I’m a long time wine club member at Cosentino Winery and I was excited to learn that one of my new benefits was a complimentary tasting for two at Clos Pegase. It’s always fun to discover a new winery so we made the trek up to Calistoga for a visit. While I enjoyed the wines and the hospitality, the outrageous hard sell to join their wine club was simply unforgivable.
We walked into the mostly empty tasting room and were warmly greeted by a man at the front desk. We told him we were club members at their sister property and he got us set up at the tasting bar with Gerta, an older lady with a heavy European accent. Gerta was chatty, lovely and very knowledgeable about all of the wines and told us many facts about each as she poured. I was surprised at how tasty the wines were, especially the Cabernets. The price points were generally right on with only a few being a bit overpriced for what they were.
We were able to taste anything we wanted on either tasting flight menu, something I thought was a very, very nice touch. Usually “free” tastings mean you are stuck with only being able to sample the most basic options a winery has to offer, but not here. We are most definitely wine connoisseurs and I appreciated being taken seriously and given the opportunity to sample the “reserve” wines.
Everything about this experience was great except for one thing so egregious that it made my star rating plummet from a 4 to a 2: the outrageous hard sell to join their wine club. Look, I know that tasting room staff get huge bonuses when they sign people up for their club, but I felt like I was at a timeshare presentation instead of on vacation trying to enjoy myself. Gerta was putting SO MUCH PRESSURE on us that I almost joined just so she would STOP. With every wine she poured she went on and on about how we should join the club, how it was an amazing deal, how we could come up once a year and they’d give us free sandwiches, etc. Even if I HAD been interested in joining, I wouldn’t have during my visit because of how annoyingly pushy she was.
Think I’m exaggerating? I’m not. Gerta’s final, exasperated line was trying to convince us to “go ahead and sign up today,” then “put your club membership on hold.” Wait, what? She was basically encouraging us to sign up, never accept a shipment, then cancel after a few months. This makes me think she must’ve gotten a huge bonus for all new sign-ups. She didn’t care if we were members, she just wanted that initial sign-up credit! I’m guessing if management takes a look at all the new sign-ups this lady has they will see a definite pattern!
Just thinking about this hard sell for the club leaves such a bad taste in my mouth. I did buy a $55.00 bottle of wine that I enjoyed but I would’ve purchased more if not for that obnoxious employee. I also got the feeling she would start talking crap about us behind our backs the minute we left. Just a feeling I guess.
Based on this experience I will not return to Clos Pegase nor would I recommend it to anyone. Why bother trying to experience new wines when you’ll be bombarded with a timeshare presentation? No thanks.