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Lafon Rochet,
I am new to this forum and am greatly disturbed by some of the comments on the topic of visits to Joseph Phelps Vineyards, particularly yours in which you stated that you were referred to me and that I basically called you a liar and caused you to cancel your Phelps Preferred membership. Those comments are very surprising to me as I have been in the customer service business for over 20 years and have received very few complaints. I am also embarrassed to say that I don't remember your name or the conversation and have had no luck in searching my notes or our database. Perhaps your membership was under another name or we have it misspelled? I suppose Lafon Rochet could also simply be your user name. I apologize for any frustration or rudeness that you may have experienced in your conversation with me and would leap at the opportunity to communicate with you further about how we may be able to rectify the situation to your satisfaction. We pride ourselves on our hospitality and certainly want to maintain the reputation that we have amongst the best in the wine industry.
Jeff Hunsaker
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Dear Mr. Jeff Hunsaker,

After first reading your response to Lafon Rochet, I held back in commenting. However, after confirming my thoughts regarding your post with a well respected Forumite, I've decided otherwise.

I thought the effort you put in to the response was very poor. It's really not that difficult to consult with your colleague Molly to verify some facts or do some research before posting the reply publicly.
If you can't figure out why I feel your effort was poor after reading your post a few more times, than you are a lot more ignorant than I previously thought.
"Perhaps your membership was under another name or we have it misspelled? I suppose Lafon Rochet could also simply be your user name. "

Last but not least, I am tired of hearing good experience of visiting Joseph Phelps from people who belong in the Phelps Preferred membership. I understand that for being a part of the elite group, one should receive some special treatment. However, it shouldn't be wonderful experience for the elite, and average or unpleasant for the regular Joes.

Bottom line, if a consumer can take the time to call your winery for an appointment, you can also take the time to make sure EVERY single one of them gets your best effort. Again, Joseph Phelps is by far the worst tasting experience I've ever had that required prior appointment.

Here is the list of wonderful places by appointments only I've had the pleasure of encountering in no particular order.

Peter Michael
Crocker & Starr
Neal Family
Del Dotto


Mr. Yang
p.s. a very inspiring glass of 1999 Chappellet Old Vine Cuvee Big Grin

How 'bout a game of 8-ball for a nice bottle of Cab...

[This message was edited by pyang on Jan 24, 2003 at 03:01 AM.]
Last edited {1}
Dear Mr. Yang,

Thank you for your response.

I wrote the reply to Lafon Rochet in an attempt to rectify a situation of which I was previously unaware. Molly brought it to my attention and after a lengthy discussion with her and an attempt to find Lafon Rochet in our database, I decided to post a statement in the forum in an attempt to contact him/her. You are right. I am ignorant to who or what Lafon Rochet is.

Joseph Phelps Vineyards is required by provisions in our use permit to do tours and tastings by appointment. I suspect that if we had a choice in the matter we would do it differently. I assure you that we make every attempt to provide every visitor, whether it be a VIP trade guest or a walk-in, with a pleasurable experience. I freely admit that we are not perfect and occasionally make a mistake. We also make every effort to fix those mistakes when they are brought to our attention.

My motivation in writing to Lafon Rochet was not to incite a debate about JPV hospitality or make an excuse for our errors but rather an attempt to contact a disappointed customer, by the only means available to me, and try and make amends. I would "leap" at the opportunity to do the same for you.

Sincerely yours,

Jeff Hunsaker
I think that we can put this to rest if everyone who has posted here bets a comp bottle of 99 Insignia Big Grin
With everything in life-there are good and bad experiences, it all depends on your point of view. All I can say is that one of my most memorable moments in life included a Phelps 1990 Insignia and an amazing Scarlet>Fire at the Garden.

"We can share the women, we can share the wine."
Jeff -

May I suggest a basic primer on Bordeaux? perhaps a glance at Parker's "Bordeaux" reference book? At the vary least, take a glance at Château Lafon Rochet's web site.

In any event, being the one to originally forward the thread to JPV, I thought I would chime with my thoughts. I appreciate your efforts and interest in correcting these matters, but would encourage you to take the constructive criticism that have received here and use it to make whatever changes are needed internally so that they do not continue to occur.

I forwarded my concerns only after having seen repeated references to bad experiences at JPV. These poor experiences were so at odds with my wonderful visit that I had originally thought they were just anomalies. When I kept reading reports about bad hospitality it became evident this was symptomatic of some problem at JPV, thus I was prompted to write to you. I am glad I did, and I am glad that you and Molly are responsive, I just hope you take the information constructively and openly and make adjustments. In other words, I hope you pay this more than lip service.

Incidentally, I know “Lafon” personally, and assure you that this person is of the highest integrity and would never have spoken up if the poor experience with JPV had been just a minor matter.

Thank you for clearing up the Lafon Rochet mystery.

Fortunately for me it is not in my job description to recognize the fourth-growth properties of Bordeaux as I obviously would have failed miserably. It is, however, in my job description to pay attention to comments made by visitors to our winery and act upon them.

Please know that I do appreciate ALL of the comments about JPV that I have read in this forum. I take them very seriously and intend to do all in my power to insure that the problem is eliminated. We have already made some positive strides in that direction as a result of these postings.

I also appreciate your testimony as to the integrity of "Lafon" although I assure you it was never in question. In other words, I take all comments made by our visitors seriously.

Thanks again, Eric and I hope to see you at the winery some time.
So I'm coming in a bit late here.....

Last year myself and a party of about 6 others had an appointment at Phelps, on their picnic tables. We got (I think his name was Claude) an older French gentleman. Everything was a great experience except for one glaring exception: he really rushed us through.

We got there on time, but were made to wait about 15 minutes. That was fine, I know these things happen, and they set us up with a bottle of Marsanne that I immensely enjoyed, though was disappointed to hear that they would not be producing it any more, because they can't sell it for tons of money (no paraphrasing here). But to get the appointments back on schedule, ours obviously was curtailed, and we were made to dump out our flights in order to make room for the next one each time. They came in VERY fast succession.

I don't harbor any ill feelings, and will return some day. Maybe even for an Insignia party (friends, take note). But at the time, it was a bit disappointing considering EVERY other appointment that day was nothing short of spectacular (Del Dotto and Swanson).

-Vitis Vinifera in Lodi

Member #19
What baffles me is that "Lafon Rochet," whoever that really may be, posted in this thread and didn't bother to even answer the questions that got it going.

Lafon Rochet- you've been called out on the carpet to explain your rant and yet you do not offer up anything but some banter to other forumites. Why is this? Your silence in the matter only leads us to believe whatever our minds will(and you know that is never good!).

Please, give some credibility to your rant, good can only come of it.

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