Thursday, September 06, 2007

R.I.P. Solitude Winery

Since I started working for my company a little over a year ago, I have become a huge fan of Solitude Winery. Based in Santa Rosa, owner and winemaker Richard Litsch seems to have chosen the name for his venture aptly. From what I understand, not only is he the sole owner and winemaker, but he takes care of all of the marketing, selling, working with distributors, and even makes deliveries to restaurants and wine stores in California.

His first vintage was in 1986, and he produces about 5000 cases per year - only Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The wines are gorgeous, and the Pinot usually disappears within a few months of release. I've had clients clamoring for the all year, and several of us have been eagerly awaiting the release of the new vintage, which we thought was coming in October.

Good thing no one was holding their breath.

A few days ago, my company got a letter (a letter, not an email) from Mr. Litsch informing all of his distributors that he has been trying to sell the winery with no success, that he was currently out of product, and closing down the winery. The stock that we currently had of Chardonnay was it - the last of the Solitude we would ever see.

"What?!" I gasped out loud when I got the email from my boss. Not only was I a huge fan of the wines, but I had several clients who were hooked on them as well. I frantically checked our inventory - 17 cases left. Not a lot.

After I gave myself about thirty seconds to mourn the loss of this great winery, I picked up my cell phone and started dialing frantically. My mission was to make sure that all of my clients who were fans of the product could stock up before it was all gone. (I'm such a customer service freak, the thought of having a client trying to order it from me down the line and not having been warned that it was going out of stock makes my hands clammy.)

Thirty minutes later, I swear there was smoke coming out of my phone. Eight cases had been sold, and I was satisfied that those customers who needed to had been fairly warned.

Now all that is left to do it put in an order for myself before it is all gone. Glad the current release of Chard will age nicely - I have a feeling I'll want to hang on to it for a while.


Anonymous pete said...

:-( Tis a sad day indeed.

1:22 PM  
Anonymous Steve said...

Hey, Erin. I was a fan of Solitude Chardonnay and was also bummed that Solitude Wines had closed. I googled Solitude wines several months ago and found that it has been revived! Bought by the Dreyer Wine Company and apparently a Solitude Chardonnay is scheduled to be released this fall!

11:57 AM  

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