A complaint on wine rebounds ten years later

This is a real nice little tale of how the reckless complainer never really understands the full effect of his actions.

One day , when we were in our hotel in Yorkshire, we had a high level business group closeted in take-over talks. An English company were selling to a large American corporation. The talks were high power, secret, and involved millions - nay, hundreds of millions of pounds.

There were three on the English side, including one of our regular customers. And three in the American delegation. Our regular guest ordered four bottles of a very expensive Chassagne Montrachet. Three bottles were consumed without difficulty, but when they got stuck into the fourth bottle, another of the English party started getting most upset that this fourth bottle was "off" and bluster at me that no only did he think it was off, but that they all thought that it was off.

I broke the habits of a lifetime and did not try the bottle there and then. I replaced it without comment. Later that night Chris and I tried it, and it was a really great wine. Nothing wrong with it at all. There you may have thought the matter would have rested, but no!

Two weeks later our regular was back, he asked me if there had been anything wrong with the wine, I said absolutely nothing, and he said that he had not thought so either. We had a laugh at the complainers expense, and there I thought the matter would rest. But no!

Ten years later, we had sold the hotel in Yorkshire, and had opened another hotel in the Cotswolds. One night we had an American couple staying. The American chap said to me that I probably did not recognise him. I had to admit that I did not. It turned out that he was one of the American negotiators at the meal in Yorkshire ten years earlier. He remembered fondly the sending back of the wine, asked me what I had thought about it, and told me that the Americans also knew that there was nothing wrong with it. But that the action of sending back a perfectly good bottle to impress them, had told them a lot about the mind of the man they were negotiating with, and they reckoned to have been able to save a considerable amount on their offer when they analysed his approach to the world.

It may have cost that man millions to send back a bottle of wine.

And if you want to stay in a really nice hotel by the sea in Cornwall, Corisande Manor Hotel, Cornwall

Corisande Manor Hotel, Newquay, Cornwall

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