Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Note To The Big Guys

Dear Kind and Somewhat Simple Minded Sirs,

I am writing you in an effort to avoid the awkward and honestly, very annoying conversation that we will be forced to have when....and yes I know it will be a "when" not an "if" you come in the shop over the next two days to drop your, "Killer deals!" on me. As I have mentioned to you before, (go ahead and read that as over and freaking over again) we are a shop that specializes in artisan and small grower Champagnes. Period.

We have built our reputation on finding wines that taste and feel like they were made by somebody, wines with personality, texture, length and freshness, you know wines that have everything your bulk produced, been sitting in a warehouse for God knows how long, insipid, often tired and flat tasting "But it's got a good name" brands don't. Yeah, those wines.

So I regret to inform you that I shan't be taking the five cases of Yellow Label, Whatever Star, Cordon Rouge or any of the other shit wines that at no matter how much a discounted price, (and let's be honest....I know it's a stretch for you but, you're gonna charge us more per bottle than Costco or BevMo are selling them for) still offer no value to my customers and have the ever good for business "Nah, I don't much care for it" Wine Country seal of ambivalence.

I understand that you are just doing your job, I mean those millions of cases aren't going to move themselves, (um, and you might want to stop using that line, "They sell themselves" when begging me to take some off your hands. If they did you wouldn't be here breaking my balls to take some. Just sayin') but as we have discussed ad nauseam, they don't move at The Wine Country either so offering me a free case to toss upon the five cases that I will still be looking at next December isn't quite the bait you seem to think it is.

I thank you very much for your attention to this letter and I ask that you print it out and read it again come February. I have neither the time nor the desire to beat this dead horse with you, again. Figured it would be in the interest of time, and my freaking blood pressure to contact you and be as frank as possible. No means no.....still.

Should you have any further questions or need any clarification please consult my spokesmen:

Pascal Agrapart
Serge Billiot
Camille Saves
Jose Dhondt

Bruno Gobillard

They can be found at the firm of, We Do It Better Than You
1 (800) Get-Clue

Much Love,
Samantha Dugan
Champagne Lover....


John M. Kelly said...

Yeah that got a chuckle out of me. Try not to get depressed about this, but you will be writing the same letter ten... twenty years from now. Chin up!

So here's an idea - when these guys show up, bring them into an office where you are sitting behind a desk sipping a glass of one of the artisanal bottles prominently displayed. With no other chairs or anything to sit on in the room. Tell them they can have exactly two minutes of your time, and have a timer running.

Joe said...

Do you guys sell Cook's? It's my favorite champagne.

TWG said...

How much is that Agrapart in the window?

Marcia Macomber said...

Luv it!

Cook's? Isn't that one of those bubbly bottles that turns out to be quite good at removing rust? ...I'm not sure if it's via the bubbly or the bottle though....

Samantha Dugan said...

Wow, that's just depressing. You are likely correct but just this once, I hope to gawd you're wrong.

You sir are an asshat.

A mere $41.99, with that face, can you believe it?!

I have to say I don't think I have ever had Cook's but if it is anything like the burp inducing crap they serve at brunch....well, I doubt I would even put my rusty shit through that.

V said...

The storefront at Wine Expo in Santa Monica... God bless Roberto!


Lisa said...

Yellow label star whatever is all irrelevant when you consider these three little words: Hello Kitty prosecco. Just sayin'...

Samantha Dugan said...

Gotta love that right?!

I would sooner drink Yellow Label Cordon Blue Balls than take one more sip of that Hello Kitty shit. That my friend is saying somethin'

John M. Kelly said...

heh heh heh she talked about her "rusty shit" - that's too good for Cooks, also.

Samantha Dugan said...

Awe, that's kinda sweet....I think.

Michael Hughes said...

Awesome. Just awesome.

On another note I'm insanely jealous that you have so many incredible wines at your disposal. I wish I had even 1/3 that many outstanding Champagnes in my store.

Thomas said...

I used to have this conversation every damned year, too.

What always made me laugh, however, is when I was a sales rep for a distributor and in mid January each year, I'd be forced to listen to the complaints of retailers who each year bought into the usual "big buys" and were stuck with stacks of crap on their floor.

They never seemed to learn.

Samantha Dugan said...

Thanks amigo! Just figured it was worth a shot, doubt it will work but whatever.

Trust me, I know how lucky we are to have so many amazing wines available to us, now if we could just get rid of those archaic shipping laws they could be available to everyone, sigh.

No crap stacks on our sales floor so some of us do in fact learn. Sure, we learned the hard way but looking at stacks of shit you would never drink and have a very hard time telling anyone else to, well hard learned lesson but lesson learned.

Thomas said...


I learned the lesson as a sales rep and then carried it over to my store, which where you work sounds very much like the one my partner and I started in Manhattan ten years ago.

Alfonso Cevola said...

VC sales are up - they are now allocating in some states. so they probably wont bother you..

btw - if people are drinking the stuff, it isnt bad for the category.

just my view from Planet Zardoz

Samantha Dugan said...

Well one could look at it that way, just as one might say the same about Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio. Could say it but I still think it is lack of exposure rather than quality. Thanks for chiming in kid!

Alfonso Cevola said...

people gotta start somewhere...

Samantha Dugan said...

True but that kind of start, with the mindset that you are tasting "one of the best" does little to inspire the continuation of the journey. How many people think they don't like Champagne? Far too many and I have to wonder how many of them just don't like White Star or Clicquot....

JW said...

Preach it Girl! Can I get an AMEN!

Samantha Dugan said...


Joe said...

haven't heard "asshat" in a while. oh, you slay me

Samantha Dugan said...

Protection of the classics of one of my personal missions in life.

Alfonso Cevola said...

First thing we gotta do is get people to drink wine. Any wine. That's a "start". All the highfalutin Amens and high fives aint gonna put enough butts in the seats.

Appreciate all your optimism and idealism. But salespeople have been calling things "the best" for years. Bud is the king of beers? yeah right. Chevy's are built like a rock (more like Irag after we got through with them), think again.

There's a difference between the "pitch" and where we got to go. And we need a lot more people drinking wine, even if it is S. Marg PG. Once they get wine in their glasses, in place of Red Bull or Pepsi, then you can start working on their choices.

You have to get people thinking “wine” first, not growers Champagne or Bio-di Brunello.

Wine. Any kind.

Even if it’s Thunderbird. Or Cook’s.

Jon Erickson said...

From the restaurant's perspective it's nearly impossible getting people to splurge on a bottle of lesser known champagne these days. At least this is the case outside of the financial centers or big money towns. I agree with Alfonso that keeping the category alive is important. I take it easy on the Southern/Youngs reps. They've got a job to do and its a tough one. Maybe I'm just reaching a Dressner-esque big distributor as evil empire rant fatigue.

Samantha Dugan said...

Oh I understand and I rarely go after the SWS and Youngs guys here, matter of fact I almost never deal with them at all so really have no issues with them other than the refuse to respect the fact that I don't want their Champagnes, have not in years and still they insist on coming by....wasting my time when I have no extra to spare and try to get me to stack items that will do NO good for my store. I don't hate them, not at all but I think after over 6 years of saying no they should just leave me alone no?
Thanks for adding to the conversation though, appreciate it greatly.