Idle Complaint - Response from Wineries

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Idle Complaint - Response from Wineries

Postby Sam Platt » Sat Sep 09, 2006 10:28 am

On occasion I will e-mail an inquiry to a winery whose wine I may be interested in purchasing. The question usually has to do a technical issue such as how the wine is made, stored, or how it is shipped. I am surprised at how infrequently I receive a response. Most recently I asked a well respected California winery where I could find a tasting note on a recent Cabernet. After a week with no response I asked again. It's a week later and still no response. I find the pattern baffling.

When I do receive responses I typically buy wine. The gentleman from Au Bon Climat called me on the phone to answer a question and as a result I bought about $250 worth of wine from him. Maybe a couple hundred bucks isn't worth the effort for some of these other places, but it seems to me they are costing themselves sales.

Does anyone else have the same problem? Also, I'm not a conspiracy nut, but is there a state bias? I do get the feeling that because I am from Indiana I am not taken seriously sometimes.
Sam

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Re: Idle Complaint - Response from Wineries

Postby Robin Garr » Sat Sep 09, 2006 11:01 am

Sam Platt wrote:Does anyone else have the same problem? Also, I'm not a conspiracy nut, but is there a state bias? I do get the feeling that because I am from Indiana I am not taken seriously sometimes.


Sam, I've noticed a similar phenomenon, but not just with wineries. I think the explanation is simpler. Businesses decide, "We've got to have a Website," but rather than doing it themselves, they hire a developer. The developer builds the site, gets paid, and goes away. The site is static, never gets updated, and nobody pays any attention to the E-mail. But the owner is happy because he has a Website, and the developer is happy because he's been paid and doesn't have to worry about it any more.
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Re: Idle Complaint - Response from Wineries

Postby Carl Eppig » Sat Sep 09, 2006 11:13 am

I find that if I email TNs I've posted on various forums to them, I almost always get a positive response. Sometimes they even put me on to special deals. See my post on Gallante Cab on the Focus thread.
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Re: Idle Complaint - Response from Wineries

Postby Bill Buitenhuys » Sat Sep 09, 2006 11:39 am

Sam, for the most part I've received very rapid and positive responses from wineries. Some of the more recent ones have been personalized responses from Cathy Corison (Corison Vineyards) and Carole Meridith (Lagier-Meridith) as well as sales department responses from CVNE, Ch. Pavie and Merryvale. There has been a couple of times where I've had to send a second email but most of the time has been quite favorable.
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Re: Idle Complaint - Response from Wineries

Postby Bob Ross » Sat Sep 09, 2006 12:14 pm

Sam, my experience has been the same as Bill's. Most recently Steve Edmunds responded to a retailer question almost before I sent the email off, it seemed.

I agree with Robin's analysis of the way a number of websites are created and maintained, including those of a few wineries I know of.

As a long time surfer, I'm not sure whether it's better to have a static website or no website at all. If the static website gives lots of basic information and gives an address for correspondence with no email contact information, the sites have value. A bit irritating, but at least the sponsor of the site makes it clear how you can reach them.

One way I've seen this done well is a notice that the sponsor can only be reached through the post office or by telephone, preferably with a toll free number -- but it's very important in this case that the folks who create the site don't put their own email contact information on any of the pages.

[Incidentally, you sometimes need to read very carefully to figure out whether the contact info is for the sponsor or the web creator.]

What Robin describes is all too common and is extremely harmful to the sponsor. There's a general rule that a consumer who contacts a manufacturer is a proxy for many other consumers -- the number 100 is bandied about.

Retailers who allow contacts from consumers to fall into a black hole are hurting themselves and failing to take advantage of a great source of information.

If you care about the winery that isn't responding to you, I suggest you write them a letter and refer to this thread, or even print it out and send it to them. Many winemakers are so busy with all of the problems of a small business that they aren't even aware they are creating ill will for themselves.

Regards, Bob
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Re: Idle Complaint - Response from Wineries

Postby Carl K » Sat Sep 09, 2006 5:13 pm

Sam Platt wrote: I'm not a conspiracy nut, but is there a state bias? I do get the feeling that because I am from Indiana I am not taken seriously sometimes.


I wouldn't be surprised at all if you are getting hit by state bias Sam. I know I once e-mailed a winery to try to find out where I could get their wines here in South Carolina. They responded after three weeks with an explanation that it wouldn't pay them to try to sell in South Carolina since we don't drink enough wine here other than supermarket style plonck (my phrasing, not theirs).
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Re: Idle Complaint - Response from Wineries

Postby Jenise » Sat Sep 09, 2006 5:40 pm

Sam, I've had a variety of experiences with enough poor success that if I don't get a response in 24 hours, I can safely presume I'm never going to hear from them and I usually end up calling. I figure most must simply get so little email about their wines separate from orders that they simply don't bother checking often.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: Idle Complaint - Response from Wineries

Postby Redwinger » Sat Sep 09, 2006 6:53 pm

Sam,
Limit your angst... f'em. I applaud your choice of ABC as they are doing some very nice things and are nice people which I consider a business model others could do well to follow.
I still like the Giants tomorrow :lol:
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Re: Idle Complaint - Response from Wineries

Postby Sam Platt » Sun Sep 10, 2006 12:01 pm

Thanks to everyone for the quick responses. I had never thought about the static website issue before. Some of the contacts are something like "webmaster@johndoedesign.com", so the winery personnel may never see my message. Still, that excuse garners little sympathy from me. Call me a sucker for personal service, but I will continue to patronize those who respond to me. Even if the response is "we're busy and will have to get back to you later".

Redwinger wrote:I still like the Giants tomorrow

Talk to the hand, Bill! :) Unfortunately, I will be on an airplane and won't be able to watch.
Sam

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matter compared to what lies within us" -Emerson
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Re: Idle Complaint - Response from Wineries

Postby Robin Garr » Sun Sep 10, 2006 1:02 pm

Sam Platt wrote:Call me a sucker for personal service, but I will continue to patronize those who respond to me. Even if the response is "we're busy and will have to get back to you later".


I agree, Sam. I wasn't defending them, just pointing out an alternate scenario. :)
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Re: Idle Complaint - Response from Wineries

Postby Paul B. » Mon Sep 11, 2006 12:30 am

Sam Platt wrote:Call me a sucker for personal service, but I will continue to patronize those who respond to me. Even if the response is "we're busy and will have to get back to you later".

Sam, you're no "sucker" for personal service - that is the way that all businesses should behave, IMO!

I similarly place a great deal of value in a business owner actually showing an interest in an interested potential customer. More often than not, that pre-purchase interest is knowledge-gathering and can lead not just to a one-time sale but multiple sales.

On the flipside, the one thing that really turns me off at a place, be it a winery or any other business, is having disinterested or misinformed (and frequently, it seems, indifferent) staff. I've been to tasting rooms where the people working them seemed not to know anything about wine, for when I asked them a question about a wine I hadn't tried but wanted to know more about, the answers I got just made me want to cut them off mid-stream and not listen to the rest.

But ... what can you do. There are all sorts of scenarios out there.
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Re: Idle Complaint - Response from Wineries

Postby larry chandler » Mon Sep 11, 2006 2:22 am

Many wineries simply do not have a handle on how to sell their wine. They view their tasting rooms and websites merely as a necessary public relations expense. Their passion is making wine, and anything else just is outside their radar.

I applied for a job at a tasting room and was told that I didn't need to know anything about wine, but had to be sure the T-shirts were folded and that we were well stocked with picnic baskets.

And at a tasting room where I accepted a job, I found those people who were passionate about wine and really wanted to inform and help customers eventually got discouraged by management's indifference and just quit.

This same winery had several wines listed on their opening page that had gotten good scores, but there were no links to buy them, except for one, and that one link was to a wine that had sold out. It had been brought to their attention but it was never fixed.

Many wineries are owned by wealthy people who are in the business for ego reasons. And as long as their egos are massaged, they simply do not care about anything else.
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