FUN-travel: Wine Tasting – Trip Recap

May 6, 2015 by · Comments Off on FUN-travel: Wine Tasting – Trip Recap 

8 Trip to Modesto 3.15

Rock Star Patrick

Cute, Cuter, Cutest!

  • Lodi, Sutter Creek, Murphys – now that we’ve stayed at 2 out of 3 – Sutter Creek would be a definite if we come back.
  • Accommodations ranged from $100 to $150 – lunches ranged from $10 to $45 – dinners ranged from $75 to $150 including wine. (that crab is not cheap)
  • Cell service was spotty in the foothills which I had no problem with!

Wine tasting – we loved the “unpretentiousness” of all the places we visited – many didn’t charge or waived the fee in lieu of buying a bottle – we share one tasting when visiting multiple wineries – wine clubs saved us 20% to 40% + no shipping

  • All in all, we made a good haul – good thing we brought the truck!
9 Trip to Modesto 3.15

Rock Star Colin

  • Cute, Cuter, Cutest! – The best part was seeing our Rock Stars & Pinewood Derby Queen!

FUN-travel: Wine Tasting – Modesto to Sutter Creek – Day 2

April 25, 2015 by · Comments Off on FUN-travel: Wine Tasting – Modesto to Sutter Creek – Day 2 

1st stop Lodi – to pick up our wine club orders at Oak Ridge and Klinker Brick. Oak Ridge is Lodi’s oldest operating winery and has some incredibly good wines and even better prices! We are members of their VIP club – 2-3 select bottles each month – cost $25 – 35% tasting room discount. March’s special deal was Pinot Noir at an additional 5% off. That was a no brainer, we got a case. What makes it even better is they have 8 different varietals for a total of 48 different labels that include whites, reds, blends, champagne, sherry, and port. This is by far one of the best wine clubs we have joined! Their Moss Roxx is off the charts! We love the smoky richness. We had it at a restaurant in San Diego and that is what brought us here.

Lodi 2

  • Klinker Brick is much smaller, offering only zinfandel and syrah wines. Their tasting room is fairly big and has lots of FUN items for sale including a large selection of jewelry. This week’s special was too good to pass up – free pair of earrings with each necklace purchased. I found a great chunky amethyst one.
  • As we headed off, we started doing the math on the Oak Ridge pricing, and  turned around to get another case. That saved us $25 in shipping and as we say, “You can’t drink the shipping charge.”

FUN-fact – Lodi is the “Zin Capitol of the World” producing a whopping 35%. More grapes are grown in Lodi (100,000 acres) than in all of Napa (45,000 acres). They are known for their Zinfandels and Syrahs which are intense in color and concentration of flavors. And YUMMY might I add!


WOW Word-Of-the-Week #467: Follow up

July 18, 2013 by · 2 Comments 

Follow up carry to completion; follow through on.

 How often do you have to follow up with people to make sure they are holding up their end of the bargain? Does it happen at work? Do you have to prod people to complete tasks or assignments?

This week’s WOW comes from my husband Chris’s experience trying to join a wine club. For those not familiar with the winery culture, they are very hospitable, most often will go to great lengths to please you, and in short they are “muy simpatico!” It’s all about the cult of wine enjoyment!

In January, 2011 we were on a Caribbean cruise and I wanted to crash a private party. The adult side of me said not to and in the end I was sorry I didn’t. It turned out that we met the owners of Macchia winery, located in Lodi, California who had hosted the event, at the airport on the way home. They said, “What a shame we didn’t meet you sooner as we had a lot of leftover wine we needed to drink.” How’s that for a bummer!

That June we took a road trip and decided to stop in Lodi on the way to Yosemite. We went to Macchia and loved all of their wines and joined their wine club. Several wineries later we asked what we should do for dinner we were told they were having a Farmers Market downtown. That didn’t really appeal to me (I’ve been to lots of Farmers Markets) but everyone we talked to said to do it.

a van

Well, let me say this, it was more like a Street Fair that went for blocks with music and tons of people. At 7 pm we were hungry and you can imagine every restaurant was full. Fortunately I’m a very lucky girl and we came to a restaurant with an outside patio that was just in the perfect spot to view the street fair. So I went to the front desk and said, “In a perfect world you would have an outside table for us.” At that very moment they did and the lady said, “I just need to clean it and the table is yours!”

We ordered a bottle of wine we had never heard of (Van Ruiten Cab-Shiraz”). As our server was opening the bottle, a man sitting at the table next to us said, “If you give me a glass of your wine, I’ll buy you the bottle.”  Well that as no brainer! That nice gesture, and nice man, turned out to be John Van Ruiten, the owner of the winery. We spent the evening with John and his two friends going to a number of wine venues. We had a blast and Lodi turned out to be such a wonderful memorable experience.

This brings us to June 28th, when Chris went online to join the Van Ruiten wine club and take advantage of two Birthday sales that would expire on June 30th. Before submitting the order, he noticed the shopping cart listed incorrect prices. He called the number for Jackie Van Ruiten, Vice-President/Wine Club Manager; there was no answer so he left a message explaining the reason for the call (it was about 11 AM). A return call was not received so he called again later that afternoon, still no response. The next day, Saturday, he called the Tasting Room after 10 AM thinking someone would be there. Left another message and the reason for the call. Still, no response.

Chris thought, “There must be a simple explanation for this, after all the cult of winery hospitality must certainly be alive and well. The offices are probably closed for the weekend and I’ll receive a return call on Monday.” You guessed it, no return call. Curious and not wanting to give up on this, he sent Jackie Van Ruiten an email on Tuesday July 2nd explaining what had happened. Yep! Still no response.  By Monday, July 8th he decided to give it one more try and forwarded the July 2nd email to Bill Rogan, President/General Sales Manager. Within an hour be responded and said, Chris, I will have Audrey take a look at this today. Sorry.” Well, Chris thought, “Just a misunderstanding, my faith and love for hospitality and service integrity would prevail. Someone really is alive and well up there.”

Well, it is now July 18th and not a word from anyone at the Van Ruiten Winery. Chris’s last thought, “How bizarre, how bizarre, I’ve given up. I’m just verklempt!!!”

This week’s focus is on follow up. How much business do you think is lost because people don’t follow through? Do you complete tasks when asked or assigned? Do you need to follow up with fellow workers to make sure they follow through on their tasks or assignments? How does it feel when people don’t follow through on your requests?