David Coffaro Vineyard and Winery Winemaker's Diary

Week 20
May 13, 2001 to May 19, 2001 

Tuesday May 15,  2001

We have sent out our last notice to those who have not taken possession of their 1999 wines.  It starts off with "LAST CHANCE TO CLAIM YOUR 1999 WINE". We have already received two responses from customers who are offended by the tone of our letter. But we have also received many responses from customers who are thankful that they have wine to claim. Here is a copy of the text:

""Our records indicate that you have not yet received the 1999 wine futures you have ordered and paid for. You were sent a letter of notification in August of last year that the 1999 wines were bottled and available for pick up or delivery by the end of April 2001. If you have already received this wine, we would appreciate your letting us know so that we can update our records. 

If you have not received this wine, the following options are still available to you at this time:

· Please contact us by e-mail, phone or fax prior to June 15 2001 to make the necessary arrangements to pick up the wine or to pay the shipping costs and arrange for the shipment.

· If you would prefer a refund on this wine, please contact us by June 15 2001 to confirm the address to which we should mail the refund.

If we do not hear from you by June 15th, all unclaimed 1999 wine will be returned to our inventory for re-sale.

As most of you know, we sell almost our entire wine production on a futures basis in order to keep the prices as low as possible. We understand that this may not be the most convenient way to buy wine and that it doesn't work for everyone, so we are more than happy to offer refunds at this time.

We thank you for considering our futures program and look forward to hearing back from you as soon as possible.

Sincerely, Dave and Pat""

Dealing in "Futures" is a lot of trouble and I am sure that we should have sent out many letters reminding these 168 people that their order was ready. Our plan of attack will change next year with many e-mail reminders as well as a sign at our winery after bottling: "Do you have 2000 futures to pick-up". 

Another possibility is to hold back bottled wine for resale at a later date. Everyone, but I thinks this is what I should do. I don't like it because that would mean less wine for our "futures" customers and higher prices. 

There is some merit to holding back some wine. Last weekend one of our biggest customers brought back a great deal of his 97 and 98 wines. Also he turned back his 1999 wines and his 2000 wines. I have always let anyone exchange wine, but this was the biggest refund we have granted. I bought back 34 cases from him. He can not drink wine anymore. 

Since this customer brought back his wine on Saturday, we have had maybe 10 groups of people come in to visit our winery. I have mentioned that we may have some older wine for sale and I was amazed that, without even opening these older wines, we have sold over 10 cases. As most of you know, I want to keep my prices down, but I also want to keep my customers happy. I hope to achieve those goals most of the time.



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