Donelan Wines!?

I recently read some great reviews of Donelan Wines portfolio of wines from RP and the Rhone Report. I was curious so I checked out his site and signed up for the mailing list. I also was given the opportunity to purchase some wines but, as some were a tad on the “high” ($90 for a Paso Robles Syrah) side I didn’t pull the trigger. The very next day I got a call from Joe Donelan! It turns out he was back East on business and took the time to welcome me to the mailing list. He spent several minutes talking to me about his wine making philosophy and his lineup of wines. I was very impressed with his stated goals in wine making and I really appreciate the personal attention he gave me and the extra effort he showed to try and make his brand a success. I felt that if he was willing to extend himself to that extent to inform his prospective customers it boded well for the effort he puts into making his wines. He was also the proprietor of Pax Wines.

I decided to purchase some wine and give them a try. They showed that they were sold out of a couple wines that I wanted to try so I made a comment on the purchase screen that I would also like to try these wines if they had any left. Once again I got a call from Joe asking how many of each I would like and he was able to accommodate my request.

I realize that he does not have a huge operation and so is able to be more involved in transactions such as this, but I also think that it shows his dedication and general interest in customer service. I really appreciate this level of service.

Has anyone else had any experience with Donelan/Pax, either tasting or customer service wise? I’ve never even tasted any of these wines but, as I mentioned, they have gotten great reviews.

customer service has always been top notch

I remember receiving handwritten thank you cards after I purchased wines

I joined a month or so ago and also received a phone call from Joe. I was also impressed.

Both Joe and Tyler Thomas (winemaker) are great guys, making some great juice. Went and tasted with them one afternoon this past summer at their Santa Rosa winery. They have some kickass stuff in barrel to look forward to! And, as you mentioned, customer service is the name of their game.

With as much great wine as there is in this world, this has become the defining factor in my buying decisions.

+1 on Joe and Tyler.
Joe is a hands on guy. He welcomed me with a phone call as well. He hand writes thank you notes after each purchase. Went to the open house last summer and he pulled me aside and pointed to a mixed case over in the corner of the room. It had 06 Alder Springs Syrah “The Terrraces” and Eastern Ridge. He said “This is the best deal here ($340 for the case) I paid $8,000/ton for that fruit.” It retailed for $90 a bottle. I’m glad I purchased it.
They had some great barrel samples at the open house as well. A little pricey but they win me over with the customer service. I’m a sucker for that.

+1 Joe was always a great guy and customer service is top notch.

After Joe and Pax split it felt a little bit like when friends divorce and there’s some question on who you’ll keep in touch with, but the good news is we can continue to follow Pax at Wind Gap and I’m also excited for the future of Donelan and impressed with what Tyler did with 2008 which is the first vintage over which he had complete control. Fantastic and I think as Tyler gains more experience with the vineyards the best is yet to come.

Many wineries could learn from Joe. His personal touch is different than any other winery.

Did a tasting with him and wow is all I have to say. If you are into his wines, worth doing.

By the way, I’m a sucker for the Walker Vine Hill. Out of this world Syrah for me. The 03 is some sick juice.

Had an 01 Castelli-Knight at Deer Camp that I purchased on someone’s half off sale for like $17.50 and one of the best buys of the year. Beautifully aged and cut through our venison chops. Outstanding.

Joe called me just yesterday and has been calling me since I bought my first Pax (the 2004 vintage) in 2006. I loved the wines and just bought a sampler of the Donlan wines to see what Tyler is doing. They seem to be getting their fruit from the better of the vineyards they used to source from at Pax.

I signed up on the Pax list December 22, 2007 and received a personal phone call from Mr. Donelan the next day.

These guys truly are a class act. JOe’s son Tripp is always available and friendly as well. They are the poster folks of a well run family business in my opinon.