I know our hours of operation have seemed inconsistent and non-committal in the past. Much of that has to do with our trying to find optimal hours of operation, coupled with the fact that we are a three person team, and two of us are trying to run the rest of the business plus raise our two and four year old boys. But now that the Tasting Lounge has been open for just over a year we fell like we are hitting the balance, so we decided to abandon the wishy-washy “noon to close” and firm up our hours. Going forward this summer we will be open at 11:30 daily, closing at 6 on Sunday and Monday and 8:30 Wednesday to Saturday. We will remain “by appointment only” on Tuesdays.
The closing times probably seem early to some. But, a few Friday nights ago I had to “refuse service” to two gentleman who came into the Tasting Lounge around 9:30. The first clue that things were amiss was when one of them threw money at me and said, “Just give me a bottle of some sh$t red wine,” to which I responded, “I’m sorry but we don’t have any sh$t red wine here.”
They then seated themselves in the front window and I sat next to one of them and explained to them that I was not comfortable serving them as they had obviously had a great deal to drink before coming here and that I was going to have to ask them to leave. And one fellow said, “Oh, well, don’t you speak so nicely! Aren’t you just soooo polite.” Perhaps they would have felt more comfortable if I had begun swearing and threatening them, but I get the feeling that no matter what I would have said or how I would have approached it, these guys were hoping to cause a scene.
Then they started on the whole, “We’re just working guys, trying to relax after a hard day,” and then made some vague accusations that if diners from Deep were to want some wine I would welcome them with open arms. As I continued to herd them out the door I explained that if some patrons from Deep came into that Tasting Room I would be more than happy to serve them unless they, too, were visibly intoxicated in which case I would also ask them to leave. Then came the “rich a$$h*les” comments as they continued down the street.
Ironically, those two guys probably have more money at their disposal than Scott and I do. We haven’t gotten a paycheck in almost two years and we’ve poured not only our hearts and souls into Volcano Vineyards, but all of our savings as well (not to mention mounds of debt). That particular day I started working at 5 a.m. and it was after 9:30 p.m. that I threw them out. This year Scott and I have had a total of five days off. So we don’t have a lot of patience for this attitude.
This is not the first time we have had some self-pitying, intoxicated individuals come into the Tasting Lounge. The common thread is that these incidents always happen after the sun goes down. So after discussing this most recent episode, Scott and I reminded ourselves that we are not a bar. This is the Tasting Lounge for our winery. We want folks to be able to join us for a glass of wine after work or before heading out to dinner and, most importantly, to be able to enjoy their time with us. Having us act as bouncers is not fun for anyone.