As many of you know, we spend several weeks every summer at Tom’s rustic, family cabin in the mountains south of Lake Tahoe. This summer brought us some new cabin neighbors, Tracy and Penny. They had heard we had just been married in May, and I knew we would become great pals when they brought us over a beautiful bottle of red wine as a gesture of introduction and congratulatory gift.
The wine was a pinot noir from a small, Napa-based winery with which we were unfamiliar, Black Cat Vineyard. Against the protestations of our new friends who were insisting we save the wine for a special occasion, we decided that the impromptu BBQ that evening on their new porch rated as “special” enough, and we brought and opened the wine to enjoy with them. It was extraordinary.
As we remarked on how delicious the wine was, Penny shared that they were wine club members and that not only were the wines consistently excellent but also the warmth, comradery, and intimacy of the wine club was remarkable … “an extension and reflection of the proprietor and winemaker, Tracey Reichow.” As if they were old, close friends, Penny shared the winemaker’s vision and focus with us over the lantern-light of our companionable meal. “Her dream is to remain small and intimate. She wants to know her wine club members by name and to invite them into her cellar like friends. She is a perfectionist when it comes to the care of her vineyards and the creation of her handcrafted, artesian-style wines which are purposefully made in an unhurried, thoughtful way. She is a strong woman with a gentle heart, beautiful in a natural, relaxed way, and a walking wine encyclopedia who’s capable of and willing to explain her methods to someone brand new to the experience.” We were sold. By the time we were back home, we had found Black Cat Vineyard online and were full-fledged wine club members ourselves.
Within a day, I had received an email from the winemaker’s assistant, welcoming us and asking how we had heard of the winery. Within a week, I had received a letter explaining the wine club shipments and benefits along with a handwritten card from the winemaker, Tracey Reichow, herself. (I later learned that Penny and Tracy had received a beautiful thank you for the referral as well.)
The note read:
“Dear Tom and Katherine, I cannot tell you how excited I am to have you as our newest wine club members! I understand from your cabin neighbors, Penny and Tracy, that you are recently married and are wine lovers like me. Congratulations and welcome to the Black Cat Vineyard family.
Our wines are hand-grown and hand-crafted. They are wines of the heart. They are wines of my heart. I love nothing better than sharing them with my family and friends and I look forward to personally welcoming you both to my vineyard, winery, and personal cellar. Black Cat wines are highly allocated and available only at the winery. They are produced in very small lots and therefore, membership is the only way to assure you receive them before they are gone.
In running a small winery almost single-handedly, I have three priorities: the vineyards, the wines, and club members. I LOVE to hear from my club members and ask that you stay in touch with any comments, accolades, suggestions, or questions… and PICTURES! (I really love pictures! My love for photography is second only to my love for winemaking.)
Please do plan a visit soon so we can get better acquainted and I can have an excuse to share my wines to you. Private tastings are available by appointment and exclusively for wine club members and their guests.
With great pleasure, I welcome you into the private world of artisanal winemaking in Napa Valley. Welcome to the club!
Personal, intimate, passionate, welcoming. Just my kinda place. Just my kinda gal. At your next team meeting, spend a little time thinking and talking about how you can create this level of intimacy and relationship right out of the gate (and ongoing) with your patients and clients. Welcome cards, emails, and phone calls that are both professional and personal are an excellent way to stand out and cement relationships that withstand competition on price and convenience.
This is what the Lion’s Den is all about. Being different, thinking differently, communicating differently, and making a difference.
Welcome to the Club!
“Loyal customers, they don’t just come back, they don’t simply recommend you,
they insist that their friends do business with you.”