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Bulletin Detail
Date July 11, 2015 
Title Temporary Suspension of Wine Club Operations - Update! 
Bulletin Untitled Page

Dear Arthur’s Cellar Wine Club Member:

We thought you might appreciate an update about how things are going at the LCBO from our vantage point and where we stand in respect to resuming operation.

Let us start off by saying it has been much worse than we had imagined when we first decided to stop placing orders. It has been so gnarly and wretched that George J. Soleas, Executive Vice President of the LCBO sent out this notice to agents and licensees. It is not quite an apology for the trials and tribulation they have inflicted upon us, but it is the closest thing we have ever had to one.

Basically, it would seem that they didn’t give much if any thought to how their agents were going to cope during the protracted implementation process of their new operating system. For example, as soon as their staff started flailing away with the new ordering process, they stopped sending copies of purchase orders to the agents. As the number of input errors rose dramatically and order processing times grew exponentially, we were completely in the dark unless we asked our winery to send us a copy of the purchase order. Domaine Roger Sabon received an order for one case of 2013 Rhône By Roger Sabon when it should have been for twenty-five cases. And so it goes.

They used to send us copies of their invoices before we picked up our wine. But this ceased; so we now have no way of checking the accuracy before we appear at their counters at 33 Freeland Street.

Suddenly the LCBO lab is taking bottles from our orders, even though you have waived the lab testing ritual. So far, the bottles they take have simply disappeared. Our current Château Rives-Blanches order is missing nine bottles! We are waiting despondently to find out what has happened to them.

Cases of wine are disappearing on their way to outlying LCBO stores, never to be seen again. Deposit payments are being taken twice for the same order (a phenomenon that takes weeks to resolve). We receive avalanches of meaningless email reports (that one day might make sense once we start working with the new system). And, this is just the tip of the iceberg.

We don’t want to leave you with the impression that our confreres at LCBO Private Ordering aren’t trying their best. They are and we believe that they sincerely want to work with us to simplify and improve the administrative joys of dealing with them. However, they are just now beginning to roll out the system to a couple of the largest agencies and it is going to take months till they get it out to the rest of us (another several hundred poor souls!). May the good times roll!

We are going to give it another try in the next couple of weeks. Christmas, New Years and many other festive occasions are sneaking up on us and it would be cruel and unusual punishment if we didn’t provide you with the opportunity to load up on the fine elixirs from Champagne Forget-Brimont. Your prayers and good wishes will be greatly appreciated. continue to bear with us as we work through these most interesting times with our partners at the LCBO. As Mr. Soleas says, “Once fully implemented, this new program will simplify and streamline order placement and delivery, while giving agents increased control over order generation, purchasing and pick-up.” One can only hope.

Many thanks and cheers!

Jim, Hélène and Kate