Snooth User: srlusher

In Home Wine Tastings

Posted by srlusher, Sep 9, 2013.

Hello!  My name is Susan Lusher, and I work for PRP Wine International.  We are a private, direct retailer, and you cannot find our wines in any liquor stores or restaurants.  So how do we do business?  We give in-home wine tastings!  If you live in or around the Chicagoland area, I will come out to your home with 6 bottles of our exclusive wines for you and up to 12 friends!  Since in Illinois we legally have to charge for wine samples, there is a $49 fee.  This includes the wine and my time, and any wine that's left over in the bottle at the end of the tasting is yours to keep!  You and I will talk about what your wine preferences are and I will hand select wines to match, and expand your palate.

These tastings are a BLAST!  If you'd like some more information, please email me at  I can't wait to hear from you!


Reply by Richard Foxall, Sep 11, 2013.

Welcome.  I went ahead an approved the post because I imagine some folks might want to check this out for themselves.  The business seems legit, and this doesn't seem an overly pushy or unrelated sales pitch--not like someone offering overseas pharmaceuticals or concrete removal or something like that.  That said, I think there should be a forum designation for a topic like "Commercial."  Greg? Chris? Philip?

That said, I'm not endorsing PRP and if you want to check them out, here's a Yelp mention of the Elk Grove, IL outfit.  Before inviting anyone into your home or giving them your credit card, you want to check that out.  (The use of a real name with a LinkedIn profile helps a little. But do your own diligence.)

Now can someone explain why it's the "Chicagoland Area?"  Isn't "Chicago area" sufficient?  Doesn't "Chicagoland" imply an area larger than the city itself and therefore make "area" redundant?  My parents are native Chicagoans and I have never understood that.

Reply by JonDerry, Sep 12, 2013.

This is something I've thought of doing myself...seems like it would be a lot of fun.

Reply by outthere, Sep 12, 2013.

There's a restaurant/dinner club/wine club out here in Sebastopol-land called La Bodega that works on the same concept. You take a table, fill out a wine questionnaire with help from the waitress/sales rep, then she comes out with 3 different tastes for each of your palate preferences. You order dinner from the scant menu, a bottle of wine chosen from the tastes you had and then they try to sell you a wine club based on your choices. No club purchase necessary.

In concept it's a neat idea but in practice it didn't live up to expectations. Being that I live smack dab in the middle of Cali Wine Country it should have worked. Then again maybe that was its downfall.

Reply by srlusher, Sep 12, 2013.

Thank you, Richard Foxall, for approving the post!  I am on LinkedIn, my name is Susan Lusher, so people can feel free to check me out on there.  I am based in the Naperville office, and Elk Grove is where our warehouse is.

As for "Chicagoland area", I agree that it is redundant.  Call it a habit, just like the Chicago tendency to end sentences with prepositions and not put ketchup on our hot dogs.

JonDerry, if I read your profile correctly, you're in California?  We have a couple of offices out there. One in San Diego and one in Orange.  If you're interested, I'm sure they would love to set something up with you!

And ditto for you, Outthere.  We aren't a wine club, so you don't have to try to wrap your head around signing up for monthly shipments from one place or anything like that.  You order when you want to order, and that's it!

Reply by Richard Foxall, Sep 12, 2013.

"Sebastopol-land area," you mean. 

So how are the wines selected, Susan?  I actually think this is a pretty decent idea in places that might be starved for wine shops that do tastings or where wine-lovers might be pretty far apart.  The vendor is guaranteed that a certain number of tasters will show up and hear the pitch and the potential buyers don't all have to travel somewhere individually and can make it a social occasion.  I do know that Chicago itself has good wine merchants, at least at the upper end (Hart Davis Hart) and posters here have alerted Chicagoans to wine events (dinners with Mike Smith of Quivet/Myriad, for one).

Somewhere here we had a commenter ask about a bottle of wine that was bought in this fashion--it was a really old bottle and the OP wondered what it was worth. So the model has been around.

Reply by srlusher, Sep 12, 2013.

We have over 100 different wines from all over the world at any given time.  We work with 'boutique' vinyards, so we get small batches.  Once they're sold out, we may or may not get them back, and it could even be a year or more before we see it again.  Because of the large variety of wine that we carry, we talk with our clients before their tasting about what kind of wines they prefer.  Then we hand select the wines to bring based on their preferences.  However, we like to educate our clients and form a relationship beyond just selling them wine.  So if someone tells me they love Cabernet Sauvignon, I may bring one with me, but I'll also bring other wines in our program that are similar but that they have maybe never heard of or never thought to try.  We also like to talk about basic wine history and wine law, as well as pairing wine and food.

PRP specifically has been in the US for about 27 years.  Pieroth, our major provider and the first 'P' in PRP, has been around for a couple hundred years in Europe and has been running this kind of business of in-home tastings in Europe for 60 years.  What sets us apart from other companies who are starting to do the same thing is that we form lasting relationships with our clients.  My official job title is Wine Consultant, and I like to say that my services come with your wine purchase.  Once I get to know my clients' tastes, if we get a new wine in that I think they will like, I'll call them up and see if I can meet them to pour a glass and talk about it.  We host events as well, like Yacht Cruise Dinners off of Navy Pier.

You're right that in Chicago we have a lot of great places to go and find good wine.  And I'm not telling anyone that they have to buy their wine only from us.  We just offer another option.  Going to wine bars or other planned events can be tricky, because you don't always have enough guided direction that is specific to your own tastes.  With PRP, my job is to learn your tastes, find wines to fit, and then to help guide you through expanding your palate and knowledge.  Plus, I've found that a lot of people I meet have new things they can teach me, as well!

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