Last Trip of 2012 – The winery where they will never see us again…

Before I start with this post, there are a couple of things you have to know about us.

1. We don’t like to write negative reviews or posts. Instead, we like to have a positive attitude and view on life.

2. We appreciate wine, but we are not experts. I know the difference between a pinot gris and a pinot noir and that’s about it. I am more interested in the taste of the wine and the human side of a winery: how long does this winery exist, where are itsvineyards situated, what’s their philosophy about wine and so on.

3. Lars and I are always friendly and respectful. I even have the naive belief that when you are friendly with someone, this person will automatically be friendly with you as well.

4. When we travel, we always dress casual. In winter this means jeans, sweater and sports shoes. So no fancy clothes.

5. We do know several languages and we always try to say something in the language of the country where we are. Lars has a basic knowledge of French, whereas I master everyday French quite well. So in France it’s usually me who does the talking.

Anyway, let’s get on with our story. Our last stop was at the Chateau de Vaux.

Our first impression was quite positive: the village looked cosy and the winery was located in a cellar of the castle. There were about 5 customers, who were all dressed in their best clothes. I could hear from their conversations that these people knew a lot about wine and were regular customers. Lars and I went to the counter and waited since only one woman was busy with the clients. After a couple of minutes it was our turn.

Woman: Good evening, what can I do for you?
I: We would like to taste some wines.
Woman: Which one?

We were a bit surprised by this question. Until now we had been become used to the owner of the winery to take the initiative; he or she usually presented his wines and gave some explanation. Maybe we had to indicate whether we would like to taste red or white wine? Lars and I went for white. The woman went to an enormous fridge, took some white wine and poured some of it in two glasses. She showed the bottle to us and that was it. No explanation whatsoever. And we couldn’t ask any information, because she had gone back to her other clients.

After what seemed like an eternity to us, she came back and asked if we wanted to tasted more. Lars and I hoped that she would take the time now to give some more explanation, but the woman followed exactly the same procedure. We started to feel a bit uneasy. And after 2 more times with the same treatment we felt neglected and frustrated.

I decided to end this ridiculous show and indicated that we were ready to buy some wines. We chose two bottles. I had already seen that the woman possessed a device to pay with bank card or credit card, so this should be a piece of cake. Just like in the two other places where we had been that day.

I first presented my bank card, but she refused. Then I took my credit card.

Woman: That’s impossible.
I: What do you mean? I can see the device over there.
Woman: I know, but you can only pay with it if you spend more than € 95.

Our mouths dropped open… 95??? Are you kidding??? We are budget travelers!!!

I asked if there was a bank somewhere. She gave a negative answer, turned her back towards us and completely ignored us. When we asked the other clients about the bank… we got exactly the same treatment. To be honest: Lars and I felt humiliated!

In short:

  • Quality of produce: we only have a very vague idea, since the quantities we tasted were very very limited.
  • Service: service? What service????
  • Price: Not too expensive.
  • Atmosphere: we felt very unwelcome. Maybe they don’t like budget travelers? Maybe we were not fancy enough?

Chateau de Vaux will never see us again!


  • edithlevyphotography January 21, 2013 at 6:42 pm

    That’s a shame as it looks like a beautiful winery. That woman needs a lesson in customer service.

    • Ingrid D. January 22, 2013 at 4:40 pm

      You bet she does! 🙂

  • petit4chocolatier January 21, 2013 at 7:54 pm

    I guess they aren’t very busy either. Most people that are given bad customer service never go back to the establishment without saying something to the owners. Maybe you could write them a letter outlining the day, time, and type of service you received. Hopefully she wasn’t the owner 🙂

    • Ingrid D. January 22, 2013 at 4:41 pm

      That’s the problem: she was one of the owners 🙂

  • transplantedtatar January 21, 2013 at 7:10 pm

    I am sorry they have this attitude. Not a place I’d want to encounter. A waste of an opportunity on their part, I think.

    • Ingrid D. January 22, 2013 at 4:41 pm

      I think so too.

  • Helen Devries January 21, 2013 at 8:46 pm

    What a shame!
    Our local vignerons were – with two exceptions – welcoming and keen to explain what they produced.
    The two exceptions had in one case a big trade contact and in the other was on the coach party route…they felt they didn’t need individual customers.

    • Ingrid D. January 22, 2013 at 4:45 pm

      Are you also talking about France?

  • Colline January 22, 2013 at 12:53 am

    I would not have bought from them either. Wonder if the owners know the server is extremely unfriendly.

    • Ingrid D. January 22, 2013 at 4:42 pm

      Actually the woman was one of the owners.

      • Colline January 22, 2013 at 6:00 pm

        That is even more surprising to me! You would think she would want the customer to buy!

  • bulldogsturf January 22, 2013 at 8:30 am

    Wow maybe their sales are so high they don’t need you… and if that is the case why have such a facility… in my drinking days we did a tour of our wine route in the Cape of South Africa… the service was always so good you never left without buying… I would not return to that place but I would let the owners know how you were treated… disgusting…

    • Ingrid D. January 22, 2013 at 4:43 pm

      Disgusting: that’s the right word. I will have a look at their website, maybe there is an email address.

  • Sam and the dunes January 22, 2013 at 11:19 am

    Very sorry to hear about such unfriendly “service”… 🙁

    • Ingrid D. January 22, 2013 at 4:44 pm

      Indeed, what a shame 🙁

  • Photography Journal Blog January 22, 2013 at 1:58 pm

    That’s too bad, but I’m glad you did not make a purchase.

    • Ingrid D. January 22, 2013 at 4:38 pm

      Since we didn’t have enough cash money, that was impossible 🙂

  • ruthincolorado January 22, 2013 at 4:57 pm

    Their loss.

    • Ingrid D. January 22, 2013 at 5:20 pm


  • pedmar10 January 22, 2013 at 8:07 pm

    well the service was bad but chateau de vaux, i would not go there either even a first time. there are limits to spent and knowing a bit about their wine is appreciated too, preparation as wine is sublime. Of course, they could have been more accommodating knowing you did not know their wines, sacre bleu!!!

  • kareninhonolulu January 27, 2013 at 2:51 am

    I would have left after the first time she turned away. I would never have bought anything from them.

    • Ingrid D. January 27, 2013 at 10:52 am

      I guess we were really desperate to taste their wines 🙂

  • unclerave January 27, 2013 at 10:12 pm

    I shall forever mentally bookmark this place as Chateau de NoGo!

    — YUR

    • Ingrid D. January 28, 2013 at 4:50 pm


  • wanderoneday January 28, 2013 at 2:31 pm

    Every once in a while you get an owner who makes you feel like you are inconveniencing them by wanting to taste and buy their wines! My husband have visited quite a few wineries in the Finger Lakes region in New York, but we haven’t really yet delved into the wineries in central Pennsylvania.

    We did try one winery that (pun somewhat intended?) left a bad taste in our mouth. The owner seemed put out when we said we wanted to taste the wines, and while he did give a brief explanation of each one as he poured, he poured the tiniest amount possible into each glass! Normally, you’re supposed to pour enough that the person can have a mouthful to get the feel of the wine in additon to the flavors and aromas, but this barely wet my tongue.

    And then to top it all off, he wanted to charge us $35 for the tasting unless we bought a bottle of wine! This wasn’t posted anywhere, so we should have argued it, but the saving grace was that the wine was actually pretty delicious so we bought a bottle and like you, vowed never to return.

    • Ingrid D. January 28, 2013 at 4:49 pm

      Guess there are nasty people everywhere!

  • adinparadise January 30, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    Some people are really in the wrong jobs, aren’t they? What a great pity that your visit was spoilt in this way. Their loss though.

    • Ingrid D. January 30, 2013 at 4:50 pm


  • mariannegv January 31, 2013 at 4:54 am

    And they will never see us, the people who read your post. I think you should have left the place after the first time she turned away without giving you information about the wine you were tasting. That was her duty.

    • Ingrid D. January 31, 2013 at 4:46 pm

      I guess you are right. Maybe we were too thirsty 🙂

  • unexpectedtraveller January 31, 2013 at 5:48 am

    What a shame .. And what horrible service too!

    • Ingrid D. January 31, 2013 at 4:47 pm

      She was simply horrible, that woman!

  • kathryningrid February 6, 2013 at 9:45 pm

    To paraphrase our friends of the Monty Python guard: ‘I f@rt in her general direction!’ 😉

    • Ingrid D. February 7, 2013 at 7:14 pm

      Good one! 😉

  • Kerry Dwyer February 7, 2013 at 3:26 pm

    French service is notoriously bad but generally in vineyards they are out to impress. I have not experienced that in Bordeaux or Charente regions and I also do not dress up for a dégustation.

    • Ingrid D. February 7, 2013 at 7:14 pm

      Thanks for the comment! Have you been to dégustations in other countries?

      • Kerry Dwyer February 8, 2013 at 9:12 am

        Yes in Italy and Spain. They were lovely.


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