Which is really the reps whole point, Roger. We ‘civilians’ used to debate, ad nauseum, the situation with ‘hostage wines’ from producers. But, as long as the producer is making more than one varietal, it “comes down to business” for them as well, and they wanna move their stuff…ALL their stuff.
Grapevine (unless their book has changed a lot) is not a book to cherrypick to that extent. I thought there was a lot of seriously good stuff in there and my first order (3 years ago) was for 6 or 7 different items. I really had the impression that the ‘bundling’ was not a requirement from Rombauer, so much as from Grapevine, but I may have been wrong. I once asked Rombauer directly about it and whomever I spoke with said it wasn’t them (could have been someone with no knowledge, but ???).
In South Orange County (at the time) a dozen or more small shops opened within a year or so of each other. When the Chard came out, a Gelson’s 2 miles from me seemed to have a never-ending supply (as did Wine Club and HiTime), but I never got even case one. It seemed like none of the other small shops ever got any either, so at least it was consistent. When a very large competitor opened, they got it, and the reason I found was a prior relationship with the general manager. Fair? Maybe not, but they were much bigger potential so ???
I may have had a different problem because I brought in some Cab and Zin but then was turned down for the Chard (all I asked for was one case to start… sheesh!) My feeling was that Grapevine really didn’t want to have to deal with the Chard appetites of so many small shops when so much of their whole book would sell out quickly without us. It is at least encouraging to hear that there is something of a general policy coming out of Rombauer on this now, if that is in fact the case.
(BTW, I really loved the selection in your shop. Only visited it once, but it was a good experience and one I remembered when I took the plunge with my own shop.)
The problem I have with Grapevine is that they don’t work with you - even in this economy. Everyone else is proactively coming to me with great wine deals right now.
There are no bargains in the Grapevine book - a lot of it is overpriced in today’s market and won’t move. Yeah, I occasionally get a case of Hitching Post for those that buy on label, but there are better values right now (IMHO.) What little wine I sell is by taste and not scores or reputation. I probably won’t start buying Rhom Reds in the hopes of getting some Chard. For better or worse, I’m trying to create a wine experience where people buy based on their own taste. Hard to do in the OC, but hope there are a small group out there that will support that concept.
The economy has made me be very careful what I bring in. It has to have amazing QPR to get any interest. Best training I could ever hope for (and it’s also a nightmare but I’m trying to make the best of it.)
I get it completely. I can only imagine how things have changed in the last year.
Thanks for the kind words. The thing I left out of my post was the economy. $25+ Pinot used to be my largest $ category, but it had slipped behind Cab by the time we sold. Cab being #1 was normal for the area, but I thought my numbers were due to our specific Pinot selection at the time. I have no way of knowing how the economy has affected Grapevine, but things don’t seem to have changed much from what I’m reading here. I wasn’t really trying to defend them, or their book, only to put a perspective on the subject.
We all know how tough things can get and a supplier who seems to be above it all is not a help.
now Gallo owns Rombauer…