Royally pissed in a Tuscan castle

castello-di-amorosa1Deb and I are in Napa Valley this week, partaking of pinots, cabs, chardonnays, zins, you name it.

Which reminds me of an adventure we had a few years ago at maybe the coolest winery in the area.

Castello di Amorosa is socked away against a hillside just south of the geysers in Calistoga.

The place is a full-scale medieval Tuscan castle, with a drawbridge, dry moat, great hall, courtyard, church, iron-gated entrance, towers, and even a torture chamber. Out of place here but totally bitchin’.

Their wine is great.

But on this particular visit I’m referring to, they almost blew it.

There were six of us in our party, and our friend Carrie had an iPhone app that promised a two-for-one deal for admission and wine tasting.

But the two women at the entrance didn’t want to honor it.

They fussed. They fumed. Only after much argument did they finally allow two of us to enter at a discount.

Four of us were royally pissed.

Not a good thing when your business sells wine at prices ranging anywhere from 28 to 100-plus dollars a bottle.

So none of us were predisposed to make any wine purchases that morning.

Good thing for the owners of Castello di Amorosa, the guy pouring in the tasting room was friendly, generous, and informative.

We joked with him. He shared stories. We really liked him.

And he sold us some $300 worth of vino.

Meanwhile, the two guard dogs at the gate had risked that sale for a few bucks in admission fees. Not to mention the gamble they’d made that we might tell all our Facebook friends about our shitty experience.

By the way…

We spoke with one of the castle’s bigshots. We suggested the guy in the tasting room get a raise and that the gals at the admissions counter get their asses canned pronto.

As a thank-you, he refunded us all our entry fees.

Business is built on relationships, not on pissing off your potential customers.

It doesn’t matter if you own a large Napa Valley winery or you’re a solopreneur — relationships always matter.

So don’t screw ’em up.

I’ve pulled together a report on how to avoid screwing up not just your customer/client relationships but ANY challenge you might face during the first year or so of building your business.

You’ll want to take a look at this…

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