Retailer PSA -- Los Angeles Wine Company TCA policy (Updated with Winery's response)

Won’t accept return, do an exchange, or give store credit for a corked wine unless it was purchased “within a reasonable time” of the inquiry, which was defined to me as 30 to 60 days.

Now, I approached them about a wine I purchased in November of 2007. I understand it may not be possible for the store to recoup their costs associated with the bottle, and that would obviously be a different situation than if they could recoup their costs. But what happened with me was I called and told them of the corked bottle, they asked when it was purchased, I told them, then they said “No. We can’t be responsible for a corked wine you purchased that long ago. We can’t be responsible for storage conditions over that length of time.” And that response can pretty quickly — I don’t believe they really cared to help at all. FWIW, they do carry a current release from the same winery (Long Shadows) right now, so I bet they’re already in business with the appropriate distributor.

Anyways, there it is. FYI.

For my part, I will think long and hard before buying from them again a wine that needs age and is under cork.

Some people are bad at business.

I think a more customer friendly approach that wouldn’t hurt their finances would be — “sorry, we can’t take it back after this much time. How about we give you 25% off of your next purchase as a sign of good will?”

Thirteen years? I mean, I know TCA is a special case but it’s not like they can return this to their supplier anymore. They could be nice as Shay mentioned but I would never even consider ringing up a wine shop thirteen years later.

Thirteen years, lol.

What was the wine?

Supposed they could have been kinder, but it was a purchase made THIRTEEN years ago after all…

I’ve bought from them for 25 years and always had a great experience. Some stores don’t accept returns on wines over 10 years old. Yes they can’t exactly call the same distributor for a new bottle. I wouldn’t hold it against them. They have a good selection and by far the best prices and it’s a rare family owned small store with the same staff for over 10 years.

I’ve never managed to get a replacement at any wine store here, incl K&L. They always tell me that I need to bring the bottle back. I understand that, but I might not show up at these places often enough save one or two bottles for several months.

There’s no way I’d buy from them after reading the original post.

Then again, there’s no way I’d buy from them before reading the thread .

But that’s only because I don’t know of them at all.

Thanks for reading my useless post.

I agree with Brent. I also have been buying from LA wine co. for more than 25 years. Great service always

Wait, did I read that right? Thirteen years?

It looks like we made it a full dozen posts before…

TCA is a flaw since bottling. If he has proof of purchase then the store should replace the bottle. The store should light the bat signal and send it back To the winery for analysis and recovery of their money. The winery should sue the cork manufacturer. Name another consumer good that the buyer accepts defect risk? Blah blah blah. deadhorse deadhorse deadhorse

13 years though…seriously. Good try, but I’m not surprised. I would have given you a coupon though, if they can keep you in the store or on their website longer, they will eventually convert you to more sales (or so says conventional retail wisdom)

Question for all those 13 years is too long ago - if you purchased a wine directly from a winery, and you found it was corked 13 years ago, would you expect it to be replaced? Just curious, this question isn’t related to LA Wine Co.

Well, the winery could and should give you a replacement bottle of whatever vintage they have. I’ve contacted wineries that I’ve bought from and they have sent replacement bottles but from the most recent vintage. I’ve never returned something more then 2 vintages past current so not sure how they would feel about that but it would be worth trying.

On that note, maybe email the winery and alert them to the issue. Maybe you’ll get lucky!

Let’s focus on the actual policy (no TCA returns unless purchased within last 30 to 60 days) rather than the specific facts of my case (13 years past purchase). The specific facts of my case are not relevant to policy, I merely included them because people were inevitably going to inquire. The policy is what it is, and it’s the sort of policy that I, as a customer, want to know about, hence the PSA. Nothing more. Nothing less.

Another not relevant fact: I had an email out to the winery about it before posting this thread.

I’d still like to know the wine, as this comes up as a distributor frequently and curious if my solution would be satisfactory.

As far as their policy it is 100% okay if stated up front, and as someone said earlier, you should have the bottle with 90%+ of its contents in it still if you expect a refund/replacement.

It’s a 2004 Long Shadows Feather.

Sincerely, this thread was not intended to be about how I can get my corked bottle replaced/refunded/whatever, but rather L.A. Wine Co.'s policy of not accepting returns/replacement/store credit for TCA-infected wines more than 1 to 2 months after sale.

I’m 100% o.k. with stores having whatever return policy they want. Once known, I will factor that in to where I spend my money, how much, and on what.

Also not helping the situation was having been given a load of bull about storage conditions — that’s a straight-up lie.

Did I expect to receive refund/credit/replacement after this much time? No. Did I want a refund/replacement/credit? Yes, obviously. So, what did I expect?

  1. Refund/replacement/credit if possible; and
  2. Not to be lied-to.

Living in LA, I have been buying from them since the mid 90’s. LA Wine Co is a no-frills, warehouse store that brings wine in and moves it out ASAP. I enjoy buying from them.

I would not have asked any merchant for help with a wine I bought 13 years ago. Of course, I would never remember who I bought wine from 13 years ago :slight_smile:

Corked wines are a defective product. It was defective within minutes after bottling. I feel your pain. If LA WINE CO lets people know they don’t take back wines more than 1-2 months after the purchase in advance, I am not sure what the issue is on a going-forward basis. Wallys takes back any wine for any reason. But you pay up for that privilege.

Thanks Brian, I ask because I want sure if it was some back vintage DRC or rarity that is irreplacable.

Brings me to my solution, which I wonder what your thoughts would be as a consumer. Any wine purchased from us, if corked, we send our rep in to verify its corked and that there is wine in the bottle, then we replace it with that vintage if possible or the vintage we have in stock and take back the corked bottle

I emphasize the part that we take the bottle back and there has to be wine in it for two reasons, I have had accounts try to return empty bottles as corked they used for a tasting or had them try to return wines that are sound but the customer didn’t like.

Would a 2016 Feather have been an amicable solution?

This is such an interesting situation, and because the retailer states their policy clearly up front, there’s really nothing that can be done. I think the policy is ludicrous, but as others have said, it is what it is, and this retailer has always been known for great pricing.

As others have said, that wine was ‘faulty’ within days of bottling. It’s a challenge that our industry has not fully embraced and therefore there is no one set way of dealing with it. Had this been a $500 bottle of wine, might the outcome had been different? As others have said, different retailers deal with these things differently - not sure I can say that there is a ‘right’ way to do so.

As far as the winery goes, they probably should make things right by replacing it with a current vintage. Note that moving forward, since everyone believes TCA rates are falling to almost nothing, this shouldn’t be a problem, right? Ummm - well, that’s another discussion altogether - including the fact that some wineries choose to use ‘guaranteed no TCA’ corks but still have issues . . .