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Crushpad Update: Clients Concerned But Company Sees Hope For Funding

Disappointment and shock over Crushpad’s U.S. problems are trending toward anger. Wine Industry Insight  has received numerous emails over the past week to say that scheduled bottlings have been canceled, some clients can’t retrieve wine they have already paid for and none can get Crushpad personnel to respond to phone calls and emails.

This at a time when informed sources say Crushpad is telling supporters that it has a chance at getting the resources they need — perhaps as early as next week — in order to take care of clients.

The U.S. issues do not affect Crushpad Bordeaux which is now a separately owned company. (“Cazes Family Takes Over Crushpad Bordeaux, Updates Clients”)

CLIENTS EXTRAORDINARILY LOYAL, BUT PATIENCE IS RUNNING OUT

Few distressed companies in any industry could command the sympathy and loyalty that that Crushpad clients have shown since the company ran aground. However, a recent spate of emails from clients unable to bottle or unable to pick up wine they had paid for shows that their patience has limits.

Dr. Ruben Kalra M.D., Chairman of the Pain Management Team at John Muir Walnut Creek & Concord Hospitals was one of numerous numerous clients who received emails from Crushpad that read:

“Unfortunately, we have had a problem with our bottling line and it will not be operational for at least this upcoming week. I know you were planning on attending the bottling, but unfortunately we will have to reschedule. I greatly apologize for any inconvenience this has caused you, but when we have fixed the problem, I will let you know and hopefully we can find a new date and time that works for you. Thank you for your understanding.”

Another email said that, “A client was scheduled to bottle their wine on Monday. On Saturday, he received word that because of  ‘mechanical’ reasons, they wouldn’t be doing ANY bottling this week. No word either when they would resume bottling – and now his requests for an ETA have gone unanswered.”

A different source noted that, “You and I both know that it’s highly unlikely that a GAI bottling line could be ‘down’ for a week… especially when word was sent on Saturday morning that this ‘mechanical’ problem would cause disruption to bottling until further notice.”

One email intimated that he was ready to take matters into his own hands. “I’ve received no responses to all my emails. No one answers the phone. I leave voicemail, but I’m wasting my breath because no one returns them. I’m ready to get my big, burly sons and go get my wine myself.”

SOME CLIENTS OUTRAGED AT CEO

Half a dozen emails — two from Crushpad investors — expressed outrage that Crushpad CEO Peter Ekman was currently in Italy on a personal trip.

However, sources close to the company said that, “It’s not what it appears to be at first. This was a fiftieth birthday event that had been in the works for more than a year. It involves more than two dozen of his childhood friends who had  already bought airplane tickets and made other arrangements.”

“His commitment to keeping Crushpad afloat is not in question,” the source added. “I’m not sure he’s having much of a vacation given his constant stream of emails and hours worth of Skype calls.”

A separate source told Wine Industry Insight that  board members had to convince Ekman to go “so he could keep his commitment to his friends.”

MOST CLIENTS NOT ANGRY, JUST WANT THEIR WINE

Most clients are not angry or outraged. They’re simply disappointed by their recent treatment and still are hopeful for a positive outcome.

Dr. Kalra’s most recent email to Wine Industry Insight was typical:

“Sir Alexander Fleming, the inventor of penicillin said ‘penicillin cures, but wine makes people happy.’

“We were hoping to make other doctors and folks happy with our wine. However, Crushpad has failed us — two days before our bottling. We treat our patients as human beings and do our best to provide them world-class care and respond to our customers in a timely fashion. Crushpad, on the other hand, has chosen not to heed Customer Service 101- return phone calls and reply to emails. Please let us know where our wine is. We are getting thirsty.”

BACKGROUND