PSA on Fass Selections - regarding policy on wines over 5 years of age

Tasting notes, varietals, grapes - anything related to wine
Message
Author
User avatar
Alan Rath
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 18879
Joined: April 24th, 2009, 12:45 am
Location: Bay Area, CA. Sometimes out to lunch.

PSA on Fass Selections - regarding policy on wines over 5 years of age

#151 Post by Alan Rath » July 24th, 2018, 8:54 am

Jonathan Loesberg wrote:I have experienced TCA that flattens out the wine, but I have also frequently had John's experience of being able to taste the wine under the TCA. It is quite frustrating. In the cases of people who I know to be TCA insensitive (and some of them were wine geeks), they do quite pointedly taste the wine and are frequently quite happy with it. So whatever makes people TCA sensitive seems connected to the perception of loss of flavor. But all this is highly anecdotal. I really don't know how the genetic connection works.
I'm always flabbergasted that the answers to these questions aren't well understood. If I were a Davis grad student, it seems like such low hanging fruit. But maybe it's not the kind of "research" required of them.
I'm just one lost soul, swimming in a fish bowl, year after year

User avatar
larry schaffer
BerserkerBusiness
BerserkerBusiness
Posts: 7724
Joined: January 28th, 2009, 9:26 am
Location: Santa Ynez Valley, CA

PSA on Fass Selections - regarding policy on wines over 5 years of age

#152 Post by larry schaffer » July 24th, 2018, 9:09 am

Alan,

This certainly is something you can 'suggest' to Andrew Waterhouse at UC Davis. And as far as 'required', that's somewhat based on what you can get funded . . . and the Portuguese government will certainly fund research they think will be 'positive' but not sure they will fund this :-)

It certainly is possible to be 'tested' for TCA thresholds - in fact, if you live in NorCal, Enartis is offering this in early August at their facility in Windsor.

To me, though, even if you can 'taste' the wine under the TCA, it is still 'ruined' in that the aromatics are not what they should be - and it is due to a faulty cork. Simple.

Cheers.
larry schaffer
tercero wines

Jonathan Loesberg
Posts: 1708
Joined: April 27th, 2010, 5:59 am

PSA on Fass Selections - regarding policy on wines over 5 years of age

#153 Post by Jonathan Loesberg » July 24th, 2018, 9:09 am

Alan Rath wrote:
Jonathan Loesberg wrote:I have experienced TCA that flattens out the wine, but I have also frequently had John's experience of being able to taste the wine under the TCA. It is quite frustrating. In the cases of people who I know to be TCA insensitive (and some of them were wine geeks), they do quite pointedly taste the wine and are frequently quite happy with it. So whatever makes people TCA sensitive seems connected to the perception of loss of flavor. But all this is highly anecdotal. I really don't know how the genetic connection works.
I'm always flabbergasted that the answers to these questions aren't well understood. If I were a Davis grad student, it seems like such low hanging fruit. But maybe it's not the kind of "research" required of them.
I don't know what kind of education U.C. Davis oenological students receive, but the answers here would seem to entail research into the biology of genetics of smell and taste that I expect would entail some training in non-wine specific fields. It's also not my impression that understanding genetic links is ever really low hanging fruit. But I agree that it would be nice if someone with the qualifications did research on this. I don't know if there would be any academic reward for doing so, though.

User avatar
larry schaffer
BerserkerBusiness
BerserkerBusiness
Posts: 7724
Joined: January 28th, 2009, 9:26 am
Location: Santa Ynez Valley, CA

PSA on Fass Selections - regarding policy on wines over 5 years of age

#154 Post by larry schaffer » July 24th, 2018, 9:19 am

Jonathan,

But why do research on an issue that has been 'solved' according to the major cork manufacturers? Yep, 'tongue in cheek' here, but as I've stated numerous times above and in here, most consumers have ZERO idea that TCA exists, what it stands for, and/or what it smells like and how it affects wine. And the industry as a whole really seems to not have any impetus to 'educate' them more - period.

If I am wrong, please correct me . . .

Cheers.
larry schaffer
tercero wines

Jonathan Loesberg
Posts: 1708
Joined: April 27th, 2010, 5:59 am

PSA on Fass Selections - regarding policy on wines over 5 years of age

#155 Post by Jonathan Loesberg » July 24th, 2018, 11:32 am

larry schaffer wrote:Jonathan,

But why do research on an issue that has been 'solved' according to the major cork manufacturers? Yep, 'tongue in cheek' here, but as I've stated numerous times above and in here, most consumers have ZERO idea that TCA exists, what it stands for, and/or what it smells like and how it affects wine. And the industry as a whole really seems to not have any impetus to 'educate' them more - period.

If I am wrong, please correct me . . .

Cheers.
The research I was talking about, and I thought Alan was talking about to the extent that he quoted me, was on the genetic bases of TCA sensitivity and what kinds of variation in that sensitivity it causes or influences. That would be a matter of curiosity regardless of its practical applications, as much of the best research is.

User avatar
Alan Rath
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 18879
Joined: April 24th, 2009, 12:45 am
Location: Bay Area, CA. Sometimes out to lunch.

PSA on Fass Selections - regarding policy on wines over 5 years of age

#156 Post by Alan Rath » July 24th, 2018, 12:49 pm

While the variation of TCA sensitivity would be an interesting study (I'm sure there is data on this already, from the labs that do sensory threshold testing), what I was really getting at is the age old question of how TCA affects our perception of wine, particularly when the contamination level is below the minimum sensory threshold for most people. Everyone claims it "strips" the wine at low levels, something that would be trivial to test in blind trials.
I'm just one lost soul, swimming in a fish bowl, year after year

User avatar
larry schaffer
BerserkerBusiness
BerserkerBusiness
Posts: 7724
Joined: January 28th, 2009, 9:26 am
Location: Santa Ynez Valley, CA

PSA on Fass Selections - regarding policy on wines over 5 years of age

#157 Post by larry schaffer » July 24th, 2018, 1:20 pm

Alan,

Not sure this is an 'age old' question except to wine geeks. Most consumers - and many wine geeks - do not pick up TCA at all, either because they have no idea what it is or because they consider themselves 'not sensitive' to it.

There are plenty on this board who most likely could 'self fund' a study and may want to consider doing so . . .

Cheers.
larry schaffer
tercero wines

Brandon J.
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 327
Joined: October 26th, 2015, 11:13 am

PSA on Fass Selections - regarding policy on wines over 5 years of age

#158 Post by Brandon J. » July 24th, 2018, 2:02 pm

Tom Reddick wrote:Eloquent arguments all around, but it is also important to be practical.

The practical fact is that the marketplace expects consumers of high end ageworthy wine to accept the risks of TCA, premox and other conditions unrelated to storage that will only become evident when a bottle is opened, and which in some cases may only emerge or worsen to the point of being noticeable over time.

During my time in retail, it was not unheard of for daily drinking or non-collecting customers to bring back a $10-15 bottle of wine that was corked or badly flawed. We replaced it, no problem. And at this price point, we did not really bother to check if the wine was corked or not. Returns were sufficiently rare, that the better thing to do was just make the customer happy.

In the higher end, returns were very rare- and as someone who is very sensitive to TCA, I can tell you- and this is purely my own experience- that most of the "corked" returns were not corked at all, and in many cases the wines were as I would have expected and perhaps just not what the customer wanted.

Point being- the criterion for determining whether the product is damaged are somewhat subject to the interpretations, palates, and occasionally blatant dishonesty, on either the part of the customer or the merchant- with no realistic and timely way for an objective and expert party to step in and make that determination. This is an important point.

At the end of the day, if you are the person returning high end wine, and especially bottles that you have owned for several years or were library releases from the winery which have some bottle age- then you are at high risk for being dropped from allocation lists or any other form of "favored customer" status. Plus you will often not be told- you will just figure it out after a while (or not, as the case may be.)

I certainly did it- I had enough people clamoring for our top range of wines, that I would drop someone from every list entirely if they tried to return a bottle they bought several years before claiming it was corked. And note that since at the time wine prices were rising dramatically, the handful of people I have in mind did not just want their money back, they wanted a current vintage replacement. So long, farewell... I had no trouble cutting those guys off at the knees. You never tell them, they just notice after a while they are not getting the pre-sale emails anymore.

Like it or not, most of us are perfectly happy with cork and we accept the inherent risks of an organic product that is perishable and will undergo complex chemical reactions for perhaps decades until the bottle is finally opened.

And enough of us are happy with accepting that risk that when some people are not, then someone else is ready to step in and buy the wines.

This is not intended to be harsh- it is just the reality of the situation. One is not required to accept this, but one should also be aware that comes with the risk of being shut out by a retailer altogether in the case of online, or losing your place in line for allocated wines at brick and mortar stores.

It changes when the marketplace changes. Personally, I thought pre-mox might be the phenomenon that would cause enough of a customer backlash to trigger a massive disruption in the case of white burgundy, but even there it has not happened. And a big part of that is that serious connoisseurs realize such a backlash would have the effect of putting many of the best producers out of business entirely resulting in others buying the vineyards- and still no guarantees of a faster solution to the pre-mox issue (or at least the issue at its present rate- pre-mox has always been with us.)
This seems pretty reasonable and to be expected. As I mentioned, 3 months is my limit for owning a wine. If 3 months passes, I feel sheepish even inquiring. This was a bottle I had owned for a few weeks and was a wine Lyle had picked from one of his leftovers. The bottle probably costs him $20 and he's now lost all future business with me and probably a few others since this thread.
John sen

Art R
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 135
Joined: August 14th, 2015, 1:45 pm
Location: Detroit

PSA on Fass Selections - regarding policy on wines over 5 years of age

#159 Post by Art R » July 24th, 2018, 2:08 pm

there are 3 sides to most stories.
Rose

User avatar
Craig G
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 14682
Joined: March 6th, 2011, 10:57 am
Location: Town of Cats

PSA on Fass Selections - regarding policy on wines over 5 years of age

#160 Post by Craig G » July 24th, 2018, 2:14 pm

larry schaffer wrote:There are plenty on this board who most likely could 'self fund' a study and may want to consider doing so . . .
Why not have people post their corked wines for an online study?
“You need to look down to the bottom shelf where they keep the Fighting Cock” — Corey N.

C. Gle@son

User avatar
John Morris
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 16760
Joined: June 21st, 2009, 2:09 pm
Location: Gotham

PSA on Fass Selections - regarding policy on wines over 5 years of age

#161 Post by John Morris » July 24th, 2018, 2:16 pm

Alan Rath wrote:While the variation of TCA sensitivity would be an interesting study (I'm sure there is data on this already, from the labs that do sensory threshold testing), what I was really getting at is the age old question of how TCA affects our perception of wine, particularly when the contamination level is below the minimum sensory threshold for most people. Everyone claims it "strips" the wine at low levels, something that would be trivial to test in blind trials.
You would need to have untainted bottles to make the test work, though, and on average you'd have to open 10 or more bottles to get one corked one. So not cheap to conduct. But I agree it would be a great idea.
"I pencilled in half an hour to suffer fools tomorrow, but now I’m thinking I might bump it out until Monday." -- @duchessgoldblat

“Only he who has walked through the deepest valley knows how other valleys of lesser depth are relatively more walk-throughable, valley-wise.” – @TheTweetOfGod

User avatar
Scott Brunson
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 8804
Joined: November 15th, 2011, 2:55 am
Location: in between coastal SC and south FL

PSA on Fass Selections - regarding policy on wines over 5 years of age

#162 Post by Scott Brunson » July 24th, 2018, 2:25 pm

Craig G wrote:
larry schaffer wrote:There are plenty on this board who most likely could 'self fund' a study and may want to consider doing so . . .
Why not have people post their corked wines for an online study?
Craig--Most people would probably lose track of the thread.
Tous les chemins mènent à la Bourgogne!
On CT, I'm S1

User avatar
Ian Sutton
Posts: 5279
Joined: March 6th, 2014, 2:19 pm
Location: Norwich, UK

PSA on Fass Selections - regarding policy on wines over 5 years of age

#163 Post by Ian Sutton » July 24th, 2018, 2:50 pm

Tom Reddick wrote:
Markus S wrote:
Tom Reddick wrote: I had no trouble cutting those guys off at the knees. You never tell them, they just notice after a while they are not getting the pre-sale emails anymore.
Harsh. Lucky for the consumer there is plenty of wine out there and responsible retailers that actually care an iota for someone who buys from them.
I would say to both you and Ian Sutton that it is rather harsh to make such highly unpleasant assumptions about me and my intentions when I was merely doing what most wine stores do- and with good reason.

Hi Tom
Really?
Please have a re-read of what I said. I don't understand what you mean by unpleasant assumptions when you yourself described "cutting them off at the knees" and "And enough of us are happy with accepting that risk that when some people are not, then someone else is ready to step in and buy the wines".

I'd appreciate knowing what you find offensive in what I wrote.

Regards
Ian
Normal for Norfolk

User avatar
Alan Rath
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 18879
Joined: April 24th, 2009, 12:45 am
Location: Bay Area, CA. Sometimes out to lunch.

PSA on Fass Selections - regarding policy on wines over 5 years of age

#164 Post by Alan Rath » July 24th, 2018, 3:02 pm

John Morris wrote:You would need to have untainted bottles to make the test work, though, and on average you'd have to open 10 or more bottles to get one corked one. So not cheap to conduct. But I agree it would be a great idea.
Not quite: you need untainted bottles, which you will then dose with known quantities of TCA at a range of levels, and ask participants to compare the dosed vs. undosed samples (from the same bottle). Do this multiple times, with multiple bottles, multiple tasters, switching the order they are tasted in, build up statistics, and you have the answer.
I'm just one lost soul, swimming in a fish bowl, year after year

User avatar
Alan Rath
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 18879
Joined: April 24th, 2009, 12:45 am
Location: Bay Area, CA. Sometimes out to lunch.

PSA on Fass Selections - regarding policy on wines over 5 years of age

#165 Post by Alan Rath » July 24th, 2018, 3:06 pm

larry schaffer wrote:To me, though, even if you can 'taste' the wine under the TCA, it is still 'ruined' in that the aromatics are not what they should be - and it is due to a faulty cork. Simple.
Yes, we know that and agree. My point is what about the conventional wisdom that if there's TCA at a lower level such that you can't actually detect its odor, the flavors are "masked" or "stripped" or whatever term people want to use. While I suspect there is truth to this, it's something everyone believes but no one actually knows. I'd like to see demonstrated proof that this is the case.
I'm just one lost soul, swimming in a fish bowl, year after year

User avatar
larry schaffer
BerserkerBusiness
BerserkerBusiness
Posts: 7724
Joined: January 28th, 2009, 9:26 am
Location: Santa Ynez Valley, CA

PSA on Fass Selections - regarding policy on wines over 5 years of age

#166 Post by larry schaffer » July 24th, 2018, 3:14 pm

Craig G wrote:
larry schaffer wrote:There are plenty on this board who most likely could 'self fund' a study and may want to consider doing so . . .
Why not have people post their corked wines for an online study?
But you assume most people know what a corked wine is and can detect it? That is just not the case...
larry schaffer
tercero wines

User avatar
Al Osterheld
Posts: 5478
Joined: March 15th, 2009, 5:47 am
Location: SF Bay

PSA on Fass Selections - regarding policy on wines over 5 years of age

#167 Post by Al Osterheld » July 24th, 2018, 3:19 pm

That won't change the value of the study.

-Al

User avatar
John Morris
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 16760
Joined: June 21st, 2009, 2:09 pm
Location: Gotham

PSA on Fass Selections - regarding policy on wines over 5 years of age

#168 Post by John Morris » July 24th, 2018, 3:22 pm

Alan Rath wrote:
John Morris wrote:You would need to have untainted bottles to make the test work, though, and on average you'd have to open 10 or more bottles to get one corked one. So not cheap to conduct. But I agree it would be a great idea.
Not quite: you need untainted bottles, which you will then dose with known quantities of TCA at a range of levels, and ask participants to compare the dosed vs. undosed samples (from the same bottle). Do this multiple times, with multiple bottles, multiple tasters, switching the order they are tasted in, build up statistics, and you have the answer.
Ah, a much more efficient experimental design than mine. [cheers.gif]
"I pencilled in half an hour to suffer fools tomorrow, but now I’m thinking I might bump it out until Monday." -- @duchessgoldblat

“Only he who has walked through the deepest valley knows how other valleys of lesser depth are relatively more walk-throughable, valley-wise.” – @TheTweetOfGod

Tom Reddick
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 1307
Joined: June 30th, 2009, 9:56 pm
Location: Dallas, TX

PSA on Fass Selections - regarding policy on wines over 5 years of age

#169 Post by Tom Reddick » July 24th, 2018, 8:27 pm

Markus S wrote:
Tom Reddick wrote: Keep in mind please as well the original post. We are not talking about all returns- we are talking about returns of older and/or highly allocated wines. As I have previously stated, when I worked in retail we routinely had returns of inexpensive and/or easily stocked wines- and generally accepted such returns without question. Processing those kinds of returns with distributors was also fairly easy.
Ok, I thought all wine returns were giving the 'cut off the knees' approach.
What I was saying about there being so many more wines out there is that customers shouldn't clamor for the cherries. There is no need to label chase, as there is $hitloads of wine out there. So what if you don't get that rare Musigny or the 25-case Califiornia cab? Nobody cares, except those rich sycophants you want so dearly to impress.

I would not expect a retail store to get a current replacement bottle of any wine. You should only reimburse for the cost of the bottle - not sales tax or shipping either - at the time of purchase. Not fair to the store. Some wineries will send you a current release, which is much appreciated.
Thank you for your reply. I knew when I posted that my position was not going to be popular in some circles, and by not being clear I made it worse. It is not just a simple case of "no soup for you"- these were situations where some pretty unrealistic demands were made based on the current value of the bottle. And that flies in the face of just about every return policy I know of that does exist in any venue. That standard language that goes along the lines of "and in any case liability shall be limited to the original purchase price."

On the cherry chasing- it took me a long time to learn, but it is very good advice. When allocations get that tight- the smallest thing can change it all. A bottle breaks, a case goes missing at the distributor or gets mislabeled. One time years ago, a wholesaler had a particularly rare bottle of burgundy that they were afraid to resell because the glass bottle had an obvious flaw that looked like a large crack. It was holding together fine, but long term- who knows? I ended up buying it and drinking it young at a nice price- but someone somewhere did not get a rare bottle they wanted over that one small issue.

Frankly, I think sharing around the cherries is the most stressful and thankless task many wine merchants face today. It is impossible to please everyone, and even those who are lucky to get some wine often forget there are 10 people on a waiting list for their spot and complain and want more and more and more. When you start throwing return requests into that, it just makes things even worse.

And it does not do the consumer any good to fixate on having those bottles either. Every year there will be some reason you get less or none of something that is just the chance life throws you. Better to enjoy the cherries that come your way and find enjoyment in the rest of a given winemaker's portfolio. It amazes me, for example, that people clamor and kick and scream for a single bottle of Meo Cros Parantoux, but you can easily buy his magnificent Echezeaux for half the price in six packs.
ITB - Cellar appraisals

User avatar
Craig G
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 14682
Joined: March 6th, 2011, 10:57 am
Location: Town of Cats

PSA on Fass Selections - regarding policy on wines over 5 years of age

#170 Post by Craig G » July 24th, 2018, 8:34 pm

Al Osterheld wrote:That won't change the value of the study.
LOL. Exactly.
“You need to look down to the bottom shelf where they keep the Fighting Cock” — Corey N.

C. Gle@son

Tom Reddick
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 1307
Joined: June 30th, 2009, 9:56 pm
Location: Dallas, TX

PSA on Fass Selections - regarding policy on wines over 5 years of age

#171 Post by Tom Reddick » July 24th, 2018, 8:39 pm

Ian Sutton wrote:I would say to both you and Ian Sutton that it is rather harsh to make such highly unpleasant assumptions about me and my intentions when I was merely doing what most wine stores do- and with good reason.

Hi Tom
Really?
Please have a re-read of what I said. I don't understand what you mean by unpleasant assumptions when you yourself described "cutting them off at the knees" and "And enough of us are happy with accepting that risk that when some people are not, then someone else is ready to step in and buy the wines".

I'd appreciate knowing what you find offensive in what I wrote.

Regards
Ian[/quote]


Good evening Ian,

I interpreted the last sentences of your original post to infer that I happily took advantage of opportunities to whittle down the customer list to make allocations easier. Perhaps the strength of my words suggested that- but there is little pleasure in taking someone off lists, and with waiting lists so long it really does not make a difference to remove one person.

It was not just a simple matter of waiting for someone to make one request I did not like and then cutting them out entirely. Rather it is a matter of taking care first and foremost of customers who have some respect for the realities of supply and demand, and who at least show some gratitude for what they get.

The list of people I "cut off at the knees" was quite small- and so perhaps it is just coincidence that those precious few who were unpleasant about absurd return demands also happened to be a pain in the arse in many other ways (I am resisting telling specific stories because even though the store where I once worked is no longer in the high end wine game, there are many eyes and ears online and it is not my place to embarrass individuals- even if anonymously- years after the fact.) So I must ask you to just trust me on that if you will.

I get testy about it because of just how ungrateful people could be when they were getting even 1-2 bottles of something for which I had 10 customers waiting for a chance someday. Some wanted more, some groused about the price and wanted a discount, and the worst were those who wanted only certain vintages and tried to come and go. I did what I could for them- but it is hard to accommodate that and also be fair to those who buy every year.
ITB - Cellar appraisals

Dan.Gord0n
Posts: 2660
Joined: May 10th, 2010, 10:47 am

PSA on Fass Selections - regarding policy on wines over 5 years of age

#172 Post by Dan.Gord0n » July 24th, 2018, 8:56 pm

I think what we are discussing comes down to a difficult "logistical" issue and it is swept under the rug as such....but many of the comments seem to gloss over a few parts to this discussion from the customers standpoint.....assuming of course that the customer is accurate that the bottle is corked....

First, the corked bottle is a defective product and was a defective product from the moment of creation (when the cork was put in the bottle and the finished product created for sale). As a result, what the customer thought they were buying was not in fact what they were buying. Failure of the initial bargain made between buyer and seller.

Second, assuming no recourse to the producer - the producer made a PROFIT on selling a defective product. Why is it appropriate for the producer to make a profit on the sale of a defective product at the expense of the consumer?

Third, assuming no recourse to the wholesaler - the wholesaler made a PROFIT on selling a defective product. Why is it appropriate for the wholesaler to make a profit on the sale of a defective product at the expense of the consumer?

Fourth,assuming no recourse to the retailer - the retailer made a PROFIT on selling a defective product. Why is it appropriate for the retailer to make a profit on the sale of a defective product at the expense of the consumer?

So, in the end, not only is 100% of the LOSS borne by the customer but the entire sales chain has not only covered their costs, but made a PROFIT on the defective product. So many of the arguments on the retailer/producer side come down to the logistics of figuring it out/dealing with it and not what is actually "right" in the transactions and relationship.

Another consideration - various legal and economic theory suggests putting certain burdens of transactions on the parties not only that may be responsible for the burdens but also that are best able to manage for them. I would expect that the sales chain for wine, just like for other products, can manage to the defective rate and have their financial models and pricing reflect that defective rate. I would even assume that there are built in reserves for various production issues, breakage and the like and it would be easy to add defect. I assume it is done for any other manufacturer of consumer products, particularly those that provide warranties. In fact, if it was done regularly and on an industry wide basis, it could likely be insured against as well. Instead of having consumers bear 100% of the risk of each particular defective bottle, producers and the sales chain could manage it and price it into the pricing of every bottle of wine, which would likely just increase by a fraction of 1% given what the return rate would be.

Long way of saying that, whether or not the logistical issue can be solved, I have a fundamental issue with multiple parties "profiting" on the sale of a defective product but yet refusing to make it right or even try to figure out how to partially make it right, particularly when they are in the best position to manage to the issue and manage the risk.
Last edited by Dan.Gord0n on July 24th, 2018, 9:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Dan.Gord0n
Posts: 2660
Joined: May 10th, 2010, 10:47 am

PSA on Fass Selections - regarding policy on wines over 5 years of age

#173 Post by Dan.Gord0n » July 24th, 2018, 9:06 pm

If a person gets tossed from an allocation list or mailing list because they are truly a pain in the ass, make unreasonable demands, take advantage, etc., then that is one thing, but for someone to get tossed from a list or considered a pain in the ass for trying to return a defective bottle of wine in my opinion is not appropriate - sure they shouldn't be obnoxious about it or demand current value, but I don't believe it is fair or right for a retailer or producer to take a negative action against a person for doing that - which of course is what pretty much 100% of the people in the US would do for pretty much any product that they purchase which is defective...hmm, I guess other than wine....the fruit that you buy turns out to be rotten, the supermarket takes it back...a shirt has a tear in the seam, the clothing store takes it back, the picture on the tv is fuzzy, the electronics store takes it back, etc. Of course, the manager of the list can do whatever they want to do and toss anyone for any reason, but that doesn't make it the right thing to do.

User avatar
c fu
Moderator
<dfn>Moderator</dfn>
Posts: 30834
Joined: January 27th, 2009, 1:26 pm
Location: Pasadena

PSA on Fass Selections - regarding policy on wines over 5 years of age

#174 Post by c fu » July 24th, 2018, 9:18 pm

Dan.Gord0n wrote:If a person gets tossed from an allocation list or mailing list because they are truly a pain in the ass, make unreasonable demands, take advantage, etc., then that is one thing, but for someone to get tossed from a list or considered a pain in the ass for trying to return a defective bottle of wine in my opinion is not appropriate - sure they shouldn't be obnoxious about it or demand current value, but I don't believe it is fair or right for a retailer or producer to take a negative action against a person for doing that - which of course is what pretty much 100% of the people in the US would do for pretty much any product that they purchase which is defective...hmm, I guess other than wine....the fruit that you buy turns out to be rotten, the supermarket takes it back...a shirt has a tear in the seam, the clothing store takes it back, the picture on the tv is fuzzy, the electronics store takes it back, etc. Of course, the manager of the list can do whatever they want to do and toss anyone for any reason, but that doesn't make it the right thing to do.
I thought this was the point of the thread, not "should retailers take back corked wine"
Ch@rlie F|_|
"Roulot is Roulot"©

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/clayfu.wine

User avatar
Brian G r a f s t r o m
Posts: 18181
Joined: February 3rd, 2009, 12:54 am
Location: westside

PSA on Fass Selections - regarding policy on wines over 5 years of age

#175 Post by Brian G r a f s t r o m » July 24th, 2018, 10:22 pm

Alan Rath wrote:
larry schaffer wrote:To me, though, even if you can 'taste' the wine under the TCA, it is still 'ruined' in that the aromatics are not what they should be - and it is due to a faulty cork. Simple.
Yes, we know that and agree. My point is what about the conventional wisdom that if there's TCA at a lower level such that you can't actually detect its odor, the flavors are "masked" or "stripped" or whatever term people want to use. While I suspect there is truth to this, it's something everyone believes but no one actually knows. I'd like to see demonstrated proof that this is the case.
*Assuming the "problem" was TCA,* this has happened to me on multiple occasions, two of which I felt I had "definitive" proof.

Recently felt this was the problem with a 2008 Domaine Billard-Gonnet Pommard 1er Cru Rugiens-Bas. Immediately pulled a second bottle, and bottle #2 showed more like I would expect a non-tainted bottle to show.

Years ago, same problem with a 2007 Luis Pato Vinho Regional Beiras Vinhas Velhas. Brought it back to the store. Bought a second bottle. Store owner and I tasted the side-by-side; we agreed bottle #1 was tainted with low-level TCA, as bottle #2 was far more expressive and as-expected.

I generally start suspecting low-level TCA of this type when I taste a wine and I get the impression I'm trying to taste a wine with a cold, and I don't have a cold.
Los Angeles Workers' Compensation and Personal Injury

“All these characters spend their time explaining themselves, and happily recognizing that they hold the same opinions … how important they consider it to think the same things all together.” --- A.R.

CT handle: grafstrb

Tom G l a s g o w
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 4696
Joined: February 19th, 2010, 2:01 pm

PSA on Fass Selections - regarding policy on wines over 5 years of age

#176 Post by Tom G l a s g o w » July 25th, 2018, 6:40 am

Dan.Gord0n wrote:If a person gets tossed from an allocation list or mailing list because they are truly a pain in the ass, make unreasonable demands, take advantage, etc., then that is one thing, but for someone to get tossed from a list or considered a pain in the ass for trying to return a defective bottle of wine in my opinion is not appropriate - sure they shouldn't be obnoxious about it or demand current value, but I don't believe it is fair or right for a retailer or producer to take a negative action against a person for doing that - which of course is what pretty much 100% of the people in the US would do for pretty much any product that they purchase which is defective...hmm, I guess other than wine....the fruit that you buy turns out to be rotten, the supermarket takes it back...a shirt has a tear in the seam, the clothing store takes it back, the picture on the tv is fuzzy, the electronics store takes it back, etc. Of course, the manager of the list can do whatever they want to do and toss anyone for any reason, but that doesn't make it the right thing to do.
These are all obvious defects discovered immediately upon purchase of currrent release items. Lyles problem is he may not have made the policy clear to the OP. There are lots of things people buy as is, where is: houses, cars, RVs, etc.

Dan.Gord0n
Posts: 2660
Joined: May 10th, 2010, 10:47 am

PSA on Fass Selections - regarding policy on wines over 5 years of age

#177 Post by Dan.Gord0n » July 25th, 2018, 7:21 am

Tom G l a s g o w wrote:
Dan.Gord0n wrote:If a person gets tossed from an allocation list or mailing list because they are truly a pain in the ass, make unreasonable demands, take advantage, etc., then that is one thing, but for someone to get tossed from a list or considered a pain in the ass for trying to return a defective bottle of wine in my opinion is not appropriate - sure they shouldn't be obnoxious about it or demand current value, but I don't believe it is fair or right for a retailer or producer to take a negative action against a person for doing that - which of course is what pretty much 100% of the people in the US would do for pretty much any product that they purchase which is defective...hmm, I guess other than wine....the fruit that you buy turns out to be rotten, the supermarket takes it back...a shirt has a tear in the seam, the clothing store takes it back, the picture on the tv is fuzzy, the electronics store takes it back, etc. Of course, the manager of the list can do whatever they want to do and toss anyone for any reason, but that doesn't make it the right thing to do.
These are all obvious defects discovered immediately upon purchase of currrent release items. Lyles problem is he may not have made the policy clear to the OP. There are lots of things people buy as is, where is: houses, cars, RVs, etc.
I don't think that the wine industry should get a pass because people do what is intended with fine wine and cellar it for a while. The wine industry has to understand that it is part and parcel of what they are selling - the proper and intended use is to wait until it has aged (at least with fine wine). Almost as if a producer is telling you that you are spending more on their wine because it is a "great" wine and as a result their wine will be best in 8-10yrs but too bad if it is defective because they only take returns in the first year or two (sounds pretty consumer unfriendly to me!!). Many goods have multi-year warranties and many industries have no problems with providing appropriate warranties to their customers to match the intended use of their goods. The wine industry has merely "chosen" not to do it on a uniform basis and chosen to benefit relative to the consumer through this lack of uniformity (though I bet that many producers will take care of someone with a corked bottle no matter where they purchased the wine because they have taken it upon themselves to stand behind their product).

When transactions are as is, where is, it is disclosed clearly and prominently at the time of the transactions (i.e., on its face and not buried in fine print in a different location on the website or, for retailers, not even posted at the time of sale, but on their website which is not being used for the sale) - this is needed to be even more prominent in the wine industry because it is an outlier among retail goods if bottles cannot be returned for being defective.

User avatar
Robert.A.Jr.
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 21327
Joined: January 28th, 2010, 5:03 am
Location: Orlando, Florida

PSA on Fass Selections - regarding policy on wines over 5 years of age

#178 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » July 25th, 2018, 8:12 am

What if is a 20+ year Bordeaux? Can it be returned at the 20-year mark if corked?

"@lf3rt was clearly raised in an outhouse in the Loire. . . ."

Kenny H (circa 2015)

User avatar
Craig G
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 14682
Joined: March 6th, 2011, 10:57 am
Location: Town of Cats

PSA on Fass Selections - regarding policy on wines over 5 years of age

#179 Post by Craig G » July 25th, 2018, 8:27 am

Dan.Gord0n wrote:If a person gets tossed from an allocation list or mailing list because they are truly a pain in the ass, make unreasonable demands, take advantage, etc., then that is one thing, but for someone to get tossed from a list or considered a pain in the ass for trying to return a defective bottle of wine in my opinion is not appropriate - sure they shouldn't be obnoxious about it or demand current value, but I don't believe it is fair or right for a retailer or producer to take a negative action against a person for doing that - which of course is what pretty much 100% of the people in the US would do for pretty much any product that they purchase which is defective...hmm, I guess other than wine....the fruit that you buy turns out to be rotten, the supermarket takes it back...a shirt has a tear in the seam, the clothing store takes it back, the picture on the tv is fuzzy, the electronics store takes it back, etc. Of course, the manager of the list can do whatever they want to do and toss anyone for any reason, but that doesn't make it the right thing to do.
The cases Tom is talking about may be very different from other products. If you have a DRC, Rousseau, etc. allocation at a normal markup, you are getting a product at a significant discount to market price. In that situation, if the seller has no recourse for flawed bottles, why should they pay the cost? If I were that seller, I would drop complainers too. They have lots of people waiting in line for that spot on their list.
“You need to look down to the bottom shelf where they keep the Fighting Cock” — Corey N.

C. Gle@son

User avatar
D@vid Bu3ker
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 33142
Joined: February 14th, 2009, 8:06 am
Location: Connecticut

PSA on Fass Selections - regarding policy on wines over 5 years of age

#180 Post by D@vid Bu3ker » July 25th, 2018, 8:34 am

Craig G wrote:The cases Tom is talking about may be very different from other products. If you have a DRC, Rousseau, etc. allocation at a normal markup, you are getting a product at a significant discount to market price. In that situation, if the seller has no recourse for flawed bottles, why should they pay the cost? If I were that seller, I would drop complainers too. They have lots of people waiting in line for that spot on their list.
Right. They've got plenty of people who will happily drink that corked bottle of La Tache!

(morons...)
David Bueker - Rieslingfan

Jonathan Loesberg
Posts: 1708
Joined: April 27th, 2010, 5:59 am

PSA on Fass Selections - regarding policy on wines over 5 years of age

#181 Post by Jonathan Loesberg » July 25th, 2018, 8:59 am

So here are all the levels that knowingly produce or sell cork as a closure for wines:

1) The people who produce cork and sell it to winemakers and bottlers. They know that some of their corks will taint wine.

2)The winemakers and bottlers ,who use cork, knowing that some percentage will taint the wine.

3)The importers (in the case of foreign wines), who import such wines.

4) The various distributors in the Three Schnook US system, who buy such wine to sell to wine stores.

5) The wine stores, who sell the wine to consumers.

6)The consumers, who knowingly buy such wine.

If the first level in the system, the producers, or the last level, the consumers, isn't the responsible party, can someone tell me why any of those middle levels--as opposed to any other of them, bears more responsibility for knowingly using, selling or buying a produce with a known failure rate?

User avatar
Matt Snow
Posts: 268
Joined: May 13th, 2009, 5:19 pm
Location: Boston, MA

PSA on Fass Selections - regarding policy on wines over 5 years of age

#182 Post by Matt Snow » July 25th, 2018, 12:20 pm

So, what can we conclude from this heated discussion?

1. There are plenty of wine consumers who will just accept corked bottles as “nobody’s fault,” shrug, and move on.

2. There are also plenty of wine consumers who view a corked wine as a flawed product, no different from spoiled milk or a laptop that is DOA. These consumers expect that a retailer who sold the flawed product will take the return, though for some that expectation may diminish if a long time has elapsed since the purchase.

3. Some consumers in group 2 may still not return corked wines all that often, particularly low-value bottles, given the hassle of identifying where and when the wine was purchased and the diminishing expectation of repayment over time. (I would put myself in this group: I fully expect that a retailer should accept a corked wine without question for return, and have never been disappointed in this expectation, but have not actually asked for such a refund in more than 5 years.)

4. There is a subset of retailers who do not think customers are entitled to refunds on corked bottles, and who may mistakenly believe that the market supports this view (Tom Reddick). However, given my experiences, those of the other “group 2” consumers who expect refunds and are rarely disappointed, and those of the retailers who accept such returns and have so posted on this thread, the market in fact is for retailers to provide such refunds without question.

5. This does result in retailers bearing some degree of risk. Refunds may not be provided all the way up the supply chain (though the weight of views on this thread is that they usually are), and even if they are, on older bottles the retailer either absorbs the cost of having carried the bottle in inventory for a long time or, if the retailer has more recently purchased the bottle second-hand, will recover only a smaller amount from someone higher up the supply chain.

6. A corollary of the last point is that (contrary to typical practice and to consumer expectations as stated in #2 above) retailers should be *happier* about accepting returns of bottles purchased long ago than returns of recently purchased bottles of the same vintage. If a bottle purchased long ago is refunded at the original purchase price, the up-chain refund available to the retailer is likely to be closer to the price she has to refund.

7. The fact that group 1 customers mostly do not seek refunds means that retailers do not have to figure into their pricing the full risk inherent in selling corked bottles. This is an economically neutral fact, though perhaps beneficial both to the retailers and to the group 2 consumers whose refund requests are easier to satisfy. However, the failure of customers routinely to return corked wines also means that the full cost of producing corked wines is not borne by the producers. Economically, this means that improvements in conditions or technology to reduce cork taint that would be efficient in a full-costing model do not occur because the full cost is not borne by the producer – the only person in a position to make those improvements.

-- Matt

User avatar
Matt Snow
Posts: 268
Joined: May 13th, 2009, 5:19 pm
Location: Boston, MA

PSA on Fass Selections - regarding policy on wines over 5 years of age

#183 Post by Matt Snow » July 25th, 2018, 12:56 pm

Jonathan Loesberg wrote:So here are all the levels that knowingly produce or sell cork as a closure for wines:

1) The people who produce cork and sell it to winemakers and bottlers. They know that some of their corks will taint wine.

2)The winemakers and bottlers ,who use cork, knowing that some percentage will taint the wine.

3)The importers (in the case of foreign wines), who import such wines.

4) The various distributors in the Three Schnook US system, who buy such wine to sell to wine stores.

5) The wine stores, who sell the wine to consumers.

6)The consumers, who knowingly buy such wine.

If the first level in the system, the producers, or the last level, the consumers, isn't the responsible party, can someone tell me why any of those middle levels--as opposed to any other of them, bears more responsibility for knowingly using, selling or buying a produce with a known failure rate?
Jonathan, I take it that your rhetorical question is intended to suggest that no one at level 2-5 in your model ought to be responsible for the cork taint. Let me lay out a similar economic model and see whether you have the same reaction:

1) Takata manufactured a defective airbag

2) Honda Motor Co. Ltd. installed the defective airbag in a CR-Z built in Japan

3) American Honda Motor Co., Inc. (Honda USA) bought the car from Honda Motor Co. Ltd. for sale in the US

4) A Honda dealer in suburban Atlanta bought the car from Honda USA

5) American Honda Finance Corp. bought the car from the dealer and leased it to ...

6) ... a student at Clayton State University in Morrow, GA, where the airbag spontaneously deployed at a stoplight, lacing the driver with shrapnel and leaving her hospitalized for months and permanently disabled.

So, to go back to your question, who is the responsible party? Is it the driver, who presumably knew that some percentage of car parts are defective? Or is it everyone else all the way back up the supply chain, but with the final liability most likely to reside with the manufacturer who installed the defective airbag, turning an otherwise perfectly good car into a death trap?

-- Matt

Jonathan Loesberg
Posts: 1708
Joined: April 27th, 2010, 5:59 am

PSA on Fass Selections - regarding policy on wines over 5 years of age

#184 Post by Jonathan Loesberg » July 25th, 2018, 1:07 pm

There is one important difference here: no one up or down the line knew the airbag had a likelihood of being defective until the accident happened. Nor indeed is it a condition of airbags that some of them just will, as a law of nature, be defective. Now, in a lawsuit, Honda, as the deep pocket and the entity that does guarantee the quality of the whole car, would be the one who would be sued. But iff airbags had a widely known 5% catastrophic failure rate, I doubt it would be allowable to be used in a car and Honda would be obviously negligent even for installing it, assuming it were even still made. Perhaps your argument should be that cork should be considered as if it were an airbag with a known 5% catastrophic failure rate and it should not be legal or be used at all. Or perhaps, you should consider like a handgun with a known statistically likely propensity to cause accidental or illegal deaths. So far gunmaker suits have been only variously successful.

Jayson Cohen
Posts: 1916
Joined: July 9th, 2016, 4:29 pm
Location: New York, NY

PSA on Fass Selections - regarding policy on wines over 5 years of age

#185 Post by Jayson Cohen » July 25th, 2018, 6:48 pm

Jonathan Loesberg wrote:There is one important difference here: no one up or down the line knew the airbag had a likelihood of being defective until the accident happened. Nor indeed is it a condition of airbags that some of them just will, as a law of nature, be defective. Now, in a lawsuit, Honda, as the deep pocket and the entity that does guarantee the quality of the whole car, would be the one who would be sued. But iff airbags had a widely known 5% catastrophic failure rate, I doubt it would be allowable to be used in a car and Honda would be obviously negligent even for installing it, assuming it were even still made. Perhaps your argument should be that cork should be considered as if it were an airbag with a known 5% catastrophic failure rate and it should not be legal or be used at all. Or perhaps, you should consider like a handgun with a known statistically likely propensity to cause accidental or illegal deaths. So far gunmaker suits have been only variously successful.
The handgun analogy doesn’t work here because while the handgun always has the propensity to be dangerous, the dangerous user typically makes it so and I’m assuming in your analogy that the seller doesn’t know who the dangerous users are or if he sells to any potentially dangerous user. Corks present a somewhat different non-analogous problem: If it has TCA, it will ruin the wine in whole or part, and for purposes of the discussion here, the appearance of a problem cork is random but certain and known to occur.

If posed as a legal question from the perspective of tort law or even the application of law and economics to tort law, who assumes the risk for the spoilage by corks and its consequences (sometimes called property and liability rules in the classic law and econ lit) are normative issues on which reasonable people and societies may disagree. There is no right answer but there are consequences to the choice. Unlike the legal context, here there is no legal imposition dictating what to do or what happens. It’s up to the retailer to choose so the retailer gets to be the Judge or legislature effectively and set the rules with respect to its customers. I could lay out what the various property and liability rules are —they’ve pretty much all been discussed — but no one cares enough so I’ll stop there.

User avatar
Markus S
Posts: 6058
Joined: May 20th, 2010, 7:27 am

PSA on Fass Selections - regarding policy on wines over 5 years of age

#186 Post by Markus S » July 25th, 2018, 7:00 pm

Jayson Cohen wrote:
Jonathan Loesberg wrote:There is one important difference here: no one up or down the line knew the airbag had a likelihood of being defective until the accident happened. Nor indeed is it a condition of airbags that some of them just will, as a law of nature, be defective. Now, in a lawsuit, Honda, as the deep pocket and the entity that does guarantee the quality of the whole car, would be the one who would be sued. But iff airbags had a widely known 5% catastrophic failure rate, I doubt it would be allowable to be used in a car and Honda would be obviously negligent even for installing it, assuming it were even still made. Perhaps your argument should be that cork should be considered as if it were an airbag with a known 5% catastrophic failure rate and it should not be legal or be used at all. Or perhaps, you should consider like a handgun with a known statistically likely propensity to cause accidental or illegal deaths. So far gunmaker suits have been only variously successful.
The handgun analogy doesn’t work here because while the handgun always has the propensity to be dangerous, the dangerous user typically makes it so and I’m assuming in your analogy that the seller doesn’t know who the dangerous users are or if he sells to any potentially dangerous user.
I think Jonathan's analogy makes perfect sense. There is a Brazilian manufacturer of a handgun which is known to be defective and has accidentally killed and maimed users but remains on the market because the (Federal) government cannot by law recall the product and the company selling it refuses to take it off the market despite its known defects. So here you have a dangerous product even when being used correctly.
$ _ € ® e . k @

Jayson Cohen
Posts: 1916
Joined: July 9th, 2016, 4:29 pm
Location: New York, NY

PSA on Fass Selections - regarding policy on wines over 5 years of age

#187 Post by Jayson Cohen » July 25th, 2018, 8:17 pm

I missed that in Jonathan’s comparison. That’s definitely closer though more extreme and still not apt IMO TCA doesn’t cause physical harm or death. The ethical issues and cost/effect of the defect are very different.

User avatar
Al Osterheld
Posts: 5478
Joined: March 15th, 2009, 5:47 am
Location: SF Bay

PSA on Fass Selections - regarding policy on wines over 5 years of age

#188 Post by Al Osterheld » July 25th, 2018, 9:05 pm

I think Jayson's point is that if transactions were frictionless, it wouldn't matter who bears the liability because one party or another would build it into their economic decisions which would then be transferred to the economic decisions of the other parties. But, transactions aren't frictionless, so the liability decision does have consequences, and different people and societies disagree who should bear the cost.

-Al

P. ONeill
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 496
Joined: February 1st, 2009, 5:06 pm

PSA on Fass Selections - regarding policy on wines over 5 years of age

#189 Post by P. ONeill » July 25th, 2018, 9:17 pm

Man, if you're a crisis management or brand reputation consultant, this thread is pure gold.

What starts as a comment about a particular retailer's customer service practices rapidly mutates into a freewheeling and utterly random series of conversations that Ralph Nader would be proud of.

Mr. Fass.....keep keeping your head down. Pretty soon we'll be on to 3d firearms and consequential liability and you'll be forgotten about completely.
"P" --> P_e_t_e_r.

User avatar
jcoley3
Posts: 14943
Joined: January 31st, 2009, 3:31 pm
Location: Kansas City

PSA on Fass Selections - regarding policy on wines over 5 years of age

#190 Post by jcoley3 » July 25th, 2018, 10:03 pm

Al Osterheld wrote:That won't change the value of the study.

-Al
This is the 'Indie Film Nominated for Best Oscar' equivalent for POTY.
Jim Coley ITB

"So I say, like Ortega y Gasset, that when a lot of people agree on something, it's either a stupid idea or a beautiful woman." - Alvaro Mutis

"You could spend a lot more money, and not get a better Burgundy...” - Carlo Rossi

Tom Reddick
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 1307
Joined: June 30th, 2009, 9:56 pm
Location: Dallas, TX

PSA on Fass Selections - regarding policy on wines over 5 years of age

#191 Post by Tom Reddick » July 25th, 2018, 10:38 pm

Matt Snow wrote:4. There is a subset of retailers who do not think customers are entitled to refunds on corked bottles, and who may mistakenly believe that the market supports this view (Tom Reddick). However, given my experiences, those of the other “group 2” consumers who expect refunds and are rarely disappointed, and those of the retailers who accept such returns and have so posted on this thread, the market in fact is for retailers to provide such refunds without question.

7. The fact that group 1 customers mostly do not seek refunds means that retailers do not have to figure into their pricing the full risk inherent in selling corked bottles. This is an economically neutral fact, though perhaps beneficial both to the retailers and to the group 2 consumers whose refund requests are easier to satisfy. However, the failure of customers routinely to return corked wines also means that the full cost of producing corked wines is not borne by the producers. Economically, this means that improvements in conditions or technology to reduce cork taint that would be efficient in a full-costing model do not occur because the full cost is not borne by the producer – the only person in a position to make those improvements.
-- Matt
With regards to #4- please do not deliberately misrepresent my position, nor my statements about the marketplace in general. As I have clearly stated, my comments are restricted to highly allocated and/or older bottles that are not easily or practicably replaced or refundable all the way back to the producer.

On #7, I think you hit precisely on the "elephant in the room". I never have had any issues with refunding or replacing a corked bottle of wine that was not highly allocated or old - which covers 95%+ of most of a wine store's stock. And I have never heard locally of a merchant that refuses to replace a corked bottle under similar circumstances.

Even so, the return rate is shockingly low. Thinking back on my tasting note history, the vast majority of corked bottles were very inexpensive- and especially concentrated among some of the cheapest sparkling wines. Yes I have had corked DRC- but that is quite rare, and if one accepts the general rule of 5% corked- then I would have to think at LEAST 5% of inexpensive daily drinkers are corked to some degree.

That said, I would estimate that during my time in retail I would easily sell at least 100 bottles of wine a day on my shift. And returns of corked bottles were quite rare- I would say maybe once every two weeks at the most. At 5 shifts a week, every two weeks I would have sold about 1,000 bottles of wine for every 1 bottle that was returned for being corked- whereas that number should be 50 or higher if the 5% figure is applied.

I do not think it is entirely a question of people not wanting to bother- a lot of people are not sensitive to TCA, plus TCA levels can vary. For my palate, any TCA I find pretty much ruins the bottle for me- even though I can tell that the degree of presence relative to the other elements of the wine does vary. But I have been at many tastings where slight to moderate TCA levels did not bother other tasters.

So, the current marketplace (which does generally incorporate returns of the bread and butter stock) can manage without adjustment. However, if every TCA-tainted bottle, or even half of them, were to be returned- it would require some serious business model re-engineering across the board.
ITB - Cellar appraisals

User avatar
D@vid Bu3ker
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 33142
Joined: February 14th, 2009, 8:06 am
Location: Connecticut

PSA on Fass Selections - regarding policy on wines over 5 years of age

#192 Post by D@vid Bu3ker » July 26th, 2018, 5:05 am

Tom Reddick wrote:[Yes I have had corked DRC- but that is quite rare...
Almost nobody drinks them. Instead they are just passed along a chain of investors until some poor sucker gets the bad bottle of La Tache that he actually wants to drink.
David Bueker - Rieslingfan

User avatar
Robert.A.Jr.
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 21327
Joined: January 28th, 2010, 5:03 am
Location: Orlando, Florida

PSA on Fass Selections - regarding policy on wines over 5 years of age

#193 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » July 26th, 2018, 5:54 am

D@vid Bu3ker wrote:
Tom Reddick wrote:[Yes I have had corked DRC- but that is quite rare...
Almost nobody drinks them. Instead they are just passed along a chain of investors until some poor sucker gets the bad bottle of La Tache that he actually wants to drink.
And is too afraid or embarassed to admit to his wife that it is corked? [wow.gif]

"@lf3rt was clearly raised in an outhouse in the Loire. . . ."

Kenny H (circa 2015)

Jonathan Loesberg
Posts: 1708
Joined: April 27th, 2010, 5:59 am

PSA on Fass Selections - regarding policy on wines over 5 years of age

#194 Post by Jonathan Loesberg » July 26th, 2018, 7:19 am

Although I am grateful for Marcus' defense, I had no knowledge of the Brazilian manufacturer and can't claim credit for it. Jayson's objection has merit and refuting it would take us dangerously close to political argument. But the point of my analogy was not that flawed handgun users kill people but that handguns enable some statistically predictable number of users to kill people and the flaw is inherent in the product (especially in the case of accidental death). The analogy is far from perfect, but its point was that we know going in that corks are a flawed product. If we allow it on the market, indeed to some extent for some consumers, insist on it, I don't believe we should blame the middle men in the system.

User avatar
Ian Sutton
Posts: 5279
Joined: March 6th, 2014, 2:19 pm
Location: Norwich, UK

PSA on Fass Selections - regarding policy on wines over 5 years of age

#195 Post by Ian Sutton » July 26th, 2018, 10:13 am

Hi Tom
If it was the "demanding a sweetener" ones who were cut off at the knees then I fully understand. I'd read your post as relating anyone who returned a corked mature bottle seeking a refund or replacement.
Regards
Ian
Normal for Norfolk

User avatar
Matt Snow
Posts: 268
Joined: May 13th, 2009, 5:19 pm
Location: Boston, MA

PSA on Fass Selections - regarding policy on wines over 5 years of age

#196 Post by Matt Snow » July 26th, 2018, 10:59 am

Jonathan Loesberg wrote:
Matt Snow wrote:
So…who is the responsible party? Is it the driver, who presumably knew that some percentage of car parts are defective? Or is it everyone else all the way back up the supply chain, but with the final liability most likely to reside with the manufacturer who installed the defective airbag, turning an otherwise perfectly good car into a death trap?
(emphasis supplied)


There is one important difference here: no one up or down the line knew the airbag had a likelihood of being defective until the accident happened. Nor indeed is it a condition of airbags that some of them just will, as a law of nature, be defective.
Jonathan, I disagree with your premise, and think you are dodging the very point my example was designed to test, namely: Where the customer knows that some percentage of products sold are defective, does the customer assume the risk of that defect, or does the customer have the right to insist on receiving a non-defective product?

It is just as true with cars as with wine that we know some will be defective (in a variety of ways). The frequency of damaging airbag defects thankfully is much lower than the frequency of corked wines, but that is a mere matter of degree that should have no bearing on the question of who ought to bear the risk of the defective product.

Speaking to the US, the legal answer, in almost every area, is that the manufacturer bears the risk, not the consumer. In the automobile industry, where a defect may cause serious injury, that function is accomplished relatively effectively by our tort law system (subject to debate over economic efficiency). In the context of car defects that do not cause injury, we have lemon laws. In the general consumer product marketplace we have federal and state consumer protection statutes that at least push the liability back to the retailer, and the retailer by contract or insurance can re-allocate that exposure. (One notable area, since it came up on the thread, where we by statute insulate the manufacturer from a large class of injuries caused by its products, is firearms. If the only question were intervening cause, firearms manufacturers would lose liability suits with some frequency, as they did prior to the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act.)

But to get back to my example, if we can agree it is right that the car manufacturer bears the liability for selling a car that happens to have a defect, when it was entirely predictable that some percentage of cars would have such a defect, why is it not right that the winery should likewise bear the liability for selling a defective bottle? And, isn’t it the most economically efficient result to place the liability with the manufacturer, since in each case the manufacturer is likely in the best position to reduce the incidence of defects in the first place?
Jayson Cohen wrote:If posed as a legal question from the perspective of tort law or even the application of law and economics to tort law, who assumes the risk for the spoilage by corks and its consequences (sometimes called property and liability rules in the classic law and econ lit) are normative issues on which reasonable people and societies may disagree. There is no right answer but there are consequences to the choice. Unlike the legal context, here there is no legal imposition dictating what to do or what happens. It’s up to the retailer to choose so the retailer gets to be the Judge or legislature effectively and set the rules with respect to its customers. I could lay out what the various property and liability rules are —they’ve pretty much all been discussed — but no one cares enough so I’ll stop there.
Al Osterheld wrote:I think Jayson's point is that if transactions were frictionless, it wouldn't matter who bears the liability because one party or another would build it into their economic decisions which would then be transferred to the economic decisions of the other parties. But, transactions aren't frictionless, so the liability decision does have consequences, and different people and societies disagree who should bear the cost.
That wasn’t the point I took Jayson to be making, but I’ll disagree a bit both with what you said and with what I understood him to be saying. :)

The concept of friction has a bearing on my observation above about customers choosing not to return wine even where they think they have a right to, and Tom Reddick’s observation that even where he thought a wine was flawless he would accept the return if it was low-cost to him. It is not, however, the major factor that undermines market efficiency in the model we are discussing. The much more significant factor is information – i.e., lack of transparency both as to the rule for allocating liability and as to the presence of the defect.

If we could see which bottles were corked, or even reliably estimate the percentage of wines from a particular producer or bottling that would be corked, then consumers could figure that information into their pricing decisions; the corked wines would be less valuable; producers would be paid less for corked wines; and so even in a system where the risk of cork taint is placed on the consumer there would be an appropriate incentive for producers to make production decisions in a manner that took account of the actual cost of the defect.

Since we do not know until the bottle is opened, the best model is a system that, after opening, passes the cost back to the producer, so that producers have (closest to) the correct incentives. I take Jayson to be conceding that the different models create different incentives when he says that from the law and econ perspective “there are consequences to the choice” of who bears the liability. But then I don’t understand his suggestion that this is a “normative issue[] on which reasonable people can disagree.” The appropriate normative principle from the perspective of law and econ would be to choose the rule that creates economically efficient incentives, and if you concede that different models create different incentives, I don’t think you can without further analysis write off the difference as something on which reasonable minds can differ.

-- Matt

User avatar
Matt Snow
Posts: 268
Joined: May 13th, 2009, 5:19 pm
Location: Boston, MA

PSA on Fass Selections - regarding policy on wines over 5 years of age

#197 Post by Matt Snow » July 26th, 2018, 11:01 am

Tom Reddick wrote:
Matt Snow wrote:4. There is a subset of retailers who do not think customers are entitled to refunds on corked bottles, and who may mistakenly believe that the market supports this view (Tom Reddick).
With regards to #4- please do not deliberately misrepresent my position, nor my statements about the marketplace in general. As I have clearly stated, my comments are restricted to highly allocated and/or older bottles that are not easily or practicably replaced or refundable all the way back to the producer.
Tom, I don’t believe I have misrepresented your position, deliberately or otherwise, although I will freely concede I was commenting on your first post and have not read every one of your subsequent attempts to walk it back.

Your original statement was that “the marketplace expects consumers of high end ageworthy wine to accept the risks of TCA, premox and other conditions unrelated to storage that will only become evident when a bottle is opened.” You then made very clear your position that a “person returning high end wine” based on cork taint would and in your view should be punished for doing so, even if the return was accepted. With respect to “daily drinking or non-collecting customers,” you said you would accept returns of inexpensive (“$10-15 bottle”) wine because they were infrequent and the low cost of accepting the returns was an acceptable trade for customer satisfaction. You did not say that those customers deserved a refund – in fact, you said you did not even check whether the wine was corked or not; you just took it back to make the customer happy.

I am disagreeing with your views both as to what customers are entitled to, and as to the expectations of the marketplace.
Tom Reddick wrote: That said, I would estimate that during my time in retail I would easily sell at least 100 bottles of wine a day on my shift. And returns of corked bottles were quite rare- I would say maybe once every two weeks at the most. At 5 shifts a week, every two weeks I would have sold about 1,000 bottles of wine for every 1 bottle that was returned for being corked- whereas that number should be 50 or higher if the 5% figure is applied.

I do not think it is entirely a question of people not wanting to bother- a lot of people are not sensitive to TCA, plus TCA levels can vary. [snip]

So, the current marketplace (which does generally incorporate returns of the bread and butter stock) can manage without adjustment. However, if every TCA-tainted bottle, or even half of them, were to be returned- it would require some serious business model re-engineering across the board.
I agree with these observations in large part. I would simply observe that the same is true of returns of spoiled milk, and yet we all agree that the store that sold the spoiled milk has to take it back.

-- Matt

Jonathan Loesberg
Posts: 1708
Joined: April 27th, 2010, 5:59 am

PSA on Fass Selections - regarding policy on wines over 5 years of age

#198 Post by Jonathan Loesberg » July 26th, 2018, 12:13 pm

I'll try this once more and then let it go: the difference between corks and an airbag is that, in the case of corks, even if all precautions that can be taken are taken, we know that it is essentially a product that will be defective 5% of the time. With cars (and airbags), we know as a matter of probability that there will be some percentage of failures, but those failures, to get you compensation, must be proven to be the result of the manufacturer's negligence in some way. That situation just is not the same as the situation with corks where, given the knowledge that some percentage will taint wine, even if the product is used correctly, the situation is very much similar to others where the rule, caveat emptor applies.

As to whether the manufacturer in question ought to be the domaine or the cork producer, even in the case of the airbag, we choose Honda because they are a better target of the suit, not because they are the more just choice than the manufacturer of the airbag. I'd say the same principle is at operation here except that since we are not talking about lawsuits, but about what ought, in a just world, to happen, I see no reason to think that the most just target isn't either the cork manufacturer or the buyer.

Charlie Carnes
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 2388
Joined: April 30th, 2010, 2:13 pm

PSA on Fass Selections - regarding policy on wines over 5 years of age

#199 Post by Charlie Carnes » July 26th, 2018, 1:27 pm

Al Osterheld wrote:I think Jayson's point is that if transactions were frictionless, it wouldn't matter who bears the liability because one party or another would build it into their economic decisions which would then be transferred to the economic decisions of the other parties. But, transactions aren't frictionless, so the liability decision does have consequences, and different people and societies disagree who should bear the cost.

-Al
This is pretty good Al. I will add, that there is such an ebb and flow that runs in both directions from the purchase that effect the people and societies, or that the people and societies can affect. I stated earlier that I don't give one-off, older corked bottles much of a thought and move on. There is so much more to it than that though. First, I buy a boatload of wine from a small handful of wineries and retailers. I try to have personal relationships with every one of them in some way. In most cases, the mere mention of a corked bottle, sees a replacement in kind, either instantly, or when weather permits shipping. Most people know that here. Second, I put a lot in the relationship part. I am not going to fret over a bad bottle every so often, because, I want to be remembered as a great and deserving client. I want, and now expect, chances at low allocation, rarities, treasures, etc. I am not going to get these chances by being pesky. Further, I won't deal with retailers, wineries that don't appreciate my business. I would be surprised if any of the retailers or wineries I regularly buy from wouldn't make right on multiple corked bottles with very few questions asked...


On a side note: think of WB and CT and how it has given this community great access to winemakers and retailers. I remember finalizing a couple of Berserkerday orders. One winemaker was at a pub downing a couple of coldies after a strenuous Berserkerday. Another was at his son's little league game talking to me on his cell phone from Oregon.
So shines a good deed in a weary world!

User avatar
NoahR
Posts: 2406
Joined: December 1st, 2013, 1:07 pm

PSA on Fass Selections - regarding policy on wines over 5 years of age

#200 Post by NoahR » July 26th, 2018, 6:55 pm

I have rarely had occasion to return corked bottles. I ordered a new release Italian wine from a notable retailer in New York. Ordered three bottles on a recommendation from a friend. First one smelled like wet cardboard. I emailed the retailer. They asked me to send back what was left of the bottle. I said I would happily do so and waited for the return label to be sent to me. I think they were playing chicken. Once it was clear to them that I was more than willing to send them the bottle, 7/8 full, they suddenly lost interest in paying for shipping and credited me the bottle.

I opened the next bottle and it was also corked. Same thing happened but at that point I asked for credit and they did t bother to ask me for the bottle back. I have since been dropped from their email list.

The wine was sub-$50 and new release. Had it been an older wine, from a cellar or otherwise, would not have considered asking for a refund.
Noah Raizman
Washington, DC

Post Reply

Return to “Wine Talk”