Where’s All of the Inventory?

“Paul: I have been disappointed recent­ly in the ‘sold out’ situation of some of your wines. I wanted more of the Hidden Cellars Chevrignon d’Or and the Heitz Pinot Noir, but you were sold out. Why don’t you buy enough inventory?!”

– J.H.

Sorry about that! I hate to disappoint anybody. They were super wines, wer­en’t they?

Judging from the date of your letter, you are reordering 14 months after the wine was featured. Have a heart. You know better than that! Good wine disap­pears fast.

Here are the present parameters of my wine buying and availability of the se­lected wines for reorder: Once I have closed the deal with the distributor, at the favorable prices we are able to command for the club selections; the wine is avail­able for 4 months on a fairly certain ba­sis, for reorders. (Only twice in 17 years has the wine disappeared in less time than that). Past the 4 months, the distrib­utor is off the hook in assuring me avail­ability and favorable price. However if the wine is still available, most of them continue to honor our arrangement for as long as the wine is in stock. That is why the wines continue to appear on our list of ‘Earlier Selections Still Available’.

Now, if you are inclined to lay down wine, and are not a “hand-to-mouth” wine consumer (no pun intended), you should not postpone trying the selections. Every so often I hear from a member who tells me that they laid down the original bottle of wine I had sent them since I raved about its ageing potential. Naturally what happens is that when you get around to consuming it, and you “flip” over it, the chances are you have missed the opportunity to order more.

Remember also that just as I discov­er a good wine, there are others out there who are discovering it too. So the forces of discovery and hoarding come into play, and pretty soon, the grin on the face of the supplier becomes a smile, and develops into a smug look that makes him or her tougher to deal with. Add to that phenomenon the fact that our selec­tions practically create a market for the wine across the State. Don’t forget too, that only so much was made of that vint­age. Every vintage is another vintage, and often different. I do not substitute vintages.

To answer your direct question, I do buy an overage of inventory to take care of reorders based on projections. But there is no foolproof way of predicting the demand. Naturally, I am conservative. I do not want excess inventory. That is why I obtain a commitment from the supplier for a 4 month backup. Bear in mind though the “market creation” as­pect I mentioned earlier. We sometimes wipe-out the supplier!

Here is what you have to do:

-Try the selections I send you early.

-Reorder early.

-If you run into a “sold out” situa­tion, pick up the phone and call the bet­ter retailers in the metropolitan areas of the state. The only inventory left will be on the shelves of retailers, and some offer a shipping service. Do not be disappoint­ed in not finding it easily. Remember, there are thousands of wines out there. And remember furthermore the Baccha­nalian Principle No. 5: “Good wine disap­pears fast!”

– P.K .



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