When oh When to Drink the dusty bottles in my wine rack? Wineries' responses and response times. Summary: somewhat disappointing response times!

What’s an ignorant wine drinker to do? I tried using some of the internet’s vintage guides to answer my questions as I dusted off my wine rack, but those guides simply weren’t satisfactory. Either that, or I fear that I’d waited too long to open those bottles. So I resorted to the winery websites for information, and it’s a good thing I wasn’t needing decision-support for a dinner party later that day… because ONLY ONE winery of the three I reached was “on top” of the customer service question.

Now, I know that this isn’t exactly a representative sampling and that the results of this survey are not statistically significant at the 98% percentile of certainty, but still ... such customer service, and rapidly, is a function to which the wine industry needs to be attuned.


Original question: sent at 9 a.m. on a Monday morning to info@tobinjames.com:
SUBJECT: When to drink your 2000 syrah silver reserve
MESSAGE: I've had this bottle for a while and wondring how much longer I should
cellar it, or if I should drink it now. Thanks for your help!

Thank you for your email. The 2000 Silver Syrah is a fabulous wine. I would
recommend drinking it. The 2000 Syrah should be drinking very nice now and
it will definitely hold for a few more years. I would love to hear how it
P.S. If you decide to hold the bottle for a bit longer be sure it is
cellared properly.

Monica Martin, Manager
Tobin James Cellars
8950 Union Road
Paso Robles CA 93446

AND THEN, IN ADDITION TO A PROMPT RESPONSE, Tobin James provided even more superior customer service…
I wrote: Thank you for your speedy reply, and the responsible way in which you mentioned the need for proper cellaring. Do you have a resource that will help me understand what "proper cellaring" means for the everyday winedrinker who has less than 4 cases on hand? Thanks again!

Monica promptly replied: Barbara, The term proper cellaring is just keeping the bottle in a cool constant temp.

~~~~ a close second ~~~~~ Grgich Hills ! ~~~~~~~~~~~~

Original question: sent on Mon, Sep 29, 2008 at 8:50 AM to info@grgich.com
SUBJECT: question about your Napa Valley Chardonnay 2001 -- drink now or hold?
MESSAGE: I've had this bottle for a while now and wondering how much longer I should cellar it, or if it should be consumed now. Thanks for your help!

Hi Barbara,
Last year we opened some Chardonnay going back to the 1980's and most all of them were still excellent. That is kind of a long way of saying that you could drink it now and it would be wonderful or you could hold it for a couple of more years and it would still be good..

Bob During
Grgich Hills Estate

~~oh my oh my~~~ya gotta do better than this, Frank Family! ~~~

Original question: sent on Monday, September 29, 2008 8:48 AM to info@frankfamilyvineyards.com
SUBJECT: question about your cab sauv Napa Valley from 1998
MESSAGE: I've had this bottle for a while now, and wondering if I should continue to cellar it, or should drink it now. Thanks for your help.

RESPONSE TIME: 4 days, 2.5 hours
You should drink it now. 98 was a year that should have been consumed a couple of Years back, hope it is okay. Do not decant, as this will age it even more…which you don’t want to do.
Sincerely, Rick


Regardless, thanks to all the wineries for helping me along the path to more understanding of wines and their lifelines ... I appreciate it.