- April 30, 2020
When we began selling wine in 1984, we decided to deliver case orders ourselves to patrons in the Bay Area. Not only did this save us on shipping expenses but more importantly, we got to know our patrons well, and vice versa! (Mrs. Smith likes her cases opened. Mr. Brown wants the cases left at his back door. The Joneses liked the wine put in their wine cellar.) And, even more importantly it allowed us to thank patrons face to face.
I always enjoyed delivery days. It got me out of the office, I drove all over the Bay Area, I enjoyed talking with people. Plus, there were always smiles when I showed up with cases of wine on the doorstep.
Delivering was a family job. Even Dad and Mom got into the action when they would take a weekend trip to Carmel or Mendocino. We’d load up their car, and they’d have the assignment of delivering a dozen cases before their weekend started.
My Mom, Mary, was my co-pilot for the deliveries of Chardonnay each September. Those were the best days and her important job was to be the navigator and to offer free driving advice. An added benefit were the lunches she’d pack for us. Every day was like a fun field trip: East Bay or San Francisco or the Peninsula or the furthest reaches of Contra Costa County. It was the perfect job for Mom who always loved an adventure.
As our business grew, my time was needed more in the office, so now Spencer does our deliveries and has quickly learned patrons and their preferences when receiving wine.
When the pandemic first hit, we discussed our strategy for continuing to do deliveries. “What is best for our patrons? What do they need?” It was an easy two-word answer: “Wine”, “Safely!”
Spencer’s experience has been very positive. We are currently calling local patrons in advance of their delivery. People appreciate (and are excited!) to receive their wine. When he makes a delivery, he rings the doorbell and steps back to respect social distancing. If patrons need it moved somewhere, he is happy to do so. One patron even asked Spencer to load two cases of Reserve Chardonnay onto her stairway chair lift. He strapped them in with the seatbelt and up three flights they went!
The freeways are empty and the city streets quiet. With a bashful smile, Spencer says that one of the perks right now is that if he just misses an address, he can stop quickly and throw it in reverse or make a safe U turn instead of driving around the block.
These are such unusual days right now with everyone experiencing more emotions. Contact with others has been diminished and our lives are more isolated. For Spencer, when he makes a delivery, he is grateful to see the happiness and joy that the delivery brings to our patrons. A simple smile these days carries extra meaning, and rewards.