David Coffaro Vineyard and Winery Winemaker's Diary

Week 23
June 4, 2000 to June 10, 2000 

Tuesday, June 6, 2000 

I have a lot to say about Best Buy, but I would like to wait one more day. Also I need to post a new assessment of the 2000 vintage. I hope to make that post tomorrow also. 

Tonight I just want to say briefly that last week I tried our 1996, 1997 and 1998 Carignan wines. I thought the 1996 was my least favorite and the 1998 my most. Again the 1997 had almost too much fruit for me. Also I tried my 1996, 1997 and 1998 Petite Sirahs. This time I probably preferred the 1996 over the other two. Actually I would have trouble picking out my favorite considering that the 1996 was more developed. All three wines surprised me since I thought I would prefer the 1998 by far. It just seemed that the 1996 and 1997 with bottle age  were the equal. Our 1999 PS could be even better. 

That brings me to an e-mail reply to one of my customers posted to him tonight regarding my 1999 wines tasted from the barrel. I feel that it would be appropriate to copy my reply only. I hope my editing for the diary will make my reply to him somewhat easier for you to follow--

1999 Wines 

Brendan and I agree with you that the cab franc is very promising. I love the Zin, because I like the darker flavors---less brighter fruit though. Right from when Brendan and I pressed the Cabernet from the Aca Modot site we have felt it was less intense, but it has impressed us as the months have gone by. It will be hard to top the 98 Aca. So far the PS is my favorite and along with the Estate Cuvee is most peoples choice. I also feel as you do that the Estate Cuvee is lighter and may be because of less alcohol from the carignan. I promise you that will change in 2000. The 1998 zp2c is really coming around and I think the 1999 could be better. I am really too close to the wine to give a reliable assessment. Remember I like tasting the components and not the blend, so I only know that overall the 1999 vintage could be one of the best from Dry Creek and thus could bode well for that wine. I agree that only the cab grapes from 1999 could be still up for question. Your input is invaluable so thank you very much.

Webnesday, June 7, 2000 

It is raining right now, but this light sprinkle should not do any damage. I must go out and sulfur though in the next two days. 

I want to talk about "Best Buy", but first I want to relate why I cannot understand the mentality of this company's customer relations policy. 

This afternoon, I received a phone call from a customer who has been buying about three cases of wine a year. Her question was "when will the 1998 Neighbors' Cuvee be ready for us to pick up?" I was a little taken back since this wine has been ready for pick up since last August. Of course as I have said we have a record of everyone who has bought from us and when. I noticed the date was March 4 2000---that was the first day of the Russian River Barrel tasting. A least 1200 people came to our winery that day. It was obvious to me that she did not know that the wine was ready for pickup that day. She may have been confused since she also bought 1999 futures that day which would not be ready until later this summer. We had figured that everyone who bought bottled wine that day instead of Futures had left the winery with the wine. I had grown up with the policy that the customer is always right, so even if I thought she had picked up the wine and consumed it without remembering, it would be smart policy to believe such a good customer and release the wine. In this case it was easy, we gladly gave her the 6 bottles she had bought---it was our mistake. 

Last Saturday was a very interesting day as usual---more so, because I received back some of my older wines. One nice customer just had heard I was willing to trade 2 for one for my older wines. Wow I have two cases of 95s and 96s back. (He in turn bought 5 more cases of our 2000 wines) Another customer brought back 8 bottles of 1997 Carignan thinking that the wine was diluted!!, with no concentration. I was skeptical, but I want to please anyone who feels that I have not lived up to my side of the bargain. I replaced the 8 bottles with 12 others. (They also bought more wine) The wine was fine by the way and I had sold the 8 bottles back to happy customers by Sunday. 

Interesting weekend---another customer came in and thought one of our wines was corked. I replaced it even though we use artificial corks. They maybe had an off night or just did not like the style of the wine. (I exchanged the wine and they bought many more cases) That brings me back to "Best Buy". 

Why would a retail store treat one of their good customers the way I was? I can't understand it!! Like I have said last week, I have bought close to $5000 of products this year at the Santa Rosa "Best Buy", but that did not matter to Art Meyer--the store manager. I don't have the energy to explain the incident in detail again---please, just go back to the diary of last week for more details. In brief, I bought a modem and software. I could not get them to work correctly so I brought them back for credit or refund. (I was willing to take credit for anything in the store)  I did not know that store policy is no refunds are given for opened software. To follow up on last week, I did finally receive two phone calls from Brad Larsen (650-875-9240 X118) the regional Manager. He was upbeat and said everything was taken care of, but when I showed up yesterday Art Meyer (707-545-1078) claimed that Mr. Larson had just casually mentioned that I would be coming in again--nothing more (Brad gave me the impression that he was the usual appeasing do nothing executive of these days). Now let me make this clear: Brad had told me that Art had processed a credit for my modem and was willing to give me a credit for the software. When I showed up yesterday, Art informed me that he still needed proof of purchase so I had to return home and call back to receive credit for the purchase of my modem. I can report that I have just found out that I did receive credit for the modem, but not the software. I am still out $139.74 !! Art Meyer yesterday said at least three times that the software was GONE thrown in the garbage at the end of the day! Now does anyone believe that the store just threw out that software? I have been told that some software companies guarantee replacement or money back. I believe this no refund policy is just "Best Buys" way of making extra money from their customers. But don't they get it???? 

Why would "Best Buy" treat customers this way? I would never treat one of my customers this way. I want to please them and I want them to come back for more. I will never shop at "Best Buy again!! Will these companies stay in business without pleasing their customers? With the internet and lower prices, how can "Best Buy" stay in business? Many of you know that Costco and Office Depot do not have such restrictive policies and I believe they will survive by treating customers as human beings not objects. 

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