Wine Is on My Side, Yes it Is

Posted by on Jun 23, 2015

You may or may not have heard that there is a group of AARP eligible musicians playing in Milwaukee tonight at the Marcus Amphitheater. And lest you think that I’m hobnobbing with Mick Jagger, sales Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Ron Wood right now, fear not. Those cats are too cool to hang out with some bow tie sotted slob like me.

But given that tonight marks the real rockin’ start of summer with the Rolling Stones in town and is the occasion for the biggest concert of 2015 in Milwaukee so far (I say so far because I for one am holding out hope that these reports of the death of Frank Sinatra from years back are merely a myth and he will rise again and surely kick off his concert tour in Milwaukee), purchase I thought it might be nice to share with you the story of one Chris Ganos.

You’re probably scratching your head saying, “Chris Ganos? Did he play tambourine for the Stones?” No, I’m afraid the Ganos name will never be found on the liner notes for Sticky Fingers or Let It Bleed. Ganos’ talents were more fluid. Specifically the fluid we all know and love called wine.

Chris Ganos was one of the first wine stewards at the Pfister, patient and he took his job seriously. He would work all day and then come home at night and study books on wine, fine-tuning his sommelier smarts. He worked with blinders on, committed to being the best he could be, offering guests at the Pfister an elevated and spectacular experience savoring the fermented grape juice. For Ganos, wine was what mattered, and in certain ways his world was limited to bottles, corks and glorious stemware.

Ganos lived a simple life. He was not a man of airs and for years he even took the bus to work everyday until he was convinced that it was okay for a family member to drive him. Approaching his job with dignity, he respected a higher code of hospitality and always worked to make guests feel like they were being treated like royalty while also helping to maintain a high level of professionalism in his place as a Pfister hospitality provider. He was a guy who cared, and he was careful to make sure that nothing went awry on his watch.

A day came during Ganos’ service when his mettle was tested. A group of men presented themselves and started to order some varying selections of wine. Their palettes were refined, and that impressed Ganos. What also impressed Ganos was the major tab they rang up as each new bottle was summoned forth. What was a little less impressive to the steward who took his job so seriously was their hair cuts.

Now remember, Ganos was a man who felt that the proper balance of refined service and hospitality with heart was essential. It took steely focus to do his job with distinction and to reach for the pinnacle of stewardship with each newly uncorked vintage. With that sort of resolve and dedicated drive towards a good experience for customers and hotel at stake, Ganos felt he had to discreetly bring the men to his boss’ attention.

“Boss,” said Ganos. “I’m a little concerned that those gentlemen won’t be able to pay their bill.”

“What?” said Ganos’ boss. “I don’t understand.”

“They’re ordering very good wine, very expensive stuff. I don’t mean any disrespect, but I think they’re a little shady looking.”

Ganos’ boss chuckled. Ganos was a top performer, he had studied hard, and he was an honest and gentle soul. But what he possessed in love of wine and vaunted service, he lacked in good old rock n’ roll know how.

“Ganos,” said his boss, “don’t you know who those boys are. They’re the Rolling Stones.”

Just goes to show…never judge a man by the cut of his bangs.

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