Jesus.

  8. God damn Jared, watching you do that skit brought me back to the days at Belmont when I mimicked you on describing wines- “Yeah, this wine has a subtle vanilla aroma with burnt oak that lingers on the tongue.” You truly are the biggest jack-ass I have ever known! I miss ya man!

    • I thought you might like that…

      I actually started it as a serious video, and decided it was a lot more fun to make fun of the whole cork-dork thing! And I hope you think of that video now every time you read a wine description…

      Miss you too, bro.

      ~El Jack-ass

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