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montesquieu wine exchange

A "First" for me....I got a call today from a telemarketer regarding buying wine from montesquieu. I'd never heard of the company before, and her approach...high pressure, deflecting questions back to the script, and general fast talk made me a bit suspicious. When I asked her how she had gotten my name, she indicated that "she had been referred to me". I asked by whom and she said "we work with the twin cities wine experience". Odd, because i've never actually gone to the event.

Anyways, the sales pitch was that they were brokers of small boutique wineries. They worked..... "directly with winemakers. You know, like harlan, who want to make other wines but can't do it under their normal labels of course" (lol)

I wasnt sure if they were a negociant or if they did marketing for boutique wineries, but the whole pitch smelled funny. Their website listed hundreds of labels, but I wasn't familiar with any of them. So I did a google search and the only comments that i found were interesting...


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  1. Yikes. Very shady, but not surprising. I'm just impressed that you managed to stay on the phone with a telemarketer to hear all this information!

    Good one about Harlan.

    2 Replies
    1. re: mengathon

      Yeah, it was so odd to get telemarketed for A) wine and B) Wine while at work, that I was just sort of dumbfounded. I'm glad that I was able to collect my thoughts enough to avoid ordering a case of Screaming Beagle Cabernet. ;)

      The pitch must work tho...I guess it shows how desperate folks are to get in on the ground floor of the next hot boutique wine.

      1. re: chrisinroch

        You have "nailed it!" It's all in the "marketing," tele, or otherwise. Some brick n' mortar shops set themselves up as similar. A recent thread on this board indicated similar - close out wine, sold as being "boutique."

        There are even some retail brands, that claim to be using wine from "undisclosed, top producers," that I've found to be plonk. These folk drop a lot of hints, to intimate that the wine is worth much more, than it is being sold for. The role of a real negotiant is to market a wine, or maybe even make it for someone else's grapes, or juice. It's a respected practice in the hands of a scrupulous merchant.

        I get tons of junk mail, offering similar, but always recycle it. Only call that I've gotten was from a small distributor in CA, who actually could deliver, and not obscure wines from unheard of producers, and appelations, but from real winemakers, who had a bit of overstock. Not great savings, but worth the effort.


    2. She called back today as promised. Very odd phone call, very high pressure, Now it turns out that she got my name from "someone who attended the chicago food and wine experience" Total B.S. When I told her that nobody I know has ever been there, she said...."You can't think that I just called you up out of the phone book at random hoping that you drink wine." (LOL!!)

      I usually hang up on telemarketers after a polite, "no thanks", but the call was so odd and she was so entertaining with her pitch that I kept up the conversation. Eventually, she turned it into a "It really hurts my feelings that you don't trust me, I'm insulted" It was great!!!

      1 Reply
      1. re: chrisinroch

        -"It really hurts my feelings that you don't trust me, I'm insulted"

        HAHAHA This cant be what telemarketers are being taught these days! What's next, I need money for school?

        I am seriously considering finding my way on their call list just for the amusement.

      2. Telemarketing of wine has been around since at least the 1980s. Pierroth used to do it in the 1980s by setting up a "Tupperware" party in your house and tasting you on a whole bunch of crappy wines . . .

        Geerlings & Wade were another one, and there were several others. And now these guys . . . .

        1 Reply
        1. re: zin1953

          Yes, we hosted a similar event, and were so glad that I had brought up some "good" wine, for the time that the rep. left. As I recall, she sold about $20 worth of their wine. Shortly after her departure, we did a Beringer Howell Mtn. Bancroft Ranch Merlot, and a Groth "Red Stripe" Cab. I believe that this was the last time that I attended such an event - that was not for charity. Pretty bleak.

          Thanks for the memories,

        2. Thanks for taking the time to post this -- I'm in the middle of a job search and thought it sounded off when I saw the job posting -- now I know it is!

          1 Reply
          1. re: winegirl1973

            No Problem. The place sounds like it would make for an interesting 60 minutes segment.

          2. OMG, this woman (Carrie, I think?) is the most annoying salesperson on the planet. I normally don't pick-up when she calls (I can tell it's her from the area code) but I was expecting a call this morning and didn't look at the phone in time. She is by far the most annoying salesperson I've encountered in a L-O-N-G time. I was trying to be nice about it, telling her that I mostly drink Washington wine (which they don't sell much of) and that I like to buy locally. Of course, she wouldn't shut up about how wonderful their stuff was, and wouldn't I like to try something Italian or French or..........and there's no way to get a word in with her. She literally never stops talking.

            I finally just told her she was too pushy. She asked how that was possible, since we had only talked voice-to-voice once (though she's called dozens of times, and has left at least half a dozen voice mails). Then she went into this rant about how if I would just not be so evasive, and if I would have just been up-front with her, blah blah blah. She actually said, "I can't read your mind, you know, and I'm hurt that you weren't honest with me." Gee, I hurt a telemarketer's feelings. In the middle of her rant, I said, "Let's not waste each other's time" and hung up.

            My advice: avoid these people at all costs.

            3 Replies
            1. re: uncapie

              Glad to see people are keeping up on this sales company. I would have liked to know all the information about 5 years ago when I fell for the pitch. I have a bunch of wines that are over priced for the quality. Fortunately I did not buy many in the high priced range that they were pushing. I figured something was up, when a Brunello was opened my mistake and I tasted it. Admittedly it was a bit young, but very disappointing. When I went on the web, I could not find it. Finally I located it and the score for a previous vintage was 75pts. They always seemed to get me at work & I would buy something to get them off the line. That must be there MO. There are so many good wines out there at very much lower prices. At least most of the wines were decent if not great. I'm awaiting their next call, so I can chat and waste their time. I do not buy so the calls are fortunately infrequent, although I get cold calls from them asking if I appreciate fine wines. I think I will say yes, but you do not have any! Unfortunately there are too many people like me who will fall for the spiel and not do the initial research on the company.

              1. re: dgris

                Uptopic, zIn1953 seems to put Geerlings & Wade in the same category as Montesquie. Is there any corroboration for that here? I don't buy from them, but a good friend did, for several years, and was generally satisfied.

                Here's alink to a wine-searcher page on a wine I'm familiar with. The vintage is a bit old for a Cal Zin perhaps, but I'd give it a try for $19.99 at a trustworthy shop.


                Jason? Any thoughts?

                1. re: healeysprite

                  Another issue that I found or did not find was any information they had on the domestic wines they were sellling. the web site is just a cover sheet with no real information. The imported wines at least have some information that you can track down. One of their major names, Derenencourt has interests all over the world. A Bdx wine, Terra Burdigala in Europe sells for $16.50. Montesquieu sells it for $36.00. The same with the other imports, from 2-4 times the price domestic version.

            2. I, unfortunately, also fell for the pitch from these guys. I was referred to them by an aquaintance that doesn't really understand wine that much. Anyway I have bought a few 1/2 cases from them and have been suspicious from the beginning (about a year ago). The labels are fancy looking, but they are all bottles by "Montesquieu" so my thought is that they are basically doctoring up some wine and putting on a fancy label. The salesperson is annoying and incredibly persistent, but the kicker is that the description of the wine is almost always exactly the same and it's based on the criteria that I gave them when we first started talking. You can also hear cheering/bell ringing in the background of the conversation when some other telemarketer nails an order.

              The crowning blow came yesterday when "Tino" called me 3 times during a busy workday, each time when I was really busy. I told him each time that I was too busy to talk, so the last call he threw out that he was "setting aside some of this awesome wine for me" before I hung up on him. This morning I get an email that they hit my American Express for $1700 plus for a case of wine and I obviously came unglued. Fortunately got it cancelled and told them to take me off their list and do not call again. Wish I would have found this thread a year earlier.

              1 Reply
              1. re: bigtoeklein

                I haven't been on this forum for a while. Just checking to see what was up, and lo and behold Montesquieu is still at it. I was taken for a pretty good ride a number of years ago. And while I paid a lot more than the wines were worth, some were actually pretty good and have aged well. Some others were good when I bought them and have aged poorly. The price was for premium and I got daily drinkers which should not have been cellared but popped and poured. The galling point is that they could make money by being honest and selling their wines for market price. I thought I was taken, but others in the know have been hosed for more than I was. I re-evaluated all my purchases from 1/2 to 1/4, and I am drinking them as fast as I can to make way for the more recent better purchases I have made. The call scenario I think is timed to get you when you are busy. Unfortunately, I would agree to a buy just to get them off the line. Only recently when was cataloging all my wines did I realize how many purchases were made and at the frequency. I try not to dwell too much on it any more and put it behind me. I could have bought so many really good wines for the same money that would be drinking now, CdP, Barolo. Well, at least I seldom bought their higher priced stuff.

              2. I quit buying from them about 5 years ago after buying more than I care to admit over a ten year period. Most are long gone with a few Brunello stranglers which are drinking well now. They are at least twice the price of the market. The 2001 iVerbi Brunello I paid $90 is sold under it's own Verbena label @ $45 and is going for $15 @ Benchmark. I just got a call to which my reply is, "i do not buy from you because the wines are overpriced by double and I only buy singles now." Live and learn! Always check Cellar Tracker or Wine Searcher before you buy any wine.