AOC Imports?

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todd waldmann
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Post #1  Postby todd waldmann » July 8th 2013, 6:58pm

I've been getting emails from AOC Imports. Anyone have any dealings/thoughts?
“Burgundy is, well, Burgundy. A minefield of potential disappointments beloved by elitists and pseudo-intellectuals who like to discuss ad nauseam growers and terroirs—not quality.” RMP

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Post #2  Postby Michael Twelftree » July 8th 2013, 8:49pm

Todd,

An email I received last week from Kyle Smith

I had to grab some 2008 Bize Corton Charlemagne, bottles at L’Hotel de Beaune have been amazing on two separate occasions

I hope this helps

MT

First, a quick update. After 15 years as head buyer for Woodland Hills Wine Co., I have left to run private client sales for AOC Fine Wines. Accordingly, my email address has changed to kyle@aocimports.com. My old email, kyle@whwc.com, is no longer valid and was shut down a while back (which might explain why many of you have not been able to reach me as of late). For those who sent me emails in the past month or so that I’ve not replied to, feel free to resend to this address.

I’ve worked closely with AOC over the past several years, as they’ve handled customs clearance for our many overseas purchases. In addition, AOC is the official importer/distributor in various West Coast states for Bachelet, Mugnier, Cathiard, Comte Liger Belar, Maison Ilan, and Simon Bize, just to name a few. In addition, AOC sources various other fine and rare wines to supplement their “core” producers. In my role as Director of Private Client Sales, I will be able to offer these wines directly to the consumer, thereby bypassing the unnecessary additional layer of retail markup. As all AOC sales were previously wholesale only, we do not have our web site up and running yet, though you can expect one to go live shortly.
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Post #3  Postby Martin Steinley » July 9th 2013, 9:05am

Todd, e-mail sent.
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Post #4  Postby scott c l a f f e e » July 9th 2013, 9:28am

I seem to remember getting that email from Kyle, but I can't find it in my inbox. Has he sent out any offers yet?
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Post #5  Postby scamhi » July 9th 2013, 9:36am

2001 Bouchard La Romanee, yesterday
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Post #6  Postby Nathan Smyth » July 9th 2013, 2:39pm

Is Kyle Smith related to the Paul and Carol Smith who own WHWC?

Maybe their son?
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Post #7  Postby todd waldmann » July 9th 2013, 3:07pm

Nathan Smyth wrote:Is Kyle Smith related to the Paul and Carol Smith who own WHWC?

Maybe their son?



Yes.
“Burgundy is, well, Burgundy. A minefield of potential disappointments beloved by elitists and pseudo-intellectuals who like to discuss ad nauseam growers and terroirs—not quality.” RMP

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Post #8  Postby Nathan Smyth » July 9th 2013, 3:54pm

Okay, so they're cool with what he's doing?

'Cause the email which Twelftree posted was a little weird.
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Post #9  Postby Charlie Fu » July 9th 2013, 4:57pm

emailed him to get offers sent, no reply yet :X

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Post #10  Postby Chris Tuttle » July 10th 2013, 8:25am

After dealing with them to get Maison Ilan wine delivered in the past, their ability/desire to return email semi-promptly is lacking. Probably very nice people, but you'll need patience.
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Post #11  Postby Eric Gerber » July 10th 2013, 11:18am

Heard from Kyle this morning. May be worth a re-send if you still don't have a response.
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Post #12  Postby todd waldmann » July 10th 2013, 7:33pm

I find it a little disturbing that Kyle left Woodland Hills, which is owned by his parents, to start a competing business & took "his" (ie: Woodland Hills Wine Club's) email database with him. Am I alone in that opinion?
“Burgundy is, well, Burgundy. A minefield of potential disappointments beloved by elitists and pseudo-intellectuals who like to discuss ad nauseam growers and terroirs—not quality.” RMP

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Post #13  Postby Ryan Caughey » July 10th 2013, 7:41pm

Haven't ordered anything yet, but the offers have been interesting.
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Post #14  Postby Kevin Gray » August 3rd 2013, 9:27pm

todd waldmann wrote:I find it a little disturbing that Kyle left Woodland Hills, which is owned by his parents, to start a competing business & took "his" (ie: Woodland Hills Wine Club's) email database with him. Am I alone in that opinion?


No you are not alone in that opinion. Not only is it disturbing, it seems unethical to me.
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Post #15  Postby Charlie A » August 29th 2013, 7:10pm

Got these emails yesterday and today. Any theories? Anybody order anything through them?

August 28th, 2013

Dear Friends,

It has come to our attention that our email server went down last week while traveling, and it is still not back up and running. We are working diligently to fix the problem, but in the meantime, any communications can be sent to this my personal account, ******. If you have tried emailing us over the past week or so and have not yet received a response, we most likely never received it, please feel free to resend to this address so we can respond appropriately. Once our server comes back on line, we will let you know via our next offer. We have a container shortly with tons of new gems, so stay tuned….

Regards,

Kyle Smith
AOC Imports
_______________________________________________________________________

August 29, 2013

To all customers and vendors of AOC Imports:

This email is to inform you that Kyle Smith is no longer employed by AOC Imports, effective immediately. As the sole owner of AOC Imports, I can assure you that your business is important to me and AOC Imports will continue to provide you with good customer service.

All further communication with AOC imports should be directed to Holly Boyer at ********. If you have any questions about outstanding orders or purchases, please contact me directly.

With respect to any outstanding orders, we accept major credit cards and checks only. Payments should be made payable to “AOC Imports” and directed to the following address:

******

We look forward to our continued relationship with you.


Regards,


Holly Boyer
President, AOC Imports
- Charlie A r t i m e
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Post #16  Postby alan weinberg » August 29th 2013, 7:55pm

just got it. Waiting for Kyle's explanation.
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Post #17  Postby JKim » August 29th 2013, 8:40pm

I got the email too. So much drama. I never bought anything from them but AOC is now on my do not buy from list.
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Post #18  Postby Bill Klapp » August 30th 2013, 5:07am

The subtext of that letter does not bode well for Kyle. He needs to be posting a plausible explanation somewhere. All of this merde seems to be in his lap at the moment, not Woodland Hills or AOC. To paraphrase the now-immortal words of Desi Arnaz, "Kyle, ju got some 'splainin' to do!"
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Post #19  Postby Brady Daniels » August 30th 2013, 5:35am

Ah, bulletin boards. We know nothing, so let's speculate and judge.
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Post #20  Postby NickC » August 30th 2013, 5:44am

I got the email regarding the server, but not the second.
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Post #21  Postby Bill Klapp » August 30th 2013, 6:03am

No, Brady, you are wrong about that. I am neither speculating nor judging. i am saying that Kyle Smith owes his clients an explanation. Some of us, myself included, have bought wine from the Smith family for over a decade (probably two for me at this point). I bought wine from both Paul and Kyle at Woodland Hills. We KNOW that Kyle left the family business, but we do not know why, at least on a collective basis. We KNOW that Kyle went to work for an outfit called AOC Imports a very short time ago, and now he is gone, with the news of his departure coming not from Kyle, but in a terse, very ominously worded letter which dwells on payment methods and details having to do with outstanding orders that were presumably placed with Kyle. It was not a happy sendoff letter.

I wish Kyle nothing but the best, and hope that whatever is going on here is satisfactorily resolved for all concerned. However, enough board members have been screwed by enough retailers over the years that fearing the worst and being pleasantly surprised is the best that wine buyers can ever hope for when it hits the fan. If you prefer blissful ignorance to pressing for facts, you are welcome to it. I have no skin in the AOC Imports game, so I will go pop some popcorn and watch this movie unfold, although I suspect that I have seen it before. I am confident that others on this board do have pending orders placed with Kyle at AOC Imports, and do want to know what is going on here...
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Post #22  Postby Blair Ridley » August 30th 2013, 6:51am

Weird - I received the second letter (about Kyle no longer being employed there) but not the first. I signed up a couple of months ago but never received any e-mail offers. Oh well, my bank account's happy about it!
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Post #23  Postby ed blanc » August 30th 2013, 8:20am

Are Kyle and Holly married? Or at least in some kind of relationship? They bought a house together in 2012.

http://losangeles.blockshopper.com/prop ... quakertown

Kyle worked with Holly and AOC while he was at WHWC; then they bought a house together; then with WHWC's rolodex in tow, he went to work at AOC, from which he was publicly terminated after a few months.

That termination sure must make things awkward at home.

Also, Brent left WHWC in late May, to sell inflatable boats. Related? Coincidence?
Last edited by ed blanc on August 30th 2013, 9:41am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post #24  Postby todd waldmann » August 30th 2013, 9:05am

.
“Burgundy is, well, Burgundy. A minefield of potential disappointments beloved by elitists and pseudo-intellectuals who like to discuss ad nauseam growers and terroirs—not quality.” RMP

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Post #25  Postby todd waldmann » August 30th 2013, 9:35am

Brady Daniels wrote:Ah, bulletin boards. We know nothing, so let's speculate and judge.


So a guy leaves his family business for a new business & starts sending emails from the new business to addresses he acquired during his stint working for the family business. A few months later, he sends an email claiming a broken server is preventing emails from being answered, so customers should remain calm & send any inquiries to his personal email address. What follows is an email from the owner of the business, who is/was this guy's girlfriend, stating that he no longer works for her company & that all emails are to be directed to her.

You're right on Brady. Nothing to see here, that's for sure. It's just a bunch of folks poking their noses in where they don't belong. Everyone should mind their own business & avoid commenting on the goings on at AOC Imports. There has never been a wine business that has imploded & left consumers holding the proverbial bag so we should all just move along.
“Burgundy is, well, Burgundy. A minefield of potential disappointments beloved by elitists and pseudo-intellectuals who like to discuss ad nauseam growers and terroirs—not quality.” RMP

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Post #26  Postby Jay T. » August 30th 2013, 10:30am

I received the email from Holly today out of the blue. I had never previously received anything from Kyle or AOC Imports; I did not even know they existed. I only recently started buying wine from WHWC, although my wine has not shipped yet. If Kyle left WHWC last year, I'm not sure how AOC Imports even got my email address.

Count me among the confused and concerned.
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Post #27  Postby D@v!d P@rt@!n » August 30th 2013, 10:36am

The mail just showed up in my box also. I've never dealt with them other than as the importer of the 2009 Maison Ilan wines. That was a bit rocky, but I got my wine in seemingly good shape. When I saw the initial AOC/Kyle Smith e-mail several months ago I was hoping for a reliable source of Burgundy. Maybe not.
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Post #28  Postby mmarcellus » August 30th 2013, 12:37pm

Just to add another data point...

I've ordered twice from WHWC, both times last year. I have never done any business with AOC. Today, I got the e-mail from Holly, the first e-mail I've ever gotten from AOC, no e-mails have come on the matter from Kyle. The only e-mail I have ever gotten from Kyle was a promotional e-mail in January while he was still with WHWC.

So, regardless of what else has happened, at the end of the day AOC is in possession of at least part of WHWC's e-mail list. I realize that this is not surprising, nevertheless I'm not thrilled about my e-mail address being tossed around like that. Yes, I know this happens all the time, but when it is this obvious and clumsy it makes me wonder how all involved are handling the more sensitive information.
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Post #29  Postby J. Galang » August 30th 2013, 1:09pm

Who ever said wine boards are boring [popcorn.gif]
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Post #30  Postby Berry Crawford » August 30th 2013, 1:14pm

I got the email today as well. I have never heard of AOC imports before that email. That whole things seems beyond shady. You could sense her anger in the email. Weird.
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Post #31  Postby M Champney » August 30th 2013, 1:33pm

ed blanc wrote:Are Kyle and Holly married? Or at least in some kind of relationship? They bought a house together in 2012.

http://losangeles.blockshopper.com/prop ... quakertown

Kyle worked with Holly and AOC while he was at WHWC; then they bought a house together; then with WHWC's rolodex in tow, he went to work at AOC, from which he was publicly terminated after a few months.

That termination sure must make things awkward at home.

Also, Brent left WHWC in late May, to sell inflatable boats. Related? Coincidence?


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Post #32  Postby NickC » August 30th 2013, 1:40pm

whatever happened between Kyle & WHWC, and Kyle and AOC (and Holly?), it surely hasn't been elegantly handled. they'd be wise to come clean and cut the obfuscation, especially as some pending orders are hanging out there surely at this time of year.
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Post #33  Postby A K a I l » August 30th 2013, 3:19pm

NickC wrote:I got the email regarding the server, but not the second.


I got the second, not the first...
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Post #34  Postby scott c l a f f e e » August 30th 2013, 3:41pm

Holly's email was in my spam folder. I got both. Very strange. Add me to the chorus who thinks that someone needs to explain what is going on to assuage the fears of the Burg-soaked masses.
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Post #35  Postby Darryl Priest » August 30th 2013, 3:49pm

I thought it was odd back when I got the first AOC email offer from Kyle. Wondered how they'd gotten my name until I realized it was the same Kyle from WHWC.

Really glad I ignored email offers now, considering the disaster it appears to have become.

Must say that I enjoyed this "I can assure you that your business is important to me and AOC Imports will continue to provide you with good customer service." in the email from Holly and wondered when exactly the 'good' customer service was delivered that could be continued?

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