Jo's World,Wine

The Culture of Spitting ~ I’m From the School of Jackson Pollack Versus Pablo Picasso

My copy of Vineyard & Winery Management just arrived. Editor Tina Caputo wrote on Facebook that it’s her favorite cover ever. I can see why.

Chad Johnson (left) and Cory Baunel (right) of Walla Walla’s Dusted Valley Vintners are having a good spit. Kevin Masterman took the shot… straight into the wind.

As I looked at it, I was reminded of spitting techniques, and that I’ve been wanting to write about them for a long time.

I wish I had written down the source in which I read that there are two kinds of tongues…

  1. ones that roll
  2. the other that can touch a nose

From this image, it looks like Chad is a Jackson Pollack, and Cory’s the Picasso kind of spitter.

It went on to state that the tongue rolling one is scientific, and the nose touching one’s the more artistic people among us.

In my own life, Jose is more scientific and can easily roll his tongue. I, on the other hand, am the more artistic of the two of us, and can touch my nose Gene Simmons style.

You can either do one or the other of the two tongue tricks; but you can’t do both. It’s genetics.

How to touch your nose with your tongue.

How to roll your tongue (a dominant trait).

So, here’s the challenge, every time I’m at a wine tasting. I would love to spit like a pro… That gorgeous, solid stream that could be put onto a canvas and have lines like a Picasso sketch be the end result. But, alas, I can’t roll my tongue. I look like an amateur, with dribble even coming down my chin, sometimes.

I’d love to look like I know what I’m doing; but it’s just not possible, people. Instead, I spit like I’ve got a Jackson Pollack upcoming painting in my mouth, and I’m putting it to canvas at the bottom of yet another dump bucket.

I spray it all over the place…in the most horrific of ways.

I’m finally reassuring myself that it’s just not possible genetically. I can’t make my tongue into what it’s not.

So, if you see me out and about and spitting with my head in a dump bucket, because I know my limitations, please excuse me. It’s beyond my control.

The rest of you, just roll your tongues and have at it. You’ll look fabulous, darling, and you know who you are.



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6 Responses to “The Culture of Spitting ~ I’m From the School of Jackson Pollack Versus Pablo Picasso”

  1. Benito says:

    I’m going to betray the normal decorum that I use for wine blogs and point out that I learned a whole lot about spitting before ever tasting a drop of wine. It’s because I grew up in the South, and I am male. There were the odd games of spitting off a bridge or whatnot, but for true precision and technique you had to know someone who chewed tobacco or dipped snuff. With those guys (typically anyone over the age of 12), you could draw a target on the ground and they could hit it with pinpoint precision. Some of the elderly champions with brown-stained teeth could even knock a housefly out of the air with a well-aimed burst of spittle.

    There’s even a sort of starter product for kids available in various rural areas–beef jerky that’s been shredded into a powder so you can get used to dipping tobacco and spitting before you’re legally allowed to purchase it.

    Now… as far as I’m concerned, the only tobacco I consume is the occasional well-aged cigar, and when it comes to spitting at wine tastings, my best advice is just to do so with confidence and enthusiasm. If you try to be polite, demure, or proper about the whole thing, you’re just going to dribble all over yourself. Just like with dancing, you really have to not care what everyone else thinks. Old comic strip artists had it perfectly right with the onomatopoetic PTUI!

  2. Jo Diaz says:

    Love it, Benito… and I did great a great big hug from Steve Mitchell for you!

  3. Nick says:

    The worst is when you get splash, especially in the eye. So a very tight squint develops…

  4. Jo Diaz says:

    Nick, I’m with you on that one.

  5. Gregory says:

    Fantastically irreverent post! My favorite thing to notice in other tasters is the pre-spitting ritual. I can hardly stifle a chortle at those tasters trying to burrow into the glass through their nostrils.

  6. Jo Diaz says:

    Very funny, Gregory. And, I’m afraid I’m guilty of the burrowing, as my sense of smell ages… while I don’t seem to age at all, in my own mind.

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