This week is my favorite week of the year. It’s a rare excuse to get drunk during working hours. It’s also a rare excuse to pretend you know something about wine, and using that as an excuse to drink more than your fair share of wine. It is National Wine Week, where for $10, you get a bottomless glass of wine with your meal at the Smith & Wollensky family of restaurants.
This is a great opportunity for media sales reps to schedule “business lunches” that involve no business at all and run about four hours. When you return to the office, you face mounds of work on your desk, none of which you’re in any state of sobriety to do.
Fresh out of college and four weeks into my first job, I had my first wine week lunch with my supervisor and a sales rep from Fortune at Park Avenue Cafe. We drank wine until 3:30 and stumbled back to the office. At about 4:00, our group director called us into her office to work on a project. We take two steps into the room before she catches a whiff of alcohol and snaps, “are you guys drunk?”
The simple answer is yes, we’re completely wasted. I could barely walk in a straight line to my cubicle. I was mistyping every other word in an e-mail to a co-worker earlier. I was entirely too loud on the phone. But I’m a deer in the headlights now. What do I say in this situation? Am I in trouble? Is my job in jeopardy?
My supervisor simply replies, “it’s Wine Week.”
“OH!” my director shouts back. “Why didn’t you tell me? I would’ve asked you to bring me back a doggy bag of wine!”
Another memorable Wine Week lunch involved a New York Times salesperson, several clients, and the largest hunk of pork you have ever seen:
Honestly, working in advertising is generally an accepted excuse for drinking on the job. But National Wine Week is the one week every year when we truly feel no shame. After all, why else would Wine Week coincide with Advertising Week?