David Coffaro Vineyard and Winery Winemaker's Diary

arrow January 22 - January 28, 2012

Sunday January 22, 2012

My Mother is recovering slowly. She may be home by the end of the week, a week before her 90th birthday. Right now she is in a skilled nurses place right next to the hospital. I won't go into detail concerning how many mistakes are made in the hospital and this temporary recovery place. I am glad she is asking questions. Her mind is just fine.

We have received many great e-mails thanking us for offering an exchange for the 2010 wines bottled in July, to the wines aged 6 months longer. Most of our customers have decided to keep the July wines and some have decided to try both. I am really looking forward to the bottling of the 2010 wines aged 6 months longer and with lower acid. We will start bottling on January 30.

Friday January 27, 2012

8:30 Pm: Pat is off visiting Susie so I have time for the diary. The New Hampshire direct shipping organization has been on a power trip, boarding on insanity, for at least 6 years, I know, FedEx knows. That is only my opinion so I hope I will not be sued. I only state the facts on all my diary entries. I feel sorry for all you residents of New Hampshire. Your State Direct Shipping department shows no respect.

As in the past I love confrontations, sometimes it is easier in e-mails, but I have not let back in phone calls either.

The only state to catch our out of state shipments was New Hampshire back in 2005. Yes they were already tracking wine shipments FOR SOME REASON. They were OK and asked me to obtain a permit for no price, but require me to pay the State Of New Hampshire 8%, easy no problem. Over the years there have been a few minor confrontations with New Hampshire. I won't go into more detail. We have an organization that reports all shipments to ALL states that I say we have permits for. All other states we have dealt with, a total of over thirty have been nice and seem only to want to collect the fees....long story.

Last year I was told I had to pay a new first time fee of $100 to New Hampshire and it would be due in August. My Mother had a heart attack on August 2 and then Harvest started. I continued to send reports to New Hampshire but forgot to send my renewal application and the new first time fee of $100. I think New Hampshire is the only State to really be concerned about shipments of wine not authorized.  FedEx sure knows about them.

Saturday January 28, 2012

So the story goes: I got an e-mail from FedEx earlier this week on Monday, right when my Mother was denied release from the hospital.....(she is out now and finally home....another story). FedEx said they could no longer authorize my shipments to New Hampshire. I was very surprised and said I have had a permit for 6 years. We went back and forth and I was told to call New Hampshire direct. I called on the phone and the examiner, Cheryl, was very direct and warned me that my permit had expired and basically said I was in big trouble. I finally realized I forgot to send my renewal back, but I was not notified, only FedEx was after 6 months of shipping. The State of New Hampshire continued to cash my checks, a tax of 8% on all dollar amount of wine shipped directly to their residents. Here is part of what Cheryl wrote later on Tuesday:
You are on the NH Seizure List. This list is sent to all the carriers so they are aware that you are not permitted to ship alcohol into NH.

Shipping alcohol into NH without a valid NH Direct Shipper permit is illegal and is a Class-B felony.

It is now beyond the time-frame in which you could renew your old permit, but if you wish to ship alcohol into NH you would have to apply for a new permit.
That started many e-mails back and forth between Cheryl and I, after awhile, some very heated. I asked her why I was not contacted....why did you continue to cash my checks...wasn't that illegal on their part? I told her many times that I had the permit right here and you have all my info.....so why can't I just send you the $100 and get reinstated? I guess that was too logical and easy for her to understand. Finally on Wednesday I asked to speak to someone higher up. Cheryl said she would give my case study to Eddie, the Director. I had a lot of trouble contacting Eddie by phone or e-mail....Long story....On Friday I finally got an e-mail back from Cheryl and was told Eddie had forwarded it back to her and she had not changed her mind...basically: I was a criminal.

I sent a scathing e-mail back to Cheryl and Eddie and told them I was contacting their Governor, John Lynch. I then sent two e-mails to the Governor and sent copies to both Cheryl and Eddie. Less than an hour later at 5:30 Eastern time, I received a call from Eddie. I was very nice and he was very nice and everything was resolved...I only had to send him the $100 and my renewal application that I have had since August. I thought: Gee, that was so easy.......so Catarino sent my check off yesterday afternoon. Eddie said some interesting stuff: He was surprised with Cheryl's actions "She is usually so reasonable...maybe it was that e-mails can get very confrontational". I did not go there!! I know when to shut up!! I could not tell him Cheryl was confrontational right from the beginning. I just agreed with him.

It looks like we will be continuing to ship to New Hampshire. I love these confrontations, but Pat does not!!


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