Thursday, January 1, 2009

December 31st, 2008 New Year's Eve At Cleveland Park Wines & Spirits In Our Nation's Capitol

We were ready pretty much for about anything on the last day of December at Cleveland Park Wines & Spirits ( 3423 Connecticut Avenue N.W. Washington D.C. 20008 , Tel : 202-363-4265 ) and waiting for the throngs of customers to arrive in search of bubbly, champagne, sparkling wines. The shelves were stocked, the wine-refrigerator stuffed pretty much to it's gills and the floor-stacks open and full and arranged hopefully in an eye-catching, appealing ( suggesting : " Buy me ! " ) way.

It's not a good idea to leave a lot to chance. People just have so much time to devote to this one essential part of their New Year's Eve celebrations but they do have other tasks as well to complete. It's best to make it as simple as possible for them so that they can be in and out in a reasonable time to go along their merry ways.

That's our job, to be helpful, to sell the sparkling wines and other liquid libations that they need and to do it in an effecient, quick manner if possible.

That's hard to do when some of our good customers return after a long spell to see us and purchase what they need like Sarah. You looked great Sarah. I'm sorry that I did not have more time to visit but you came just as the store was beginning to really fill up and we had lots to help all at once. Oh well, we managed and things flowed smoothly.

Before you got to us Sarah with your daughter, her best friend and your friend it was a bit more quiet and we were all beginning to wonder where everyone was?!? That's not a good feeling at all - not one that I recommend to anyone as one's stress levels can easily rise when entertaining such thoughts!

But come you did our most valued and faithful customers and for that we are eternally grateful as you are our life-blood. I got to see Denise and Adrie and that was grand. Again, I am sorry that I did not have more time to visit but lots of people were in our store when you both arrived, first you Adrie and then you Denise. WE shared some delicious French sparkling wine, a brut SAINT-MEYLAND, $13.49 that we purchased again from William Harrison imports. I tasted it out all day long and each and everytime the results were very positive.

I asked all of our reps to drop off bottles of bubbly for us to pour to our customers when they came, time permitting of course. I did not have the time to open many but Mike you will be able to open more now on New Year day today at the store. I am sure that whatever you open ( the TOSO Argentinian brut, ON SALE for $9.99 ; the BOTTER Prosecco, $12.49 ; and the YELLOW TAIL , $7.99 will all be very well received as people start to recover and move forth from their New Yera's late-night celebrations. I have the feelong that the store will not be busy until later today. I fortunately have it off and have already had my day pretty much planned by my family.

We had a planned tasting on New Year's Eve from 3-7 PM of the CHANDON sparkling Napa ( Carneros ) wines : the brut and the brut rose ( both at $21.99 ). Christian of Pinnacle Estates came to set it up with our now friend Paulette that was to pour for the next four hours.

And pour she did : smiling, helpful, attentive and eager to please and be helpful. She volunteered her services during those four hours and we noticed it and appreciated all her efforts. CHANDON is such a well-known sparkling California wine now and everyone pretty much seems to know it. Paulette also poured the " Riche " off-dry CHANDON and they all three sold quite well. We sold out of both the Riche and the Brut and so will have to order more.

You may remember that I earlier blogged about CHANDON'S senior winemaker visit to our store earlier this year? Eric Platt was nice enough to bring Tom by after the luncheon/tasting that they had hosted and which I was unable to attend because of having to be at the store instead to help you our customers. What can I do?!? It's always a tough choice to be made, never easy as we do not have a large staff at Cleveland Park Wines & Spirits and every one's help is essential.

It turned out to be a late-start bustling, intense flurry and frenzy of activity at the store with many of our regular customers stopping by for last-minute needs : Franceen, Girard, Steven, Rodd, Jeff picking up Steve's order, and so many, many more. Never a dull moment this way with so many different ways to want a bottle of bubbly! How do you want it?

It was a blustery drive into work : the wind was churning and blowing everywhere the leaves and it was fun to watch. At the store later we even had early-on a quick bit of snow falling everywhere in huge gusts of wind that really amazed and entertained all in one. That was quite the sight to watch from inside our store out through our front door. Activity stopped as people stopped to watch momentarily. Fun.

The logo for the Safari site disappeared from our Apple computer overnight and I did not know how to find it. Neither did Mike. We were stymied. I finally asked two of our younger male customers around 7 PM as they looked at our Italian wine selections ( I was studying the compute screen and cursing inside my head! ) : and damned if they did not know to find and fix the problem within three-four split seconds! Thank you both. We were now able to finish some of the things we had started before and it was a relief : a bill had to be paid, a mapquest was in order and I wanted to make a copy of something. Problem-solved and I went out to offer these two young men a bit of the SAINT MEYLAND that I had chilling in the cooler up around our round tasting table.

The day was a success in these trying times. Thank you all for helping to make it so.

Pam the butcher from Wagshalls now came by to wish us Happy New Year with a couple of her friends. She was happy and smiling and I gave her a hug as I left a bit later, just after 8 PM. The store was to stay open another hour until 9 PM and then the revelry, all the celebrations could commence and we at Cleveland Park Wines & Spirits could relax and enjoy ourselves knowing fully well that we in our own ways had done our wee little bit to help things along. Happy New Year's Day! Wow, it's finally finally here. Cheers, TONY

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