Wednesday, June 17, 2020

A Tale of Three Wineries.

Or, perhaps:  Love (Ethics and Betrayal) in the Time of Covid.
When the Governor of California shut down all Napa Valley tasting rooms on March 16th, no one knew what to expect.  It was an unprecedented situation and the response to the immediate cessation of all hospitality business varied greatly from winery to winery.  Here are three tales, two uplifting, one of woe, of how a few wineries handled the financial, and mental, well-being of their personnel.
Winery no. 1, family owned, kept all of their staff working.  They found their employees lots of different things to do; telemarketing, shipping (because ecommerce went through the ceiling), filing, stuffing envelopes, cleaning, etc.  My source (and I do have one) did not lose a single hour of pay.  From now on, I will be buying this winery's wine in support of their admirable commitment to their staff.
Winery no. 2, a large international concern, simply paid all of their staff through June 1st to stay at home.  And stay safe.  Sure, the parent company of this winery has plenty of money and could afford to take this approach, but they didn't have to.  (So much for the big, evil corporations widely vilified in many media outlets.)  I already buy a lot of this winery's product and I will continue to because I think they cared for and treated their team in a very honourable way.
Winery no. 3, another family owned winery, sent some of their hospitality staff packing on March 16th and then...crickets.  When the restrictions on tasting rooms were lifted, the furloughed staff only learned that the tasting room was reopening when the winery posted about it on social media.  A few days later their employment was terminated, one staff member just 51 days shy of working for the family for 15 years.  Classy.  Not one drop of this winery's wine will pass my lips ever again, it would leave a very bitter taste.
It was difficult coming up with a photograph with which to illustrate this post.  How does one capture in a picture an example of a loathsome and heartless business practice.  The image of a big, steamy dollop of chicken manure popped into my head (I have a lot of it around nowadays).  But chicken poop is chock-a-block with goodies -  nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium - it's great stuff.  No, winery no. 3 is just plain chicken s**t.  So I went with another avian themed photo instead, the bird.


New Hampshire Wineman said...

Thoughtful essay with a Dickensian hue.
I thought wineries were wrapped in always preaching humanity, community, and dignity.
I too will buy no more of their wines.

Vinogirl said...

NHW: Sometimes the only way to make oneself heard is by voting with your wallet when it comes to dealing with an unscrupulous practice such as this. Thank you for your support.

Thud said...

That's my sister!

Vinogirl said...

Thud: I'm glad you approve :)

And from a reader who doesn't have a Google account: "When any company espouses family culture within the business, know that they are lying. For all their self-anointed pageantry, know that it does not apply to the subjugated then expected to prostrate themselves with gratitude. Maybe it is naïve to expect fairness. We live within a limitless profit model. The win-win philosophy died sometime ago. It's a zero sum game now and has been for a while. Sure, technically it is legal to unceremoniously kick loyal employees to the curb when it suits your capricious whim. One's not supposed to take it personally when presented as an unavoidable business decision. Injuries may heal, but the added insult of assuming staffers don't comprehend the truths of systemic hypocrisy, may never.

New Hampshire Wineman said...


Vinogirl said...

NHW: Yup. Doesn't mince words, that one.