With sword in hand I face demands, delivered with the best intentions

We all know that PBE is all about accountability.  I have no problem calling out whoever on their bullshit.  Today is a Mea Culpa.  I got called out on my bullshit.  And I was wrong.  I made a mistake.  I checked my facts as best I could at 5:30 in the morning, but sometimes I’m not at my best.  Lucky for y’all Gloria Schaefer was nearby with a newspaper to smack me on the nose.  I should have known better.  I knew I was sad to see Audelessa on the list of Foley wines, but I couldn’t remember why besides that I liked their juice.  The reason was that I know Gloria through several social media sites.  I should have just asked her but I spaced it out.  She didn’t.

Who is Gloria Schaefer you ask?  She’s one of the founders and owners of Audelssa.  Yeah, still.  It wasn’t sold to Foley Family Wines, they are independent.  That’s good news.  They have a distribution deal, which I knew about, but that’s it.  Foley has no ownership.  My mistake.  And I’m making it right, here and now.  I was wrong and I apologize to all the ownership and employees of Audelssa.

Harakiri-still

For all of you out there who think I am a disgruntled former employee, you’d be wrong.  I worked for him about 15 minutes back in 1982 or 1983.  He bought St. Paul Title in Santa Barbara.  He actually came into our offices after the acquisition, because he wasn’t that big back then.  He made his original money with Carl’s Jr. franchises.  That’s why I call him the Burgermeister.  He has treated every business since then as if they were flipping burgers.  I left Fidelity Title of Santa Barbara because I was moving back to Northern California.  I wasn’t asked to leave and I had no axe to grind back then.  I never worked for him again.  I did watch him raid our offices, steal our employees, offer them ridiculous salaries and then shitcan them 3 months later.  Their most recent MO has been to lure people in with big salaries, secure their book of business and can them.  I watched a lot of people I knew being sold a bill of goods.  I watched them build flashy new offices and then not do a single upgrade for 10 years.  I watched people not get a single raise for years after coming over for a big splashy salary.  I watched him change the title insurance industry not for the better over a 25 year period.  It is now a risk assumption business.  It used to be risk aversion.  It’s now risk assumption because they don’t do the job that the customer thinks they’re doing.  I watched him follow Parker Kennedy’s lead and off-shore our jobs.  I watched him raid Parker Kennedy’s First India Corp and offer his Bangalore employees larger salaries.  And I watched the see-saw move against both companies in India.  It is no longer as profitable as it once was to off-shore our jobs, but they still don’t have to pay taxes so they keep doing it.  I hope I get to watch Obama change that. And I’ve watched them deliver obscene earnings to Wall Street while laying off California workers.   I know over 50 years experience lost their jobs in the form of only two employees last week.  They canned someone who had been with the company for 26 years.  That is reprehensible.  They should have showed even to Wall Street and let that employee continue to make his mortgage and feed his family.  They will call him back at a deeply discounted rate with no benefits through a temp agency.  That’s what they do.  It’s a disgusting, slimy business practice and it’s wrong.

How these business practices will translate to the wine industry is anybody’s guess.  The two things that are most concerning to me is the total disregard for talent.  Title companies no longer have or respect the years of knowledge that goes into making a talented title officer or a gifted escrow officer.  Will the same thing translate to the winemakers?  The vineyard manager?  Will the Burgermeister decide that biodynamic sustainable practices are not cost effective?  Will that change the juice?  Will they source their grapes from another country?  Another region?  Will they bring in inferior grapes and put just enough Stag’s Leap juice in it to call it a Stag’s Leap appellation?  Who knows right now what he’ll think of to increase profit, but he will.  And he’ll do it on the backs of the employees while marketing something completely different to the customers.

My money says he’s gunning for Jess Jackson.  That’s his way.  He’s been trying to clip the Eagle for years.  No reason to think he’s not after Jess Jackson in the same manner.  The wine industry got a taste of that last week.  That was totally corked.  If these rich men aren’t already scrapping, it’s coming.

Here is the revised list:

Altvs
Clifford Bay
Curtis
Firestone Vineyard
Foley Estates
Kuleto
Lincourt Vineyards
Merus
Sebastiani
Three Rivers Winery
Vavasour
Wattle Creek

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