The Apology


Customer-service-quote corrected

Previously, I told you the story of the clunker on our group trip to Napa. Our wine tasting experience at Darioush was monumentally disappointing and when I called to express my feelings, I never heard back.

My pal and most excellent blogger, Kelly McKenzie tweeted a link to the post and tagged Darioush. Thank you, Kelly!!!

Almost immediately I received a comment on my post from Jessica Hague, Vice President at Darioush.

Here is what she said:

Jessica Hague says:

June 15, 2015 at 3:09 pm

Mo, I am truly sorry to hear about your recent experience. I understand the disappointment you feel over your visit in early May, my team and I feel it too. As a loyal client of ours since 2006, your history with us is long, and I am particularly saddened that our appreciation was not shared with you and your guests at the time of your visit.

The winery was founded nearly 20 years ago on a distinct commitment to hospitality – to make our guests feel more at home than home itself. It’s our hope that you have felt this level of service and care from us in the past, my team has certainly enjoyed hosting you and Peter. I agree with you wholeheartedly, we should have accommodated you and your guests elsewhere at the winery that day. Tasting at the bar lessened the experience for you, and also limited our ability to properly express our appreciation for your patronage. You deserved more acknowledgement than you received that day, and I hope, in time, you may give my team and I another chance to do so.

I thank you for taking the time to write us about your visit; we take your comments to heart. I hear the disappointment in your words, the conflict in recommending Darioush to others. Please know that because you shared your experience, we can now make some necessary adjustments. My hospitality and member teams will be meeting later this week to discuss all aspects of your personal experience with us, from booking the reservation through the First Offering cancellation letter you received – and everything in between. Here in lies our opportunity to improve, thank you for that. My hope is that it does not come at the expense of your patronage. I hope that we can work to regain your trust, and are humbled that you will continue to keep us on your ‘must visit’ list for your readers.

Finally, I would like to reimburse you for your recent shipment and fees from the May visit. Would you kindly let me know the best time to reach you to arrange this, by emailing me directly at jessica at I look forward to connecting with you.

With warm regards,

Jessica Hague

Vice President

Now that’s more like it, Darioush!

That’s the level of hospitality we have been accustomed to. Certainly not the belly up to the bar and no, we won’t give you a clean glass kind of treatment!

As Ms. Hague requested, I sent her my direct contact information. First thing in the morning she called.

We had a productive conversation during which I thanked her for acknowledging that the treatment we received was unacceptable and she thanked me for giving her the opportunity to make improvements. Ms. Hague will be calling a meeting of the staff at every level using my story as a case study to review, analyze and correct each step of the hospitality program.


Because I used this platform to complain about the experience, I thought it only fair to also let you know that the folks at Darioush apologized. And, more importantly, promised to make changes.

I admit, I have a weird obsession with good customer service. I notice it and celebrate it. That’s probably why, when the service is terrible, it’s like nails on a chalkboard to me.

My normally sweet Pollyanna self gets her Irish dander up and I turn into a finger-wagging, “oh no you didn’t” saying kind of gal.

Not my best self.

After my conversation with Ms. Hague, I have high hopes that we can regain our friendship with Darioush.

But this all got me to thinking…

Years ago, when my friend Ellie was a bigwig with a cosmetics company, she asked me to be a secret shopper for a day then share my experiences at the meeting of her area managers.

I loved it! Love, love, loved it!

(I wasn’t kidding when I said that I’m obsessed with customer service.)

So, here’s my plan: I should become a wine tasting secret shopper!

I could hire myself out to wineries throughout Napa (neigh, the world!) to visit their tasting rooms and report back on the highs and lows of their customer service.

Brilliant, right?!

I think I might be on to something.

Perhaps my first stop will be Darioush.

You Might Also Like:


  1. Stephanie says:

    SO glad they’re back on our “to visit” list!! It was my absolute favorite on our girls’ trip.

    • Tomorrow’s post features another of your favorite. I will give you a hint. We loved their gift shop. And I think of you girls every time I’m there! XO
      Mo Lux recently posted…The ApologyMy Profile

  2. I know what you mean about customer service expectations. So glad that Darioush finally responded, addressed and corrected the situation (thank you social media). Did Ms. Hague have an explanation for your monumentally disappointing wine-tasting experience (such as a new employee) and/or failure to respond to your phone call?

    • She did not yet have an answer but also recognized that there were a number of points along the way at which they let us down. She promised a complete review from top to bottom. I can’t ask for more than that!
      Mo Lux recently posted…The ApologyMy Profile

  3. Thank you for sharing the outcome of your conversation; I’m so glad Darioush stepped up and made things right. See, we little bloggers can make a big difference!
    Dana recently posted…Not so summery Summer ReadsMy Profile

  4. Love that they responded. Can I be a partner in your secret wine tasting business?

  5. What a beautifully written letter! I always say a sincere apology goes a long way. It’s so hard to find good employees these days, and I hope they find the culprit in the bad experience and send him (or them) on his way.

    They sound grateful you spoke up, because many people don’t say a word. They just don’t return, and the business never understands why.

    Good for you, defender of the wine tasters!
    Leslie Anne recently posted…Comment on Salt Water Cures the Itch by Leslie AnneMy Profile

    • I agree 100%, Leslie Anne. Ms. Hague’s letter was perfect. Her follow up was sincere, thorough and effective. As defender of wine tasters don’t you think I should have a cape?
      Mo Lux recently posted…The ApologyMy Profile

  6. I think the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree & your reaction is a duplicate of what mine would have been. It certainly is the responsibility of the owners to train their people in every aspect of excellent service . As your Dad once said our $s are 100 % & your service should be also .

  7. The power of the pen..ahem, keyboard is mighty. So glad they acknowledged and hope to move forward by making necessary changes.
    Beemie recently posted…Not bitter-…My Profile

  8. They sound like a first-class company.
    Kathy G recently posted…“I Live In A World Of Wonders‏”My Profile

  9. I think that sounds like the most amazing job for you, Mo! (I’ve also done some mystery shopping — it can be a lot of fun.) So glad they really responded to you. The power of social media is pretty amazing!
    Bev recently posted…The unknown oneMy Profile

  10. First off I will say customer service is my pet peeve, maybe it is the Carney in us! If I have a bad enough experience that I feel the need to complain, I expect it to be made right. If it get a lukewarm to cold response, I am done. After all I work hard for my money, if I choose to spend it with you at least act like you care. Since I injured myself I have experienced anything from employees watching me struggle, if a family member wasn’t right there, to being beyond helpful. And I do appreciate it. Glad you resolved this problem. I think you should do the world a favor and offer your services as a secret wine and food taster across the globe!

  11. Hello dear Mo. Just catching up. It’s no wonder I like you so much… I’m obsessed with customer service too. I spent the morning writing drafting a letter to Celebrity cruise lines outlining a couple of blips on the radar that we faced. So glad that Darioush made amends. Did you send them your blog post? Hope so. Can’t wait til Richmond!

  12. I love a good Pinot Gris, I must try that!

Speak Your Mind


CommentLuv badge