May 16, 1999
In the past couple of weeks, even though we have been sold out of most of our 1998 estate wines, I have still served these wines which aren't available to buy to everyone who has visited. Of course, the reason I do this is that I am trying to show these new people that our estate Cuvee, estate Zin and Aca Modot "Bourdeaux" blend are wines that will be duplicated in 1999. But what happens is I get myself in more trouble because they want to know why they can't buy the wines they are tasting. And then I am encouraged to sell them a few bottles of these wines that I am trying to save for myself or my library tastings in the future.
This weekend, I forced myself to change that policy somewhat. Any of
the new people that have come in have been shown only the Neighbors' Zin,
Neighbors' Cuvee, estate Carignan (which we only have a few cases left
of), our first bottling of dry Sauvignon Blanc, and our late harvest Sauvignon
Blanc. I hate to completely close our doors because I really enjoy meeting
new potential customers, but we must re-evaluate what we should do for
the next several weekends before we bottle in July. I really have to force
myself to not encourage any more sales of 1999 wines until at least after
bottling and fruit set on the 1999 crop.
May 18, 1999
We have not been able to receive email in the last few days. If you have sent anything that is important you should fax or phone us.
May 19, 1999
As some of you understand, we must have a web site provider. That company - or persons - must be connected to a somewhat bigger computer and be able to maintain our web site. Incoming and outgoing e-mail can be provided by a different company, such as for example, AOL or Microsoft. Over two years ago, I acquired the domain name "Coffaro.Com". Even though we were fortunate enough to be selling as much wine as we could make, I suspected that at some point I may have wanted to establish a web site, but did not know what I wanted to do with it. I am now very happy that it has evolved into what I enjoy doing - the postings of these notes on the WorldWideWeb.
I chose a local company in Santa Rosa to provide all my services within the last two years. They were referred to me by my label designer and she actually helped design the page that existed in the first year and a half. It was very limited and I really didn't mind so much because as I have said, I really didn't know what I wanted to do with the site anyway. At that time, I think we probably got 50 hits a month and three-quarters of those were mine. Then BB came along. BB and D, better known as Brad and Dri, are customers who came by for a visit about a year ago and we sat down to look at my web site. Brad casually mentioned that he might be able to do something wtih it. I must say at this point that Brad and Dri are two of those people whom you would immediately trust and are extremely generous and have not charged us nearly what their services are really worth. Brad immediately wanted to know who was servicing our web site and has had many problems over the last year communicating with our local server. Pat and I have also had a few times where we've been having trouble either obtaining access on the Internet or sending out e-mail. This company does not know how to communicate with their customers. That seems to be a big problem with many of the new companies starting up these days, whether it be Internet-related or other winery related products.
That leads me back to what I mentioned yesterday, we are finally receiving
e-mail again and did finally receive 66 messages at about 5:30 p.m. today.
Early Monday morning, we realized we were not getting e-mail messages and
we called our provider. They did answer the phone for a change and did
say they were having some trouble. I called back yesterday morning and
they said they were still having trouble. Then at 5 o'clock yesterday afternoon,
I received a recorded message saying "please be patient, the problem will
be corrected by 4:00 p.m." I left a message saying we were still not receiving
our e-mail and also having trouble getting on line. At midnight last
night, we were still not receiving messages although I was able to post
a message on the diary and sent an e-mail that appeared to be delivered.
I called at 9:30 this morning and received another recorded message that
implied that nothing had ever gone wrong. I left another more pointed message
informing them I was still having trouble receiving e-mail and would they
please call me back. Brad and I today have had numerous long distance phone
conversations - since we could not communicate by e-mail. Needless to say,
we did not receive any return phone calls from this provider. At 5:20 today,
I decided to call again assuming I would receive another recorded message
but I was greeted by a person who sounded extremely bored, very nonchalant
and was extremely surprised that I was having problems and informed me
that he had not received any phone messages from me. In a very hard thing
for me, I controlled my emotions and reminded him that they were having
problems in the last two days, wasn't that true? He said, "oh yeah, but
we have it corrected now." And I said have you changed anything in the
last two days? At this point, I was extremely happy that I was communicating
with somebody I could handle, so I became very patient even though he had
a great deal of trouble understanding my user name and anything to do with
who I was. After about five minutes, he recovered and realized they had
changed a great deal and in fact had changed their incoming mail server
and outgoing mail server names. I've gave up, I didn't ask him the obvious
question: "Why didn't you inform me of this change." Maybe you've gotten
the point - Brad and I need to talk again tomorrow.