Many of you have told me that you are afraid to tell your friends about our wine, and that you have mixed feelings about seeing great press, because it will mean that the wine will get harder to find and insanely expensive (right Alan?). This past decade, we have been fortunate to have had a good match between supply and demand. In the event that demand should ever greatly exceed supply, I have a plan, or at least a dream.
The Dream: We have every sale to every body in the database – all the way back to 1991 Zinfandel Futures. We should be able to offer a customized selection of what you have told us you want in the past. If you want to try something different than what you have purchased, there should be a way to accomplish that too. The desire is to take care of those of you who have allowed me to do what I love. I am on mailing lists too, and prefer to be treated like a Human Being, not a cow heading for slaughter or a stereo typewriter. New clients should have to wait until there is sufficient supply to spread around. Once the telephone booth is full, it’s full. Try a Volkswagen Beetle (do students still do that?). How about a bus? This may be the future system (the booth, not the magic bus.) Any suggestions? Any database wizards out there? As Hendrix said ‘I know what I want, but I just don’t know how to go about getting ‘it.’
The Reality: Currently, I set bottle limits on certain wines at release so that everyone on the mailing list has a chance to establish their likes and dislikes, yet I still should be able to fill the orders placed. If you want more than the limit, feel free to mark up the margins of the order form. By the time the open house arrives, once everyone has a chance on the mailer, the limits disappear, and additional requests are filled in the order they arrived. To be fair to those far away from the winery (most of you), I must assume that tasting first is not a requirement I am not happy about this, but it’s the best I can do. That’s why sometimes I sound lukewarm about the wines, trying to give a dispassionate description of the facts sans hype perhaps overcompensating sometimes. With Zinfandel futures, there has usually been plenty available, so limits have been unnecessary. On the other hand, bottled wines in small production are more difficult to distribute and still have everyone happy.
Even the rarer wines are priced to give value relative to the market, and still allow me to do what is best for the wines through equipment, barrel choices, and compensating growers. With ‘new’ wines for us, like the Pinot Noirs, we conduct many comparative blind tastings including some very famous and expensive benchmark wines, to evaluate where that point lies. Last Spring’s ‘Big Brother’ and ‘Little Sister’ have greatly exceeded my earlier estimation through this process, and has even turned a couple of critics into advocates (no names this time, they know who they are).
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