If you've ever been to Tom Eddy Wines in Napa Valley, you know that we're located about 4 miles out of Calistoga and about 1,000 feet higher. What you may not know is that we are not open to the public.
In other words, according to County law, you must first call to make an appointment. Since this is our home, workplace, studio, garden, etc. you can imagine that we're pretty private and not keen on having a lot of visitors, normally. But having serious wine buyers over? That's a different story.
So the other day my sister, Laura, asked me how we decide who comes to our house to taste our wine. The funny thing is that Tom had just been interviewed by Kris Chislett at BlogYourWine.com, and that was one of the questions he asked, too. So I've attached that portion of the interview for your reading pleasure (scroll down). To read the entire interview, go here:
(An excerpt taken from www.BlogYourWine.com talking to Tom Eddy about our winery project):
Kris: Are you going to open it to the public?
Tom: It’ll be very private. By appointment only. You know, since 1991 in Napa Valley, they passed a law that any new winery must be “by appointment only” and cannot be public.
Kris: Is that right? I didn’t know that! I’m learning a lot here…
Tom: What happens, as a consumer coming to Napa, you don’t notice it. If you knock on a winery door and ask for a tasting, the winery has to say: “Yes, but you need an appointment.”
And the consumer will say: “Well, it’s 5:10pm right now, what time can I make an appointment for?”
The winery will say: “You can make an appointment for 5:10pm,” and then let them do a tasting that way. It’s pretty silly, but it works.
For guys like me, we don’t want a tour bus pulling in to our winery, looking for a tasting. We want people that are passionate about wine, that understand wine and who will buy wine that will come to our ranch. Remember, we have to live here. This is our home. We try and screen people a little-bit. If I’m not here, they can’t come up, because I personally want to take them and show them around the vineyard.
Kris: Ok, I want to know your secret…what questions do you ask to screen people?
Tom: We ask them about 3-4 questions. First, we’ll ask them how they found out about us. If they can’t remember, they’re out. If they say they bought the wine at the grocery store, and the wine was 10 years old, and they got it for $19 and it was the best wine they ever had, then they’re out.
The last question we’ll ask is: “How big is your cellar?” If they reply with “3,000 bottles,” we’ll say“Well, we’ll send a car to pick you up.” <laughs> If they say, “We don’t have a cellar, but we have 2 wines in our refrigerator,” then chances are they’re not serious about wine.
It’s not that we don’t enjoy people; but as I said, we live here and it’s like having house guests 24 hours a day.
(To read the entire interview, go to:http://blogyourwine.com/interview-with-tom-eddy-from-tom-eddy-winery/#disqus_thread )