Wine and Walnuts

A blog about eating, drinking, cooking and reading in the not so Deep South

Wine Guerilla: A Tale of Great Customer Service and Darn Good Wine

Wine Guerilla image

Let me tell you a story.

A few months ago I was reading a friend’s wine blog. On the blog that day was a review of a wine with a conspicuously artsy label. In the comments section on that blog, I mentioned that when I see labels like this, it puts me off because it seems too “cutesy” or “market-y.” (And by extension, maybe the wine isn’t anything to rave about, because we’ve all had plonky examples of “critter wine” that hide their less-than-stellar quality behind cutesy critter labels and massive marketing budgets.)

I also mentioned about this particular wine, that since it was a high-alcohol Zinfandel, it’s not something I would sit around and sip on.  Instead, I’d probably find it appropriate only for pairing with a substantial – and probably meat-driven – meal.

So what happened next?  Here’s where the awesome customer service part comes in.

A couple days after I wrote that comment on the other wine blog, I get the following e-mail from Bruce Patch, owner of Wine Guerilla, the wine producer in question.

I’d be glad to send you a sample or two to possibly change your mind about our wines.
Please take a look at our site and read about our vineyard sources and winemaking. These are all small lot premium zins with fruit sourced from
some of the best growers in Sonoma County.
Best regards,
Bruce Patch

How great is that?  This guys cares, and it shows.  Very cool.

(In my defense, I did e-mail Bruce back and tell him I was mostly reacting to the label, as I’d never had the wine, and I would never say anything negative about the wine itself without trying it.  And yes, I accepted his offer of a sample.)

A few short days later, I received two samples: 

2008 Forchini Vineyards “Old Vine” Zinfandel
88% Zinfandel, 12% Petite Sirah, 15.5% alcohol by volume


2008 Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel
Zinfandel, blended with 15% Petite Sirah, 15.7% alcohol by volume

2008 Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel

I stand corrected.

#1, the labels are not AT ALL “cutesy,” in fact, they are lovely original works of art, by Bruce Patch’s girlfriend’s son, Sean Colgin.  As I sit here now, looking at the labels on two samples I received, I have no idea why I would have been “put off” by them when I first saw them on my friend’s blog.  They are gorgeous.

#2, and more importantly, the wine is gooooood. As I always say on this blog, I don’t officially “review” wine, I only say whether I like it or not.  And I liked this wine a lot. I’m not going to lie, because of the alcohol content, they won’t be appropriate when you want something restrained and low-alcohol, say, when you simply want to drink a couple of glasses of wine without food.

As of this writing, Wine Guerilla produces eight small lot premium Zinfandels, each reflecting the particular attributes of the site where it was grown.  The two samples I had were flat out delicious – rich, fruit-forward and jammy with lots of depth and an interesting spice element.  I remember that – I didn’t take notes when I drank the wine, and that was back in March, 6 months ago – but I distinctly remember how rich and delicious they were. 

And, despite my premature judgment that drinking them with food would be the only way to go, I did not. Drink them with food, that is. I drank both samples over the course of a week or so, and treated them almost as I would a port – a small glass or so after dinner.  Though they would be an awesome match with a hearty meat dish of some kind, something grilled and pepper-y, I’m thinking.

Needless to say, now I’m a fan.  In fact, last night while out with friends, I was thrilled to see a Guerilla Zin as one of the wines-by-the-glass choices where we decided to have a nightcap, so I had a glass. Good stuff. 

I think it’s pretty great that Bruce Patch cares about his wines enough to go the extra mile the way he did here, and give me the opportunity to change my mind. And I did. Because great customer service is about converting one person at a time, and really, really caring. That is some kick-ass customer service and passion for your product. And so refreshing.

Check out the Wine Guerilla website and read more about their mission and their line-up of small lot premium Zinfandels.


PS–Dearest readers, as proof of your total awesome-ness, leave a comment about any great customer service you’ve ever received in the world of food and/or wine — thanks a bunch!!

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About The Author

Kimberly Houston


2 Responses to “Wine Guerilla: A Tale of Great Customer Service and Darn Good Wine”

  1. Benito says:

    Glad you had the opportunity to give these a fair shot, and I’m happy to hear that you had a positive experience with them. :)

  2. Hey Benito,

    Yes, me too, and it all started with my comment on Benito’s Wine Reviews! So really, you deserve a big “thanks” — if not for reading about these wines originally on your blog, I’d likely never have tried them. So, thanks! : )

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