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View Full Version : Kudos to a class act.



PitBull
12-08-2010, 10:09 AM
It seems we expect less and less in the way of customer satisfaction from businesses anymore. Here is a story that can restore a bit of faith. I sent Sparkling Ponds Winery near Erie, PA this email the evening of December 1, 2010:

Dear Service Representative,

This evening, we opened a bottle of "Walleye Wobbler" that we purchased from your winery in May of this year. Much to my surprise, the wine bubbled out of the bottle when opened. I knew that the wine was now carbonated, even though it was not in a bottle designed to hold sparkling wine. As I’m sure you are well aware, the wine was not sparkling when we sampled it on our wine trail excursion. We were very fortunate that the wine did not erupt before it was opened. The wine had a very strong yeast flavor and was undrinkable. I’m guessing that I’m not the first person to have this problem.

I no longer have my sales receipt, and I’m surely not going through a lot of headaches over price of a bottle of wine. However, I’m supplying my name and address if you would care to "make this right". I visit a lot of wineries and you’ll receive a good recommendation if this is resolved in a way to satisfy all parties.

Thank you,

[Name, address, phone#]

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To be perfectly honest, I did not expect anything more than a “gift card” (if that) for a bottle of wine, good for a year, if I just happened to be in the area again.

When I arrived home last night, I found a UPS box on my doorstep, which I assumed was something I had ordered for a Christmas gift. To my surprise, I opened it to find a bottle of “Walleye Wobbler” in substantial packaging. It was nicely chilled from being outside, so the spouse and I uncorked it immediately and enjoyed it immensely with dinner.

GREAT customer service and a timely response! A business may not always "get it right", but the best ones will always "make it right"! KUDOS again!

Medsen Fey
12-08-2010, 10:13 AM
You've got me curious to know more about Walleye Wobbler. Can you tell us what it is, and what it's like?

PitBull
12-08-2010, 10:58 AM
You've got me curious to know more about Walleye Wobbler. Can you tell us what it is, and what it's like?

Walleye Wobbler is a tribute to Lake Erie fishing. The walleye is a fairly large fresh water fish (15” min. legal size) that often exceeds 24” in length and 12 pounds. It is mild tasting and absolutely one of the most delicious fresh-water fish you will ever eat. A ”wobbler” is a type of fishing lure.

The wine itself is an off-dry to semi-sweet red. It is quite tasty both chilled or at room temperature. I’m not sure of the variety of grape(s) and don’t believe them to be listed on the bottle. Here's a description. (http://www.faboverfifty.com/ajax/update_faves.php?fave_id=2172&user_id=0&) One is actually encourged to take 5 sips of the wine when you sample it. You would think since it’s a tribute to fishing, it would be a white wine… go figure.

One of the neat things about the Chautauqua-Lake Erie Wine Trail is that almost all the wineries produce a “Reflections of Lake Erie” wine. The winery is free to “ reflect” as it pleases. So the dryness, style, and grape(s) variety may be dramatically different for each winery’s “Reflections of Lake Erie” wine.

dave_witt
12-08-2010, 12:59 PM
I'm more interested in how the winery's going to ensure their wines no longer ferment after bottling, and what the initial issue may have been.

PitBull
12-08-2010, 02:57 PM
I'm more interested in how the winery's going to ensure their wines no longer ferment after bottling, and what the initial issue may have been.
Typically, it's a "one-time" problem due to a malfunctioning filter system. Often a winery will use a sterile filter to remove yeast from their wines that are not fermented to dry. But that one time will involve hundreds of bottles of wine. You can bet they will be keeping a watchful eye on the system in the future.

I once had a "bottle bomb" from Pizzadili Vineyard and Winery in Delaware shoot the cork half way across the room (right through the decorative PVC topper), just before I was leaving the house. If I had literally left one minute earlier, I would have returned to a carpet stained with red wine. They told me it was a filtration problem that had been corrected and they gladly replaced that and several other bottles from that batch. Unfortunately, they did not offer an extra bottle or two for all the trouble of cleaning up the mess. So I cannot give them a sterling recommendation.

Chevette Girl
12-08-2010, 03:29 PM
Well, by your recommendation, I'll look them up if I ever find myself on the OTHER side of Lake Erie! (my grandma's cottage is on this side). Always a good plan to reward better than expected service!

AToE
12-08-2010, 03:30 PM
I'm surprised wineries aren't chemically stabilizing sweet wines, I'm sure that since a wine bottle can't take much pressure the explosion would be less dangerous than if a beer or champagne bottle blew up, but still, it's a risk of injury that seems pretty easy to prevent - especially when compared to their liability risks.

Chevette Girl
12-08-2010, 03:59 PM
The wineries in Niagara on our side do, apparently it's regulated, or at least that's what I was told, although I'm not sure if that's VQA or Ontario's rules, but I was told all commercial Ontario wine will be treated with sulphites.

PitBull
12-08-2010, 05:40 PM
I'm surprised wineries aren't chemically stabilizing sweet wines, I'm sure that since a wine bottle can't take much pressure the explosion would be less dangerous than if a beer or champagne bottle blew up, but still, it's a risk of injury that seems pretty easy to prevent - especially when compared to their liability risks.

They may very well do both. Often accidents are caused by several factors. In this case in could be not enough sorbate plus a filter issue. Maybe somebody installed a polishing instead of a sterile filter. We can only speculate.

However in both "bottle bomb" cases, I'd be willing to bet they learned from their experience and have additional measures in place to prevent it from happening again.

PitBull
12-08-2010, 05:44 PM
The wineries in Niagara on our side do, apparently it's regulated, or at least that's what I was told, although I'm not sure if that's VQA or Ontario's rules, but I was told all commercial Ontario wine will be treated with sulphites.
The spouse and I did the Niagra Wine Trail in 2009. We had a great time and purchased about two cases of wine all told.

Perhaps we'll hit the Finger Lakes area in New York next year.

Chevette Girl
12-16-2010, 02:06 AM
The spouse and I did the Niagra Wine Trail in 2009. We had a great time and purchased about two cases of wine all told.

Perhaps we'll hit the Finger Lakes area in New York next year.

Niagara On The Lake (on the Canadian side) has an awesome winery that does only fruit wines. I visit them whenever I can!