There were 4 of us on this tour. I originally spoke with Jill. I told her that, I had a 19 year old with us, and would there be anything for him on this tour. Jill stated, " Oh sure, we can provide him with sodas, or whatever drink he wants, and chocolate and cheese parings, for your son, and the other 3 of us. Being that I wasn't a major wine drinker, myself, I thought, great, then it would be worth, going on this tour, and paying for my son also.
Needless to say, when the tour guide showed up, he was clueless about the sodas, and chocolate and cheese parings.
I asked him to call Jill, and he said, he didn't have her number. Later, I found out from Jill, that he HAD called her.
The guide did quickly run to the store, and got my son, 2 sodas. As far as the chocolate and cheese parings, there was none. Oh, let me correct myself. When my sister, and I asked for a sweet wine to taste at one of the wineries, the girl who poured our wine, dropped in our hand, a teeny pellet size chocolate, and told us to sip the wine, then eat the chocolate, and then sip the wine again. That was it!
My son, just stood around, not being able to participate in anything!
I am not faulting the tour guide, as he tried to fix the situation, that Jill, screwed up, and basically lied about.
When I called Jill, after our tour, that Monday, Jill, argued with me about it, saying, "Oh, you got some chocolate at one of the places" Boy, was that stretching it!!
I told her, I wanted a refund, on my sons cost. She said, "Well, he ate lunch"
I told her, that I should get a refund, on all of our tours, as we also, didn't get this fantastic, chocolate and cheese paring that she talked about.
She said, she would get back to me about my son's cost, and so far, I have heard nothing from her.
You know, since this was my first wine tasting tour, I didn't realize, that you can do these yourself, without any problem.
There are tons of wineries along the highway, we took, and you can stop in at any of them yourself. You don't need a tour guide, if you call them that.
Next time, this is what we will do, and save over $ 400 that we paid for the tour.
I would definately not reccomend this tour to anyone!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
December 2, 2010
We are sorry that we were not the tour that this particular guest was looking for; all operators have their niche. We have always promoted our tours as “more than just something to do”. Our passion is wine and wine education; hence our focus is on that.
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When possible, we are always happy to accommodate a guest’s special request, such as a soda, where water is normally provided throughout the day. This element was overlooked due to illness but remedied on site while guests were touring wine caves; no inconvenience was had.
There appears to be some misunderstanding as to what the cheese and/or chocolate pairing is. It is WINE paired with cheese or chocolate, not cheese to chocolate and would never have been promoted as such let alone “something to appease a minor” as it is illegal. I’m assuming that this explanation is what was perceived to be “argued with me” on the phone call Monday morning.
One or the other can be provided on the public tours, never both unless a private charter where we have many options for in depth pairings, blending trials, etc., when it is not a private charter we partner with wineries that offer such an amenity. On this day, it was a chocolate pairing. It is true they were only offered chocolate with the sweet wine as chocolate doesn’t pair with all wines; it pairs with big reds and dessert wines; this is what was provided.
The chocolate is never just “set out” or available in large quantities as was expected. This format wouldn’t work as everyone would just eat it and not “pair it”. It is an educational element known as “Cause & Effect” and demonstrates how the flavors on the palate will change how the wine tastes and vice a versa. Our guide was aware of their chocolate expectations and was able to provide the group with additional said chocolate; we aim to please!
I would like to clarify that adult minors are certainly welcome on board, even children on a private charter, but they typically aren’t attracted to such much like guests that aren’t really into wine. That being said we have managed over 15 years to convert many a guest from not that interested to an enthusiast! Additionally we have had guests on board that don’t even drink but love learning and spending the day with their friends and family in beautiful wine country. This is what we’re all about and will continue to seek.
I do take personal offense to the statement that “I lied”, this is not one of my characteristics as anyone who knows me will attest to.
In the vein and apparently failed attempt of “keeping our customer happy”, we did refund the ticket price for the 19 year old, less the cost for the picnic lunch. This client called at 9am, her call was returned along with the refund by noon the same day. It appears that this review was written in the interim. A refund on her son was the only request, not the entire party; which would not have been afforded. According to the guide that day; it appeared that a good time was had by all, sans perhaps the 19 year old, which stands to reason with logic applied.
It is true; you can visit wineries without a tour operator and a party of four wouldn’t even need to call ahead; it seems this would have been the preferred choice for this particular guest. Tour operators provide not only a safe way to travel while tasting but additionally in our case; “Seriously Fun Wine Education” as well as Door-Door Service, a Friendly Knowledgeable Guide, a Planned Itinerary, Tasting Fees and an amazing Gourmet Picnic Lunch. Something our clients have enjoyed for over 15 years.
A company can’t be everything to everyone. We here at Breakaway Tours truly relish our niche and sharing it with others of like mind. For those looking for a tour; it is our hope that this random review won’t affect your choice to learn more about our wine and regions here on the Central Coast with the original wine tour company that’s been uncorking it since 1995! Until then ~ Cheers!
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.