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My worse wine delivery experience

Do you order wine on-line? When you do, do you consider what kind of weather you are dealing with? They don’t ship wine during the hot months of summer for obvious reason. But how about winter? When the weather can change over night. As convenient as it is to shop from the comfort of your home, it’s also hard to predict a safe delivery from winery all the way to your home.

I don’t order wine on-line that often  for the same reasons ( and, the shipping is not cheap).  But sometimes, especially when trying to locate something super special, I have to.

That was a story when I read a really interesting blog about Jim Ball’s Pinot Noir (from the source I trust.) The author was tweeting that it was the best Pinot Noir made in America). That’s some statement! I love Pinot Noir and never heard of this one, so it caught my attention. I should try this wine.

What made me even more curious was when author wrote to me that I would be lucky to locate some. Yeah, that works all the time. At that point, my natural radar went on and now I wanted it really bad.

On the winery website I found out that you can’t simply order or pre-order the wine – you send them an email and somebody will get back to you. In the meantime I learned that Jim Ball is an attorney-turn-to- wine-producer which made it even more interesting for me to try his wine.

Sure enough, next day I received a phone call from Jim Ball himself. How exciting! He asked me how I heard about them and I told him about the blog I read and messages I have exchanged with the author of the blog, about his Pinot Noir.

I was told that he has few bottles of 2006 available – and I gladly ordered two.  Not particularly cheap,  but that was kind of expected. So far really exciting. I got to speak with the owner of the winery himself, the wine was on my way next week, I couldn’t wait to taste that treasure!

Few weeks later, wine still didn’t arrive. I thought maybe they held the shipping (in the meantime the temperature dropped deep below 32F again). But towards the end of the month, I became suspicious. Maybe something went wrong?  My card was charged already on February 7th, so I shoot an email to Mr. Ball.

“The wine shipped in the middle of last week,” his answer was. “Please, let me know if it doesn’t arrive by the end of this week, I will trace it with UPS.” It was already Thursday so my first though was – OMG, they don’t ship overnight? I guess, I kind of assumed they did, otherwise I would have requested it. My mistake # 1, never assume anything!

The wine didn’t come next day either. Friday night, I wrote another email to the winery and received a chilling answer on Saturday morning.  Mr. Ball was letting me know that UPS “delivered” the wine on Friday afternoon (10 days after it was shipped) and LEFT IT behind our front door. I ran outside to find the box there on Saturday morning, after a night of 25F in CT. WOW!!!!

I thought somebody over 21 years of age must sign for wine delivery! One would expect at least a note from UPS that they left an important package behind your door. None of that happened. I am just praying that the wine survived 10 days of UPS handling (who knows where did they store the wine all this time), the trip on open UPS trucks and than freezing night outside our door.

Bottles were really frozen when I unpacked it. Well, nothing I can do now. I laid it down in my cellar and will wait few weeks to give it a try. It would have to be a really good bottle of Pinot Noir to survive such an ordeal! I will let you know.

Why I am writing this? I hope you will learn from my mistake. Next time you order wine on-line, make sure they ship overnight. Never assume anything like I did. I would rather pay more for shipping, if I was given that option. Who could imagine such a nightmare wine delivery?I still hope that I will be able to write a very positive review about Jim Balls Pinot Noir. I hope his wine was strong enough to survive.

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