Sunday, August 02, 2009

A Word From Our Sponsor

There been lots of talk lately about bloggers, free swag, advertising and ethics. I don’t accept any advertising, although I do get the occasional pitch–even with my paltry site traffic.

I certainly don’t think there’s anything wrong with receiving sample wines and reviewing them fairly, assuming that you’re forthcoming about where they came from. There's really nothing wrong with putting advertisements on your blog either. Astute readers can easily spot someone who's just schilling for a corporate buck.

Because I’m not a big name blogger, it's been a long time since anyone offered up any samples. The last one came from Twisted Oak Winery (here’s the post). I can say without any bias whatsoever that any wine from Twisted Oak will be the best you’ve ever had, serving Twisted Oak wines will win you the admiration of friends and loved ones, and drinking Twisted Oak wines will add years to your life.

The wineries and businesses I write about are the ones I like and patronize. My job offers me ample opportunities to write a bunch of bogus junk for the sake of a dollar.

A couple years back, my brother and sister-in-law sent me a tasting pack of Balsamic Vinegar of Modena from Ditalia. At the time I knew very little about balsamic vinegar, except that some were better than others.

The tasting pack was great, as it gave me the opportunity to taste them side-by-side, which really shows the differences. For a good explanation of making and grading balsamic vinegar, take a look at this. I ended up ordering another tasting pack, before deciding to buy a large bottle of inexpensive stuff and a small bottle of the really good four-leaf stuff.

The cheap stuff is for making salad dressings, sauces and reductions; the good stuff is for dipping bread and drizzling on vegetables, cheese and whatever else suits you. It’s absolutely wonderful with fresh strawberries and vanilla ice cream.

We ordered a new bottle of the good stuff a week or so ago from Ditalia. When it hadn’t showed up, a check of the Fed Ex tracking showed it had been left at our door several days prior. Apparently one of the neighborhood lowlifes had walked off with it. (I can just imagine him or her enjoying the heist with some fire-roasted tomato bruschetta.)

E contacted both Fed Ex and Ditalia. Someone from Ditalia immediately contacted her, apologized and told her they would send a replacement, which is what I expected would happen. However, neither of us expected the Fed Ex truck to roll up the next day with the replacement. They had it sent overnight.

Now, that is exceptional customer service. We would have been fine with waiting a couple more days, even though our current bottle was dangerously low. When a company goes above and beyond what you expect, that’s when it’s worth writing about.


el jefe said...

Usually a winery shudders at the thought of being mentioned in the same article as vinegar, but somehow I'm OK with this one. ;) I'll be using that quote in future marketing materials!

John said...

The only similarity between the vinegar and your wines are that they're both excellent.

Glad you found this post. We're headed to NC next weekend, and we'll be looking for TO wines.