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CWun
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#51 Post by CWun » November 2nd, 2013, 5:23 pm

Ray Walker wrote:.....

Hello,
just to provide some factual info, here is a post I made on my public blog on September 11th:
http://blog.maison-ilan.com/2013/09/11/2011s-update/

Ray[/i]
Fair enough.
I don't think that info was sent out in email format in September though. I did a quick search of my email archive.
Didn't know you had a blog. Probably information like that should be pushed out instead of relying on people to visit a blog. Just MHO.

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#52 Post by Ray Walker » November 2nd, 2013, 5:32 pm

CWun wrote:
Ray Walker wrote:.....

Hello,
just to provide some factual info, here is a post I made on my public blog on September 11th:
http://blog.maison-ilan.com/2013/09/11/2011s-update/

Ray[/i]
Fair enough.
I don't think that info was sent out in email format in September though. I did a quick search of my email archive.
Didn't know you had a blog. Probably information like that should be pushed out instead of relying on people to visit a blog. Just MHO.

cheers [cheers.gif]
You have an excellent point. Ideally, the info would have gone out to the mailing list and then the blog. The blog is not as important. Somehow, I dropped the ball as I believed that I had also copied the mailing list. My error clearly. For those that did not see this post and for those not given the ability to see it through the mailing list channel I apologize.

I have sent out an update just 5 minutes ago to the list as well as through the twitter/facebook paths.

Thank you again for supporting our wines!

Ray
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#53 Post by Todd F r e n c h » November 2nd, 2013, 5:55 pm

Carl Jensen wrote:
Todd F r e n c h wrote:
Ray Walker wrote:
Todd, you and I both know that we are not on good terms. Please don't attempt to compare my situation with Premier Cru and the Hospice wines. It is clear that your intention in doing so is not unbiased or even fair.
I find the comparison accurate:

Customer X is waiting to hear about product Y by merchant Z.
Really Todd? When does the producer of product y ever talk directly with the customer affected in the PC horror stories that have been well documented here?
I said 'merchant', not 'producer'. In some cases, they could be the same person. In others cases, not.
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#54 Post by Paul McCourt » November 2nd, 2013, 6:17 pm

Customers...what a bitch they can be. Kinda hard to run a business without them, so I would recommend dropping the story about how hard it is to have them and just smile and wave.
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#55 Post by Ray Walker » November 2nd, 2013, 6:20 pm

Paul McCourt wrote:Customers...what a bitch they can be. Kinda hard to run a business without them, so I would recommend dropping the story about how hard it is to have them and just smile and wave.
...hi Paul. Where did I mention how hard it was to have clients? What I recall posting is that while I am placing wines in barrel, I just might be a tad busy. Also, having so many points of contact spread out increases the odds that I might miss something. It really isn't more complicated than that, though some folks clearly would like it to seem otherwise.
So while I think your above comment is a catchy one, and actually pretty funny, I can't see myself relating to it one bit.
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#56 Post by Paul McCourt » November 2nd, 2013, 6:29 pm

Ray, you miss my point. Your whole story about how busy you are and what more can I do, etc. is, in my opinion, nothing more than a complaint about customer expectations. That's how I read it. Right or wrong, the best course (again, in my opinion) is to not go there. It's a no win scenario, in my experience.
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#57 Post by Carl Jensen » November 2nd, 2013, 6:34 pm

Todd

Comparing Ray to PC as both 'merchants' with anything in common is a gross misrepresentation of the reality of the situation.

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#58 Post by Ray Walker » November 2nd, 2013, 6:44 pm

If anyone has any questions regarding shipments, our wines in general or Burgundy, please don't hesitate in contacting me through my email address: ray@maison-ilan.com .
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#59 Post by Craig G » November 2nd, 2013, 7:02 pm

I just want to point out that Ray responded by phone and post within a few hours of the original posting, so comparisons to the other cases mentioned are totally bizarre.
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#60 Post by Jonathan Grunzweig » November 2nd, 2013, 7:04 pm

Ray Walker wrote:I believe that the solution is to be far less active on this website and to focus communication in less places. It sure would make things easier to know that most communication leads are coming in through one or two paths instead of six (this site being one).
Likely true, but a loss for this admirer nonetheless. I'll surely respect your choice -- or perhaps it's more fairly characterized as a necessity -- but hope your tweets, etc. do justice to the past participation here that I've been enjoying (or at least disprove Sainthood deadhorse).

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#61 Post by c fu » November 2nd, 2013, 7:05 pm

Craig Gleason wrote:I just want to point out that Ray responded by phone and post within a few hours of the original posting, so comparisons to the other cases mentioned are totally bizarre.
personally I check this board way more than I check my own work email [snort.gif]
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#62 Post by Craig G » November 2nd, 2013, 7:10 pm

Charlie Fu wrote:
Craig Gleason wrote:I just want to point out that Ray responded by phone and post within a few hours of the original posting, so comparisons to the other cases mentioned are totally bizarre.
personally I check this board way more than I check my own work email [snort.gif]
Nice, but I think Ray already explained and apologized for the delay.
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#63 Post by Jerry Hey » November 2nd, 2013, 7:22 pm

I just can't figure out why it is so important to have Ray's wines sitting in your cellar now (the 09's and 10's should see daylight for several years) instead of maturing in his cool cellar in Burgundy. Unless you are afraid that you will never get your wines (which after having met Ray, I can assure you that won't happen if he has a say in it) then what difference does it make if you don't get those wines for a year or two.

But having said that, I have the '09 and '10 Chambertin sleeping nicely in my cellar....

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#64 Post by c fu » November 2nd, 2013, 7:25 pm

Craig Gleason wrote:
Charlie Fu wrote:
Craig Gleason wrote:I just want to point out that Ray responded by phone and post within a few hours of the original posting, so comparisons to the other cases mentioned are totally bizarre.
personally I check this board way more than I check my own work email [snort.gif]
Nice, but I think Ray already explained and apologized for the delay.
ok? my comment had nothing to do with ray
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#65 Post by Todd F r e n c h » November 2nd, 2013, 9:18 pm

Craig Gleason wrote:I just want to point out that Ray responded by phone and post within a few hours of the original posting, so comparisons to the other cases mentioned are totally bizarre.
Similar to how Leslie Sbrocco responded to Nola after her public posting, versus responding to ONLY a private communication? Suzanne complained that she had several unanswered inquiries. Once the inquiry went public, the responses came.

I don't see why this is so different from a scenario with a different party X and party Y, but perhaps I'm oversimplifying it. To me, responding to a single, second, or third inquiry via private communication is customer service. Responding to public outcry is saving face.
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#66 Post by Humberto Dorta » November 2nd, 2013, 10:18 pm

I dont know Ray but Ive never seen PC or the guy from that hospice fiasco "respond to public outcry" as you say...tons of people have complained loudly about the two entities you chose and the problems remain.
Disclosure: ive ordered two vintages of Rays wines and have received neither and have a bunch of pending wines at PC. No worries with either party.
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#67 Post by jbray23 » November 2nd, 2013, 11:18 pm

Todd F r e n c h wrote:
Craig Gleason wrote:I just want to point out that Ray responded by phone and post within a few hours of the original posting, so comparisons to the other cases mentioned are totally bizarre.
Similar to how Leslie Sbrocco responded to Nola after her public posting, versus responding to ONLY a private communication? Suzanne complained that she had several unanswered inquiries. Once the inquiry went public, the responses came.

I don't see why this is so different from a scenario with a different party X and party Y, but perhaps I'm oversimplifying it. To me, responding to a single, second, or third inquiry via private communication is customer service. Responding to public outcry is saving face.
I don't know why I feel the need to chime in but will......

I just re-read the thread to figure out where things went wrong.

Sounds like Suzanne emailed Ray "4 days, 2 emails" and then the follow up that sounded somewhat sarcastic "09's late, 10's late, 11's late, when do you sleep?"

I have no idea who Ray is besides what I have seen here and I have no idea who Suzanne is besides what I have read here, but to me it seems a bit of over reacting in part of the 'customer'.

To begin, a guy went out on his own an tried to start something new, DI'ing wine from Burgundy to customers, in something that is rarely ever done in the wine business. I have been reading Ray's posts from the start of the winery and it sound to me like a huge undertaking which would be ripe for pitfalls. Should he be critiqued for his business practice, of course he should, but he already expressed some of the issues he has had along the way, as a consumer there is a bit of buyer beware as he already sorta stated. So Suzanne, you would have to have known that there were going to be hitches, correct?

This to me is totally different from PC, PC sells you wines that they do/don't have and then years later delivers the wine or gives the consumer a choice of credit if they never receive the ordered product. Ray actually has the product and has/can deliver. (Full disclosure, happy PC customer)

4 days, 2 emails? Again, I don't know either party but I do and have worked in business for over 20 years and understand customers expectations, but i would generally give the 'business' the benefit of the doubt if had been only 4 days, maybe I'm more patient. I have a kid and I have been under the weather and have had to come to work as well, believe me, I have been in this situation and it sucks for the customer, but things happen, this isn't Starbucks, where a customer service rep is on the other line or will answer an email in 15 minutes or less. I didn't see Ray's logistics as complaining just explaining his situation, which honestly, I wish more would do.

Todd, I think your comment of Ray coming here and 'saving face' was a bit out of line, sounds like you have beef with Ray, as Ray eluded to. So deal with that in private or bring it out in public, but being the guy on the sideline with a stick, poking and prodding doesn't make you come off well.

Suzanne if I would have had issues with a business for 3 years as you did '09', 10', 11'. I would simply quit doing business with them, period. My risk is very low, I'm a one and done kinda guy, saying that I generally don't go out in public and air my grievances, I can't stand Yelp and would rather vote with my dollar and not buy from them anymore and call it a day unless I was really mistreated and wanted others to know.

Again, I don't know any of you but to me this sounds like someone whom has become upset with Rays process (which she completely has a right to do) and feels as though she wasn't being heard and went on line to draw attention to her issue (her right as well). It also sounds like Todd has a bit of an axe to grind and is doing so now....

But to me, it was a process that was represented upfront, admitted there would be pitfalls and that it was a small business and that things were going to be bumpy, I read that a number of times from Ray, it truly was an organic process and it sounds as if the customers threshold and patience are at their end, it happens.
Last edited by jbray23 on November 3rd, 2013, 12:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
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#68 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » November 2nd, 2013, 11:55 pm

I must admit to being surprised by the discourse here. Anyone that bought into Ray's story knew what they were buying, a bit of a fairy tale dream of a shoe-string budget American gone Burgundy. While I am not a Burgundy guy, and have not even bought any of Ray's wines, I admire what he is trying to accomplish here and think if you bought into this dream, you cannot expect perfection and a perfect schedule. Let it ride. If it works, good on Ray and lucky you. If it does not work, nothing ventured, nothing gained.

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#69 Post by Ralph Earle » November 3rd, 2013, 12:23 am

Mercury is retrograde from Oct 21 through Nov 11.
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#70 Post by Brady Daniels » November 3rd, 2013, 1:58 am

Ray Walker wrote:If anyone has any questions regarding shipments, our wines in general or Burgundy, please don't hesitate in contacting me through my email address: ray@maison-ilan.com .
This is a wise post. No matter how un-deservedly, Ray has lost control of this thread, and there is no profit in getting into a shit-throwing contest.

No wines were lost, no lies were told, no obfuscation offered. The elevens are still in barrel, not due to laziness, corruption, or incompetence, but to make better wines. I can vouch for their existence and quality. I tasted them a couple weeks ago.

I hope that Ray takes enough time away from the screen so that he is no longer bothered by the badgering and swipes in this thread. And I hope that after that time passes he comes back and contributes. The board would be worse without him.
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#71 Post by Nick Ryan » November 3rd, 2013, 2:12 am

Brady Daniels wrote:
Ray Walker wrote:If anyone has any questions regarding shipments, our wines in general or Burgundy, please don't hesitate in contacting me through my email address: ray@maison-ilan.com .
This is a wise post. No matter how un-deservedly, Ray has lost control of this thread, and there is no profit in getting into a shit-throwing contest.

No wines were lost, no lies were told, no obfuscation offered. The elevens are still in barrel, not due to laziness, corruption, or incompetence, but to make better wines. I can vouch for their existence and quality. I tasted them a couple weeks ago.

I hope that Ray takes enough time away from the screen so that he is no longer bothered by the badgering and swipes in this thread. And I hope that after that time passes he comes back and contributes. The board would be worse without him.
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#72 Post by Ray Walker » November 3rd, 2013, 2:44 am

I'll just stick to some simple facts. These typically do well to help in communication.

-I had been in the Nuits Saint Georges courtyard filling barrels or in Chablis moving a huge barrel the entire week.

-I finally had a chance to check emails at around 10pm while driving home from Chablis and saw Suzanne's emails to me for the first time and called her immediately using the number she placed on her email.

-The first email in this chain had arrived a full three days and five hours prior to my calling and speaking with her.

-My email sent within 5 minutes after that call was:

"Hello Suzanne
Sorry for my voice cracking. I'm battling a serious cold. You seemed a bit quick to leave so I hope my intentions were communicated well. I understand that folks want their wines soon, you and others paid quite some time ago. My intentions are to do the best for the wines as well as each client without taking in consideration financial impacts myself.

In short, because of the delays, I need more cellar space. But it was best to wait for a good time to bottle. The extra tile has been a benefit for the wines. I do apologize for the delay though I do hope that the time was beneficial, and I believe it was.

I appreciate your patience and your support of our wines.

Thank you again"

-I had not seen any posting here. I simply saw her emails and as soon as I did I called within maybe 2-3 minutes.

-I want folks to have their wines in their cellars. I don't have the room here to hold bottles. Wines in barrel are another thing completely.

-I view extended aging as a benefit for the wines and therefore the client.

-The direct to client method was created to allow wines to arrive in the hands of clients at a lower price. Importers don't typically do this as it is logistically different and at times more complicated that what the traditional model is. I really appreciate the importers that have helped in getting our wines to clients and appreciate the needs, concerns and patience required in this endeavor.

-The importers that have helped (AOC Imports for the 2009s an Crush for 2010s+) aren't gaining much from helping me, they are really breaking new ground for an atypical concept and at times there are speedbumps

-AOC Imports may have some things which are going on which have further slowed arriving to a small number of clients. However, these wines are indeed safe and soon to be in the hands of clients as has been related to me by Holly and those she has been in contact with. I actually don't have a list of who is awaiting wine, but I would be happy to hear from those in contact with AOC Imports or otherwise.

Todd, I know we aren't on good terms but you have to remember something. I still view you as the guy that started this website and kindly encouraged me to post commercial offerings and had my back on countless occasions. So thank you once again for the support you provided since day one. All the other things don't mean nearly as much to me.

As I mentioned above, I encourage anyone wishing to speak about our wines, deliveries or Burgundy to contact me directly or through other social media paths.

Thank you again everyone. I have always felt as a part of more than just an internet site. Each of you has added to this being a real community.


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#73 Post by Bill Klapp (deactivated) » November 3rd, 2013, 3:41 am

I am sure that Ray will agree that no Ray Walker/Maison Ilan thread is complete without my input, so here goes! :)

I see both sides of this clearly, and, frankly, do not see any reason to take sides. What Suzanne and Ray have each said makes sense. Some here get annoyed, justifably so in my view, with the "Ray Can Do No Wrong Club" who have supported him from the beginning, are proud to be part of his enterprise and love having the cachet of being able to drop in on a Burgundy producer to whom they are VIPs. The club members and Ray get annoyed with those who do not buy into his program and question his winemaking background, business model or even the content of posts here, and many of Ray's Happy Campers are sometimes a little too defensive for the taste of the "Not With Ray's Program" Club. It would be great if we could ALL get over ourselves on this issue. I am not with Ray's program, but that does not mean that I cannot find common ground with Howard Cooper, who is. (Especially after the defeat of arch-enemy NC State by UNC yesterday, and despite the fact that both teams stink this year!)

Ray, let's face it, your Golden Boy of Burgundy days are probably over. You have enjoyed tons of free press and you had a story to tell that has attracted enough supporters to allow your business to survive and, apparently, to grow. You have done this by asking the critics not to evaluate your wines, and you have explained your thinking on that point. In so doing, you avoided the risk that poor reviews would damage your chances of success, but you also made the choice that keeping the existing loyal customer base happy while continuing to grow it is the top priority, at least unless and until you develop a broader connection to the traditional distribution network. Against that backdrop, if you aspire to going the distribution route one day, it could be at the risk of alienating some or all of your customers today, but if instead you choose to stay with the current business model, then it will always be the personal touch and customer service that distinguishes your operation from most others in Burgundy. I doubt that I am telling you anything here that you do not already know. Thus, surely today, and perhaps for your entire tenure in the wine business, customer service is everything. That comes through loud and clear in the voices of your customers on this and other threads, and you clearly appreciate that, as so many of your posts reflect.

On the flip side, you need to develop a thicker skin with respect to your critics. They will not go away. You are human, and a novice winemaker with only several vintages under your belt and little background prior to that to boot. Not everybody is going to buy your story and your dream. It is in your best interests to stop wanting them to, and cut out the disingenuous "have a nice day/I love you, man" responses when the enemy surfaces. You are not going to convert them, Ray, and if you think about it, you do not need them. You need to grasp that you are polarizing. People tend either to love the dream and the story, or to find it full of holes. You cannot control that, try as you might. Your focus needs to be on the Suzannes and the Howards and the others here who are paying your light bills. Let them do battle with your detractors if they so choose. They are positioned to do a better job at it than you are. You have too much invested. Take a look at the recent Ponsot thread, or some of the things that have been said about Ponsot on the Rudy thread. The guy has made some brilliant wines and played a key role in the Rudy drama. He has also said some idiotic things and made some dreadful wines. He gets praised for the former and whacked good for the latter. It comes with the territory, which is now your territory. You and your supporters need to accept that reality. Your wines will have to speak for themselves in the end, and I am sure that they will. But some people around here are going to continue to doubt and naysay and whatever else. I am sure that I may be one of them. (I do it for everybody and everything else in the wine world, and I wouldn't want you to feel left out!) Enough said.

To the matter at hand: Given your business model and the high profile that you have chosen, Suzanne's actions are reasonable. If you are stretched too thin, it probably is time to channel access in a way that works for both you and your customers, which you have suggested above. I find the notion expressed by some that she needs to back off and take whatever you dish out to be absurd. That is not consistent with your business model to date. I also find the assertions from your supporters that she should be quiet because her wines need to be sitting someplace for ten years to be a little silly, since you are now only in your fourth vintage, your wines apparently drink well young and neither you nor your customers really have any idea what the wines will be like ten years from now. (There are not even any critical speculations on that.) You are right to point out the glitches with Crush and AOC, and you suffered the bad luck to have AOC come apart at the seams with your wines in the system, and I find your last post to be helpful in resolving the issue here. Your people will ultimately understand these things, and probably most of your other growing pains as well. However, a complaint hot line is definitely going to be part of your near-term future, even if not a 24/7 proposition.

But hey, taking on The Toddster? Not me, dude. To paraphrase Curley in the old movie, "City Slickers", while running this zoo, "he's crapped bigger than us". And right about now, he probably thinks that we are spooking the cattle, too!

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#74 Post by Ray Walker » November 3rd, 2013, 4:45 am

Bill Klapp wrote:I am sure that Ray will agree that no Ray Walker/Maison Ilan thread is complete without my input, so here goes! :)

I see both sides of this clearly, and, frankly, do not see any reason to take sides. What Suzanne and Ray have each said makes sense. Some here get annoyed, justifably so in my view, with the "Ray Can Do No Wrong Club" who have supported him from the beginning, are proud to be part of his enterprise and love having the cachet of being able to drop in on a Burgundy producer to whom they are VIPs. The club members and Ray get annoyed with those who do not buy into his program and question his winemaking background, business model or even the content of posts here, and many of Ray's Happy Campers are sometimes a little too defensive for the taste of the "Not With Ray's Program" Club. It would be great if we could ALL get over ourselves on this issue. I am not with Ray's program, but that does not mean that I cannot find common ground with Howard Cooper, who is. (Especially after the defeat of arch-enemy NC State by UNC yesterday, and despite the fact that both teams stink this year!)

Ray, let's face it, your Golden Boy of Burgundy days are probably over. You have enjoyed tons of free press and you had a story to tell that has attracted enough supporters to allow your business to survive and, apparently, to grow. You have done this by asking the critics not to evaluate your wines, and you have explained your thinking on that point. In so doing, you avoided the risk that poor reviews would damage your chances of success, but you also made the choice that keeping the existing loyal customer base happy while continuing to grow it is the top priority, at least unless and until you develop a broader connection to the traditional distribution network. Against that backdrop, if you aspire to going the distribution route one day, it could be at the risk of alienating some or all of your customers today, but if instead you choose to stay with the current business model, then it will always be the personal touch and customer service that distinguishes your operation from most others in Burgundy. I doubt that I am telling you anything here that you do not already know. Thus, surely today, and perhaps for your entire tenure in the wine business, customer service is everything. That comes through loud and clear in the voices of your customers on this and other threads, and you clearly appreciate that, as so many of your posts reflect.

On the flip side, you need to develop a thicker skin with respect to your critics. They will not go away. You are human, and a novice winemaker with only several vintages under your belt and little background prior to that to boot. Not everybody is going to buy your story and your dream. It is in your best interests to stop wanting them to, and cut out the disingenuous "have a nice day/I love you, man" responses when the enemy surfaces. You are not going to convert them, Ray, and if you think about it, you do not need them. You need to grasp that you are polarizing. People tend either to love the dream and the story, or to find it full of holes. You cannot control that, try as you might. Your focus needs to be on the Suzannes and the Howards and the others here who are paying your light bills. Let them do battle with your detractors if they so choose. They are positioned to do a better job at it than you are. You have too much invested. Take a look at the recent Ponsot thread, or some of the things that have been said about Ponsot on the Rudy thread. The guy has made some brilliant wines and played a key role in the Rudy drama. He has also said some idiotic things and made some dreadful wines. He gets praised for the former and whacked good for the latter. It comes with the territory, which is now your territory. You and your supporters need to accept that reality. Your wines will have to speak for themselves in the end, and I am sure that they will. But some people around here are going to continue to doubt and naysay and whatever else. I am sure that I may be one of them. (I do it for everybody and everything else in the wine world, and I wouldn't want you to feel left out!) Enough said.

To the matter at hand: Given your business model and the high profile that you have chosen, Suzanne's actions are reasonable. If you are stretched too thin, it probably is time to channel access in a way that works for both you and your customers, which you have suggested above. I find the notion expressed by some that she needs to back off and take whatever you dish out to be absurd. That is not consistent with your business model to date. I also find the assertions from your supporters that she should be quiet because her wines need to be sitting someplace for ten years to be a little silly, since you are now only in your fourth vintage, your wines apparently drink well young and neither you nor your customers really have any idea what the wines will be like ten years from now. (There are not even any critical speculations on that.) You are right to point out the glitches with Crush and AOC, and you suffered the bad luck to have AOC come apart at the seams with your wines in the system, and I find your last post to be helpful in resolving the issue here. Your people will ultimately understand these things, and probably most of your other growing pains as well. However, a complaint hot line is definitely going to be part of your near-term future, even if not a 24/7 proposition.

But hey, taking on The Toddster? Not me, dude. To paraphrase Curley in the old movie, "City Slickers", while running this zoo, "he's crapped bigger than us". And right about now, he probably thinks that we are spooking the cattle, too!
Folks that don;t want to see a long email, look elsewhere. [cheers.gif]

Lol, Bill. It has been too long.
I think I agree with pretty much everything you said. Makes sense. But, let me say a few things while we are talking together at the table. I'd say the only things that I don't agree with you on is your perception of how I view folks that I am temporarily at odds with. The way I see things, I don;t want to be surrounded by folks that only have the same thoughts as I do. I'd rather folks that give me a hard time sometime, call me out when I make a mistake, some that might agree with some of the things I agree with, and some that really could go either way. Folks disagreeing with me makes me feel that I am in line with doing things my way, to my preferences. When speaking about wine methods, I already figured that I'd come under fire. As it turns out, I was wrong, a lot of folks might disagree or seem to be unsure but open to seeing how things progress.

From the start some people were in disbelief about me, what I was going to do and how things played out. Hell, I am still in shock over it and I am living it. And when people express doubt or don't agree with me I don't think of them as an enemy. I can get upset, surprised or disappointed but folks aren't either supporters or enemies. It isn't fake, not sugarcoating my feelings, etc. I figure if someone has enough energy to be pissed off that the energy could potentially be used for positive things too. So while I do have negative feelings at times, I try to take a step back as soon as the thought to do so crosses my mind and see what can be turned into a positive, starting with what I say and do. This was a major reason why I extended the offer to drink some bottles with you. It turns out that some folks that used to piss me off or get pissed off by me are now some of the coolest people that I know and am proud to call friends. We don't hug it out do lame high fives, etc but I personally feel that people find each other in common circles or situations with others for a reason. You could be at the same table and disagree with the other guy with everything you believe in but that doesn't make the conversation any less interesting or worthy of having. Might sound like bs, but this is one of my most personal feelings. I feel comfortable in sharing that with you and others since it really does speak to my reasons for posting like I do, or getting upset and them moving past that. I'd rather enjoy what I can. Being pissed off at someone just gives me more things to sort through later.

And you are right we are getting to a point where my clients could benefit from someone else handling some communication. It has been seriously difficult to give away the reigns there since every part of my business has been thought up and executed by me, for better or worse. Man, I really take pride in saying that I am the one that reaches out to my clients, calls them. But at some point, things like this can happen where another set of eyes could have been used in sending a faster response. That would have been a better benefit for Suzanne than what she benefits from my doing things myself. There is a bottom line to things and my choice/preferences didn't align to providing her with the service that she expected. As you said, this would serve as a good example to think of when considering changes to how I communicate updates and respond to queries.

As far as being a Golden Boy and all that other stuff, I know what you mean. The funny thing is that I went into this all enjoying the full velocity of things large in part to my own understanding that I was flying by the seat of my pants and really not knowing what the hell I was doing, just trusting in my intuitions. I never thought folks would give me some sort of benefit of the doubt. I thought I'd be the underdog really, and really still myself in that light and take pride in it. I believe folks perceive my enthusiasm in communicating and for precision as being sensitive. It isn't. I love and need to do things differently, to follow my own path. I always have. I embrace the reactions that come with it for better or worse.

Either way, Bill, the above comments and exchange between us is a great example of what can come from not getting too far into being pissed off. We can still communicate. We may or may not find common ground but at least we can see what the other is trying to communicate. Can't ask for much more really. You really think a lot of these exchanges wouldn't be worth it in person with some bottles on the table? That offer to drink still stands.
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#75 Post by Mike Cohen » November 3rd, 2013, 4:59 am

This thread is awesome! We finally get a winemaker in Burgundy to be an active contributor here and we are doing our best to chase him off. Congratulations.

As someone who was involved in the HAG group, this situation doesn't even come close to that one. So the comparisons are apples to oranges.

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#76 Post by Darren Graves » November 3rd, 2013, 5:08 am

David K o l i n wrote: They could, but they really shouldn't. Unless you mean immeidate gratification = prompt response. You should trust those that know her on this

Fine David, I will trust you on this, still does nothing to change my opinion that she was rude. Good enough?

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#77 Post by M A T T H A R T L E Y » November 3rd, 2013, 5:22 am

Robert Alfert, Jr. wrote:I must admit to being surprised by the discourse here. Anyone that bought into Ray's story knew what they were buying, a bit of a fairy tale dream of a shoe-string budget American gone Burgundy. While I am not a Burgundy guy, and have not even bought any of Ray's wines, I admire what he is trying to accomplish here and think if you bought into this dream, you cannot expect perfection and a perfect schedule. Let it ride. If it works, good on Ray and lucky you. If it does not work, nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Cheers everyone.

Robert
Sorry - but that just makes no sense to me.

If you buy into the story you most certainly can expect perfection and a perfect schedule. Or at least something close to that....

Once certainly shouldn't just say "Here is my money" and then just wait until something happens.

Just because Ray is on a shoe string budget or whatever is no excuse for anything.
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#78 Post by Bill Klapp (deactivated) » November 3rd, 2013, 5:26 am

Mike Cohen wrote:This thread is awesome! We finally get a winemaker in Burgundy to be an active contributor here and we are doing our best to chase him off. Congratulations.

As someone who was involved in the HAG group, this situation doesn't even come close to that one. So the comparisons are apples to oranges.
Do you think before you post things like this, Mike? (First thought, I mean. I agree with the second.) It is pure BS. Why should anybody self-censor out of fear that he or she MIGHT contribute to driving off another poster? And Ray is just that at this point...another poster, as are we all. And he is not likely to be driven off, as evidenced by the back-and-forth that we just had. He knows that I am not one of his fans, but that does not mean that we cannot carry on the occasional dialogue. However, I would not pull any punches for Aubert de Villaine, either. I simply do not understand the groupie mentality, when applied to any poster on any wine board, nor the frequent attempts one sees around here to censor the ideas that people disagree with rather than discussing and debating them. Life is too short...

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#79 Post by Bill Klapp (deactivated) » November 3rd, 2013, 5:30 am

Ray, if we are going to open some bottles, are you bringing a 2009 Chambertin, or did you sell all of them? :)

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#80 Post by scamhi » November 3rd, 2013, 5:35 am

Ray Walker wrote:I'll just stick to some simple facts. These typically do well to help in communication.

-I had been in the Nuits Saint Georges courtyard filling barrels or in Chablis moving a huge barrel the entire week.

-I finally had a chance to check emails at around 10pm while driving home from Chablis and saw Suzanne's emails to me for the first time and called her immediately using the number she placed on her email.

-The first email in this chain had arrived a full three days and five hours prior to my calling and speaking with her.

-My email sent within 5 minutes after that call was:

"Hello Suzanne
Sorry for my voice cracking. I'm battling a serious cold. You seemed a bit quick to leave so I hope my intentions were communicated well. I understand that folks want their wines soon, you and others paid quite some time ago. My intentions are to do the best for the wines as well as each client without taking in consideration financial impacts myself.

In short, because of the delays, I need more cellar space. But it was best to wait for a good time to bottle. The extra tile has been a benefit for the wines. I do apologize for the delay though I do hope that the time was beneficial, and I believe it was.

I appreciate your patience and your support of our wines.

Thank you again"

-I had not seen any posting here. I simply saw her emails and as soon as I did I called within maybe 2-3 minutes.

-I want folks to have their wines in their cellars. I don't have the room here to hold bottles. Wines in barrel are another thing completely.

-I view extended aging as a benefit for the wines and therefore the client.

-The direct to client method was created to allow wines to arrive in the hands of clients at a lower price. Importers don't typically do this as it is logistically different and at times more complicated that what the traditional model is. I really appreciate the importers that have helped in getting our wines to clients and appreciate the needs, concerns and patience required in this endeavor.

-The importers that have helped (AOC Imports for the 2009s an Crush for 2010s+) aren't gaining much from helping me, they are really breaking new ground for an atypical concept and at times there are speedbumps

-AOC Imports may have some things which are going on which have further slowed arriving to a small number of clients. However, these wines are indeed safe and soon to be in the hands of clients as has been related to me by Holly and those she has been in contact with. I actually don't have a list of who is awaiting wine, but I would be happy to hear from those in contact with AOC Imports or otherwise.

Todd, I know we aren't on good terms but you have to remember something. I still view you as the guy that started this website and kindly encouraged me to post commercial offerings and had my back on countless occasions. So thank you once again for the support you provided since day one. All the other things don't mean nearly as much to me.

As I mentioned above, I encourage anyone wishing to speak about our wines, deliveries or Burgundy to contact me directly or through other social media paths.

Thank you again everyone. I have always felt as a part of more than just an internet site. Each of you has added to this being a real community.


champagne.gif
Ray,

Here are my facts.
You only came out to discuss, once the thread was started. Your excuses to me over the phone call were, my wife is pregnant, you have a cold, you were busy with your barrel of chablis and the weather is crazy in NSG.

From: Suzanne
Date: Tue, Oct 29, 2013 at 10:40 AM
Subject: Re: shipping of 2010's
To: Ray Walker <ray@maison-ilan.com>


Ray,

Where do you stand on the shipping of the 2010 Gevrey Corbeaux?
I thought they were expected in the fall.
Also, when will the 2011's be shipped?


Suzanne
from the time I sent my original email on Tuesday October 29 at 10:40am until the time I started this thread Friday November 1 at 5:35pm, Your call came at around 7:40pm, 2 hours after the thread started.

On October 29th at 7:28pm you deleted 3 of your posts on the "All of Us at Wine Berserkers Described on Twitter" thread. You were also quite busy on October 30th posting family pictures, barrel pictures and telling BMW stories and interacting on facebook.

it seems to me you had plenty of time in the 3 days after I sent my email to be online, but not to respond through email or social media.
Communication with you in my limited experience has been difficult. Timeframes estimated by only you have not been kept, all for the improvement of what's in the bottle. Time will tell.

I am done chasing your wines, I just want what I purchased and paid for years ago.
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#81 Post by Ray Walker » November 3rd, 2013, 5:37 am

M A T T H A R T L E Y wrote:
Robert Alfert, Jr. wrote:I must admit to being surprised by the discourse here. Anyone that bought into Ray's story knew what they were buying, a bit of a fairy tale dream of a shoe-string budget American gone Burgundy. While I am not a Burgundy guy, and have not even bought any of Ray's wines, I admire what he is trying to accomplish here and think if you bought into this dream, you cannot expect perfection and a perfect schedule. Let it ride. If it works, good on Ray and lucky you. If it does not work, nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Cheers everyone.

Robert
Sorry - but that just makes no sense to me.

If you buy into the story you most certainly can expect perfection and a perfect schedule. Or at least something close to that....

Once certainly shouldn't just say "Here is my money" and then just wait until something happens.

Just because Ray is on a shoe string budget or whatever is no excuse for anything.
Guys, budget doesn't enter into it. This was something that occurred based on timing and decisions based upon timing.
Bill Klapp wrote:
Mike Cohen wrote:This thread is awesome! We finally get a winemaker in Burgundy to be an active contributor here and we are doing our best to chase him off. Congratulations.

As someone who was involved in the HAG group, this situation doesn't even come close to that one. So the comparisons are apples to oranges.
Do you think before you post things like this, Mike? (First thought, I mean. I agree with the second.) It is pure BS. Why should anybody self-censor out of fear that he or she MIGHT contribute to driving off another poster? And Ray is just that at this point...another poster, as are we all. And he is not likely to be driven off, as evidenced by the back-and-forth that we just had. He knows that I am not one of his fans, but that does not mean that we cannot carry on the occasional dialogue. However, I would not pull any punches for Aubert de Villaine, either. I simply do not understand the groupie mentality, when applied to any poster on any wine board, nor the frequent attempts one sees around here to censor the ideas that people disagree with rather than discussing and debating them. Life is too short...
Bill, no one is driving me away from anywhere. You certainly haven't. Like I said no hard feelings. No individual could or has made me want to stop posting here. No one has asked me to leave. Nothing. I have received a large amount of supportive emails however (thank you guys!). That said, I don't think WineBerserkers is the right place for me to contribute any further posts to. I'm sure I'll keep in touch with a good many of you, clients and friends alike.

Thanks again everyone! See you on my blog, twitter, facebook or whatever crazy thing they think of next.


CLIENTS: Please email me at Ray@maison-ilan.com if you have Any questions, comments, or concerns. Anyone is welcome and encouraged to write me regarding anything Burgundy related, regarding my wines or otherwise.
Cheers

Ray
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#82 Post by Ray Walker » November 3rd, 2013, 5:40 am

Bill Klapp wrote:Ray, if we are going to open some bottles, are you bringing a 2009 Chambertin, or did you sell all of them? :)
Sold long ago. I would bring some of my bottles though for sure. Hopefully you'd open some Italian wines. Let's chat on email. Ray@maison-ilan.com .
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#83 Post by Mike Cohen » November 3rd, 2013, 5:42 am

Bill,

I most definitely think before I post. For example, I think that you are an unrelenting douchebag in almost every thread to which you contribute. I think that you are a person who rarely if ever has something positive or nice to contribute. I think that you are a person who hides behind the guise of I won't pull punches or temper my comments in order to feel the ability to spew whatever stream of consciousness bile that comes to mind. I think that you are the exception to the rule that people are nicer in person than they are online.

"life is too short..."

Warm regards,

Mike

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#84 Post by Bill Klapp (deactivated) » November 3rd, 2013, 5:53 am

But then again, you don't know that either, do you? But hey, at least you respect me enough to call me an unrelenting douchebag. I haven't enjoyed a compliment like that since I retired from the practice of law!

Go read the Italy food and wine thread, Mike, and see if you can find any positive or nice contributions in there. I hide behind nothing. Well, except the curtain in Oz, of course...


Warm regards,

Bill

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#85 Post by Howard Cooper » November 3rd, 2013, 6:09 am

I am getting somewhat confused here. I bought 2009s from Ray. Got them last year. Bought 2010s from Ray, got them from Crush without any problems. Only exception was Corbeaux, which Ray explained a while ago was not shipped because he deemed it not ready. 2011s not bottled yet. So, hard to ship them when not bottled.

Do we really have a three page thread because Suzanne is upset Ray did not answer her e-mails for 4 whole days. Wow. There have been times I have e-mailed Ray and he has answered me right away. Times when I have e-mailed Ray and have not heard from him for a couple of weeks. Never saw a need to start a thread about it.

This is not about a retailer not having wines one has purchased. This is not about a guy who organizes an auction group and then not shipping wines. This is a thread about a guy who has not shipped wine because he deemed them not ready to bottle yet. And, he has said that over and over again over the last few months. Certainly, I knew that the Corbeaux was not bottled yet. I did not and do not know when it will be bottled, but I do know that the wine has not somehow been lost.

Part of what we are buying when we buy Ray's wines is his judgment of when to bottle the wine. This is just like buying the wine of any other winery. So, hard to see a problem here.

So, the problem is not a shipping issue, not a trust issue, not a bad wine issue, not a someone is taking my money but not delivering wine issue or any of the other issues that Bill and others have been turning this into. It is simply an issue of Ray not returning an e-mail to Suzanne for 4 days. 4 days that really did not matter because the wine was not ready to ship yet.

Before the inevitable questions. I rarely take more than a day, and generally much less, to return work e-mails. Ray does at times seem a bit unorganized. I think it is because he is a young guy trying to do everything himself. Someday, I expect his wife or daughter or someone else will take over the business part of this operation much as Erica Meadows really does with Burghound. I also think Ray goes out of his way to avoid confrontation - in other words, if the wine had been bottled and shipped I bet he would have responded quicker but he delayed because he was nervous about disappointing Suzanne. [Don't know this for a fact, but I see in my dealings with Ray he really, really hates disappointing anyone or having to confront people.]

But, on the other hand, what producer in Burgundy is as available as Ray is to welcome visitors to the winery. Who else tells us as much about the process he goes to in making wine as Ray does. Ray is far from perfect. But, then, neither am I. And I go back to is a 4 day delay in responding to an e-mail worth this thread.
Howard

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#86 Post by Vinod S. » November 3rd, 2013, 6:29 am

Wow, this would be funny if it wasn't so depressing.

I enjoy most of Bill's posts (despite him being a lawyer), since he clearly has a wealth of knowledge about Italian wine and the region and is willing to speak his mind. Nonetheless, he missed the point of pulling punches when discussing Ray's wines and customer service (note: I have no dog in this fight as I have never purchased Maison Ilan wines, and likely won't until they have a longer track record), the board benefits from having Ray on it not because he's a "golden boy" or some bs, but because he's actually a winemaker that as a result can provide a different perspective about wine/vintage/process than us couch quarterbacks.

Furthermore, the critiquing of how Ray spends his day-to-day life is absurd, could you imagine if all of our clients tracked our online history from the moment we received an email to the moment we responded; it's one thing to critique his wines, customer service policies, or his variation in aging time for his wines, but that's over the line.

I have no problem with Suzanne coming onto the board to chase down a response from Ray (though if I did that every time a retailer or winemaker didn't respond to my emails within 4 days, I'd probably start a thread every two weeks), but pursuing the point after receiving a response and having the choice (as any consumer would), to stop purchasing his wines going forward, seems a little petty.

Slow clap guys, way to chase off one of the more interesting voices we had on this board.
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#87 Post by Randall McFarlane » November 3rd, 2013, 7:02 am

Howard Cooper wrote:I am getting somewhat confused here. I bought 2009s from Ray. Got them last year. Bought 2010s from Ray, got them from Crush without any problems. Only exception was Corbeaux, which Ray explained a while ago was not shipped because he deemed it not ready. 2011s not bottled yet. So, hard to ship them when not bottled.

Do we really have a three page thread because Suzanne is upset Ray did not answer her e-mails for 4 whole days. Wow. There have been times I have e-mailed Ray and he has answered me right away. Times when I have e-mailed Ray and have not heard from him for a couple of weeks. Never saw a need to start a thread about it.

This is not about a retailer not having wines one has purchased. This is not about a guy who organizes an auction group and then not shipping wines. This is a thread about a guy who has not shipped wine because he deemed them not ready to bottle yet. And, he has said that over and over again over the last few months. Certainly, I knew that the Corbeaux was not bottled yet. I did not and do not know when it will be bottled, but I do know that the wine has not somehow been lost.

Part of what we are buying when we buy Ray's wines is his judgment of when to bottle the wine. This is just like buying the wine of any other winery. So, hard to see a problem here.

So, the problem is not a shipping issue, not a trust issue, not a bad wine issue, not a someone is taking my money but not delivering wine issue or any of the other issues that Bill and others have been turning this into. It is simply an issue of Ray not returning an e-mail to Suzanne for 4 days. 4 days that really did not matter because the wine was not ready to ship yet.

Before the inevitable questions. I rarely take more than a day, and generally much less, to return work e-mails. Ray does at times seem a bit unorganized. I think it is because he is a young guy trying to do everything himself. Someday, I expect his wife or daughter or someone else will take over the business part of this operation much as Erica Meadows really does with Burghound. I also think Ray goes out of his way to avoid confrontation - in other words, if the wine had been bottled and shipped I bet he would have responded quicker but he delayed because he was nervous about disappointing Suzanne. [Don't know this for a fact, but I see in my dealings with Ray he really, really hates disappointing anyone or having to confront people.]

But, on the other hand, what producer in Burgundy is as available as Ray is to welcome visitors to the winery. Who else tells us as much about the process he goes to in making wine as Ray does. Ray is far from perfect. But, then, neither am I. And I go back to is a 4 day delay in responding to an e-mail worth this thread.
A very thoughtful comment by brother Cooper. My wife and I and a friend of ours visited Ray's operation in September and tasted some of his wines from barrel. We were very impressed with Ray and with the wine he's making.

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#88 Post by Carl Jensen » November 3rd, 2013, 7:10 am

Nice little witch hunt we had here, bravo! Who's the next winemaker we can chase off? Morgan? Mike Officer?

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#89 Post by Freek S u i j v e r » November 3rd, 2013, 7:15 am

Ray Walker wrote:I don't think WineBerserkers is the right place for me to contribute any further posts to.
Ray, I hope that you reconsider this. It would be a shame losing you!

On-topic: I ordered a lot of 2011, and am indeed also still waiting for them. When I reached out to Ray about a month ago, I got an answer after a few days (admittedly, I re-asked). It came a bit slower than I was used to in the past, but no big deal. The answer was clear and gave me confidence that I will be getting the wines soon. I plan on drinking a couple of them very soon, and don't care if you guys say that I need to let them sleep for a decade. They are mine! [cheers.gif] neener

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#90 Post by NickC » November 3rd, 2013, 7:22 am

I don't agree with Mr. Klapp often, but this sentiment -- that a customer cannot voice her concern about the experience purchasing from an entity (retailer or winemaker) due to some concern that WB will lose a contributor -- is utter BS to me. It's a textbook example of the chilling of speech.

I say that as a customer of Ray.
ch ee k (like on your face)

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#91 Post by Craig G » November 3rd, 2013, 7:25 am

Todd F r e n c h wrote:
Craig Gleason wrote:I just want to point out that Ray responded by phone and post within a few hours of the original posting, so comparisons to the other cases mentioned are totally bizarre.
I don't see why this is so different from a scenario with a different party X and party Y, but perhaps I'm oversimplifying it. To me, responding to a single, second, or third inquiry via private communication is customer service. Responding to public outcry is saving face.
Suzanne took it public. That made it open to all of Ray's customers. He responded in the right way, first privately and then publicly so his other customers could see the resolution. Yes, there was a delay, but four days during a busy time? Your original and continued comparisons are way off base.

BTW, I don't have any problem with Suzanne's communication here. She was having trouble getting a response so it was fair to ask online - many people have done that and it's a credit to WB that it works. The second post was a little pointed but accurate. It's fair for her to express some frustration.
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#92 Post by Leah Amir » November 3rd, 2013, 7:47 am

Ray,

So after numerous posts of from you and others I have a question...

When do you think the 2010 Gevrey Corbeaux will be shipped?

Shipping on the 2011's?

Thanks,

Leah

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#93 Post by CWun » November 3rd, 2013, 8:46 am

I really don't want to be wading back in to this... however...

I think a root of Suzanne's issues was that Ray forgot to send out some mailing list emails when his winemaking decisions changed his bottling dates. So his customers are under the impression that the info in his previous emails still holds. Pretty simple. He apologized to that point, and I think he is going to be more proactive on that front.

Again, I have no issues with waiting longer to get my wines and I can understand if Ray can't answer a customer's email right away.
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#94 Post by Mike Cohen » November 3rd, 2013, 8:50 am

NickC wrote:I don't agree with Mr. Klapp often, but this sentiment -- that a customer cannot voice her concern about the experience purchasing from an entity (retailer or winemaker) due to some concern that WB will lose a contributor -- is utter BS to me. It's a textbook example of the chilling of speech.

I say that as a customer of Ray.
Nick,

I don't think that anyone is suggesting that people censor their comments to please Ray or any winemaker. My suggestion and that of others is that there is a better way to language the requests for information. Bill Klapp's aggressiveness may be to his benefit in the courtroom, but we are on a wine discussion forum, not in the courtroom and his aggressive, take no prisoners, no holds barred communication style is simply impolite and a sure fire way to drive off interesting, valuable participants like Ray. Bill is nothing more than a loudmouth bully who has directly or indirectly driven off a valuable contributor. My hat is off to Bill for his accomplishments.

Warm regards,

Mike

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#95 Post by Jack Linden » November 3rd, 2013, 9:46 am

Ray Walker wrote:I don't think WineBerserkers is the right place for me to contribute any further posts to.
You must be joking, right? For years you've used this forum -- and others -- for shameless self-promotion, masking it behind the "Hey folks, can you believe my luck" charade. And now that things get a little uncomfortable, you're going to take your toys and go home? Please: Act like a grownup.

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#96 Post by Adam Noble » November 3rd, 2013, 9:51 am

The world would be a much better place if this thread had stopped at post 3. Now I am just mad and disappointed, and my faith in humanity is a little lower.

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#97 Post by alan weinberg » November 3rd, 2013, 10:09 am

Freek S u i j v e r wrote:
Ray Walker wrote:I don't think WineBerserkers is the right place for me to contribute any further posts to.
Ray, I hope that you reconsider this. It would be a shame losing
+1. One needs thick skin around here.

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#98 Post by Tom Blach » November 3rd, 2013, 10:19 am

Ray, I'm sorry that you feel this, something I have sometimes felt myself I'm afraid, but you would certainly be missed.

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#99 Post by Richard Shin » November 3rd, 2013, 10:23 am

Was going to pile on here, decided I'd rather not.
Jack Linden wrote:
Ray Walker wrote:I don't think WineBerserkers is the right place for me to contribute any further posts to.
You must be joking, right? For years you've used this forum -- and others -- for shameless self-promotion, masking it behind the "Hey folks, can you believe my luck" charade. And now that things get a little uncomfortable, you're going to take your toys and go home? Please: Act like a grownup.
Last edited by Richard Shin on November 3rd, 2013, 10:28 am, edited 1 time in total.
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#100 Post by Bill Klapp (deactivated) » November 3rd, 2013, 10:24 am

Ray is not going anywhere, people. Chill out. His constituency is here, and he will serve it. Mike Cohen, you are entitled to your own opinion. I point out only that it is wrong. You may be describing me at my worst, but certainly not on this thread. You must have missed the fact that Ray agreed almost entirely with my first, long post and wants to get together to drink some wine. You want no-holds-barred, take-no-prisoners, I will give you a taste of it. (I was a corporate lawyer, not a litigator, by the way.) You need to get over yourself and develop a little thick skin. Go take a quick survey of the number of posts and the level of discussion on some of the threads that I have started or have been a major participant in. Yeah, you pick a anti-Parker rant thread, and you will find what you are looking for. Otherwise, I am not so sure. What you are doing here hardly constitutes discussion, it seems to me.

Ray, do not stop posting here, or else bin-Laden wins. Wait, bin-Laden is dead. Well, if you stop posting here, something bad will happen. I am certain of it!

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