Wine & Travel

Snooth User: kdominator

Why you shouldnt go to Gouveia Vineyard in Wallingford, CT

Posted by kdominator, Oct 20, 2010.

What a shame: set atop a scenic hill in the most beautiful part of Wallingford, CT, is a lovely winery with plenty of seating and a gorgeous view. Unfortunately, the staff at Gouveia Vineyard are so unwelcoming, they seem completely unconcerned with whether their clientele return to the vineyard. Recently, I attended a rehearsal dinner there for a close friend who would be getting married the next day. Some friends and I arrived to Gouveia early to reserve a long row of tables for the bride and groom and their families (you cannot make reservations to reseve the winery on a Thursday night). Seconds after we were seated, a woman from the wine bar approached us and asked if we were expecting a large group, where we were from, and what we planned to do there. When she learned that we were expceting around 20 people to hold a rehearsal dinner, she didnt offer congratulations or welcoming words...not even a smile...rather, she gave us a concerned look and told us that they were "expecting another large party" (even though reservations are not allowed). This set the tone for a very uncomfortable evening. Even though we brought in lots of business (we purchased MANY bottles of wine during the rehearsal dinner), we were repeatedly bombarded by this same woman, who informed us that we could not kep any food on tables other than the ones we were sitting at (which was difficult since everyone was trying to eat at the table we were sitting at and the large food platters took up too much space on our table). Moreover, the winery was only about half filled with people, so there were many free tables around us. So even if we used another table to keep some of the food on, we would not have been interfering with their business. This unwelcoming bombardment by the staff continued until the parents of the bride ended up sitting at a separate table just so that they could use that table to store our food platters. WHAT A SHAME! Having been to many of the wineries around the state of CT, I am keenly aware that we have many wonderful vineyards with friendly people and delicious wine. I cannot believe that the staff at Gouveia were so unfriendly, even abrasive, to us. Are they really that uninterested in our business? Please join me in boycotting Gouveia vineyard and opting to visit the friendly staff and families of CT's other vineyards/winderies.


Reply by kdominator, Oct 21, 2010.

Forgot to mention that on this same occasion, we were served a bottle of wine with a bunch of cork in it because the woman did not open it correctly. Normally, if this were to happen at an establishment, the staff would apologize and replace the bottle without asking, and for no extra charge. At Gouveia, however, they served us the wine without saying anything and I ended up sipping small pieces of cork all night.

Reply by napagirl68, Oct 21, 2010.

Wow... I don't know what to say... I have encountered a few irritating locations for sure.  I am not sure that I would call for a boycott, tho.  Have you contacted the owner/ and or tasting room manager?  That would be my first step... if still a bad reaction, my second would be a formal letter outlining your experience in detail to the entity that owns this winery.  I would give them a chance to make things right.

BTW, here in CA, most wineries appreciate at least NOTICE of a large group, even if reservations are not expected.  And, in all fairness, the party they were expecting (although they do not take "reservations") may have been a private party of the owner's or manager's, which they are entitled to do. 

You obviously liked this winery to go there in the first place... I would talk to management/owner with your concerns.  If that is of no help, I would just not frequent this business any longer.  If customer service is so bad, others will figure that out.

I am not a fan of online "boycotts"... us Snoothers have not been there and experienced the service, so that is a bit unreasonable.  Again, I urge you to contact them privately and give them a chance to make it right.

Reply by kdominator, Oct 22, 2010.

Thanks for the feedback- actually, the mother of the bride had called several times beforehand in planning this event. That was how we learned that there was no way to make a formal reservation. But she did let them know we were coming, and asked questions about the number of people, the food we were bringing, etc. She was told simply to show up, and that the tables are used on a first come, first serve basis. Unfortunately, she was not informed of any of the other issues- the fact that they were 'expecting' another large party (which never showed, by the way); nor was she informed that she would not be able to use an adjoining table to set some of the food platters on.

I have yet to contact the owners, but got a bad feeling that this woman was either the owner or the bar manager....scary.

By the way, by "boycott", all I meant was that anyone in CT looking for good wineries should try some of the other establishments before giving these rude people their business.

Reply by ChipDWood, Oct 24, 2010.

Just a couple notes:

By titling the post: "Why you shouldnt go to Gouveia Vineyard in Wallingford, CT" - I mean let's not split hairs here- that's a call for a boycott ;).  And we're walkin'...

Primarily, I'm sorry to hear about your experience.  It sounds like a confusing and frustrating, not to mention bordering insulting affair.  As Ms. Napagirl suggests: I would most certainly contact the ownership/management of the establishment and spell out what took place. This is the part that causes me to think that there was a major miscommunication between the parties involved: "She was told simply to show up, and that the tables are used on a first come, first serve basis. Unfortunately, she was not informed of any of the other issues- the fact that they were 'expecting' another large party (which never showed, by the way); nor was she informed that she would not be able to use an adjoining table to set some of the food platters on." If I were to guess, that part would put me to thinking that there was a base-level misunderstanding here, and that the individual on the phone representing the winery was NOT the person to be hashing out the details with (as in an event coordinator) but more likely a pourer at the tasting bar or someone who had a free hand to pick up the phone. Either way- it's inexcusable.  I would also be willing to bet that State legislation pertaining to what wineries can and cannot do regarding serving food with their wines also came into play to further cmuddy the waters regarding the tables and where the food could go, etc. etc.  These kinds of laws are ubiquitous in the wine & food service industry, and are placed there to spoil our fun by people who want us to think they're earning a paycheck in congress by enacting such things ;). So, that could be one of the reasons for the confusion as well as the poor scheduling by those involved- or the fact that they were not prepared/could not hold such an event in the first place. Poor planning- clearly and without a doubt.  Whether the burden of it rests solely on the shoulders of the staff at the winery is kind of in doubt to me though, really.  I'm sure the winery and staff will appologize- but know to the other side of this coin should have understood the winery's stated limitations, and the pressure she put the staff under by refusing to accept what those limitations may have been. Devil's advocate being represented- I would still call and let them know your frustration.  If the M.O.B. (Mother of the Bride) has been the only one to contact (and report about) the winery concerning this, I would call myself- not to add fuel to a burning fire, but more for the sake of verifying what actually happened and to add your own frustration. Or, just send them an email with a think to this thread, to let them know you mean business.  The internet is powerful and scary thing ;). Here's the link: Just copy that puppy and paste it into a message straight to the heart of the winery.  To paraphrase one of my all-time-favorite scenes from John Lynch's Blue Velvet, carried out by the ever... never predictable Dennis Hopper: "You know what a LOVE LETTER IS?" Then there's a bunch of punching, and Isabella Rossellini screaming "FRANK!  NO FRANK!  LEAVE HIM ALONE FRANK!", Roy Orbison being played in the background, dancing on the rooftop of a car... beautiful, beautiful stuff I promise you. "Forever... in DREAMS..." ...but I digress.  Tend to do that when I paraphrase, which I am horrible at to begin with. Sorry to hear about your experience and know that something like this would never happen in the beautiful commonwealth of Virginia.
Reply by ChipDWood, Oct 24, 2010.

My apologies for the lack of formatting here- the post looked nowhere near this clumbsy when I wrote and reviewed it.  Try to make sense of it the best you can.

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