Grape Procurement Policies for Members
Orders for focaled vineyards (not self-serve) will be accepted without preference to order of receipt between May 15th and June 15th 2007. If orders received exceed the available quantity, allocation among the received orders will be made as equitably as possible. Grapes available following the open order period will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis and a waiting list maintained. Grapes are an agricultural product and may be subject to unexpected overages or shortages at harvest. Overages or shortages will be handled by the focal as equitably as possible.
For coordinated group (bulk) purchases, no individual order can be disbursed until the final weighing and distribution of the grapes for all orders is complete. The vineyard focal can authorize exceptions.
Non-members can serve as vineyard focals with the sponsorship of a member. The sponsoring member must serve as backup focal for the non-member.
Members with commercial wineries must use the grapes purchased through the club for non-commercial purposes and agree not to use them in commercial wines. If a vineyard allocation is not fully utilized by the club membership, a member with a commercial winery may be allowed to assume the unclaimed club allocation for commercial use with direct payment to the vineyard.
Once you have made your order(s) via the website, send the Vineyard Focal any required deposit to reserve your order as soon as possible. BEWBC will be writing one check to the vineyard owners for all grapes purchased. It is the Vineyard Focals choice to require a deposit and determine when full payment is required.
Unless otherwise specified by the Vineyard Focal, make all checks payable to BEWBC and send them directly to the Vineyard Focal. Focals will submit all checks to the Club Treasurer, along with a complete accounting of expenses.
Typically, deposits will not be refundable within a month prior to harvest. This is to discourage members from making last-minute cancellations of their orders, or failing to pick up their orders and leaving excess grapes with either the vineyards or the club. Of course, exceptions for emergencies will usually be granted. Ask your Vineyard Focal for details.
For popular vineyards or those with limited quantities, orders may exceed the available quantity. In these cases, your order may be limited to a percentage of the total available quantity or some poundage limit, in order to more fairly distribute the small quantity available. The Vineyard Focal will provide the specific terms. You will hear from your focal as soon as possible after June 15th if some form of allocation is required should orders exceed available quantities.
Sometimes we don't receive as many grapes as ordered from the vineyard. If this happens the focal will adjust orders as equitably as possible. If adjustments are made, you will receive a refund from the Club Treasurer, usually within a few weeks for amounts greater than $10. For adjustments less than $10, if you are also purchasing grapes from other vineyards, you will receive a single refund at the end of the season, combining any adjustments from your remaining vineyards. This procedure is helpful in minimizing the number of checks for small amounts that our Club Treasurer had to issue throughout the season. In the past, this made our Treasurer's job quite tedious and added to the complexity of the accounting. Generally, the same process will apply to amounts due (e.g., when extra grapes are available and purchased at harvest).
These are the goals of our Payment Procedure:
- We want to protect our relationship with the vineyard owners. They count on us to take delivery of their product and not to leave them searching for a buyer for harvested grapes at the last minute. Harvested grapes are extremely fragile and need to be sold within a day of harvesting.
- We want to simplify our payment to the vineyards. We don't want to waste the vineyard owners' time counting money in the field and searching for members to write checks. The easier we are to deal with as a group, the better. Wineries tend to pay months after harvest. We feel we can make an impression by paying in full with a single check from BEWBC. The vineyard owners will grow to appreciate us as customers.
- We want to simplify our Treasurer's job by keeping the accounting manageable.
- We want to make our Vineyard Focals' jobs easier, too. Buyers that change their minds at the last minute cause lots of scrambling on the part of the Focal to find other buyers or notify the vineyard of a revised order. This is why, in most cases, deposits are not refundable after a certain date. Unforeseen circumstances sometimes occur, but we try to keep last-minute changes to a minimum.
Prices for some of our vineyards have not yet been formalized. Some vineyards wait for the Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers (WAWGG) suggested pricing to be published before setting their own individual prices. In these cases, we have tried to publish last year's prices as a guide. Our club belongs to the WAWGG organization, and we plan to publish their "suggested price list" when it becomes available, probably after the WAWGG Market Committee meets in July. Prices shown on the website in the vineyard write-up section of this plan do not reflect club surcharge or transportation costs at this time. We will continue to update pricing information when we receive it on the website immediately.
As implemented in 1999, and revised in 2006, the club will collect a ##¢ per pound surcharge for grapes ordered from any vineyard which is paid via the Club Treasurer. At present, this includes all of our vineyards except the "self-serves". The surcharge goes to the club treasury to help fund our annual Winefest event and to fund our WAWGG (Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers) membership and yearly conference fees, which is one of our prime means for cultivating new vineyard sources for the club and maintaining relationships with existing vineyard sources.
Transportation is provided for some of the vineyards but you should be prepared to pick up your grapes at the vineyard yourself. For the high volume vineyards we have rented a 24-foot, 26,000 GVW trucks from Rollins Truck Leasing to transport large grape loads back to Kent. Because of the high rental fees and fuel costs, these trucks only make sense for our largest vineyard harvests, though sometimes several vineyards in the same area harvest on the same day, making a combined trip economical. We will use the trucks when we can, as feedback from members shows that you really appreciate the service. Transportation costs will vary by trip, depending on how many grapes are carried, and will be determined by the Vineyard Focal. Costs have typically run 5 to 10¢ per pound. We provide our drivers with some limited compensation for their efforts (e.g., lunch and free transportation for their own grapes), as they put in long hours driving vehicles and work hard loading grapes in the vineyard. Please be sure to thank your driver for their efforts a bottle of wine is always appreciated.
Grape Order Process
The grape ordering forms are part of each vineyard profile and allows members to order their grapes on-line.
Grape Procurement Plan Updates
Because the grape procurement information is on-line, we make updates to information immediately upon receipt. Certain late-breaking information may be e-mailed to the membership, based on its urgency.
Vineyard Owners and Managers
Our relationship with the vineyard owners and managers is extremely important. Because of our long-standing relationship with some of these vineyards, we continue to receive highly sought-after grapes from sources that some commercial wineries do not even have access to. Our ability to continue to receive these grapes depends on maintaining good relationships with these vineyards. As we all represent our club, please do everything you can to foster a good relationship: learn the owners' names, talk with them when you visit, remain courteous (take your complaints to your Vineyard Focal, not the vineyard owners), don't cancel your order and leave it sitting in the vineyard. Take the owner a sample of your craft at harvest. They will remember this and appreciate knowing their grapes are being used well.