In a previous review the owners asked the reviewer to tell the "whole" story. So I will without omitting any facts. I welcome the owner of Iowa Wine Tours to add if I have left out or gotten anything wrong. My sister's best friend and I wanted to plan a winery tour for her bachelorette party. At the end of September, my sister's BF contacted Iowa Wine Tours and talked with the owner about the details. I told her I would make the deposit, so she wouldn't have to bear all the costs of the day. The first week in October, when I called the owner to place a deposit for our 12 person party he stated that in order to reserve I had to pay all costs up front. I told him that I lived in South Carolina and collecting the money from everyone was going to be problematic-- keep in mind this is over 650 dollars folks! I was perfectly willing to leave a 200 or 300 dollar deposit, but paying 650 dollars seemed unreasonable to me and I told him so. I told him I needed to speak with my husband about putting that much money on our credit card and told him I would contact him again. In the mean time I located a wine tour with Fried Green Tomatoes out of Galena-- 10 dollars cheaper per person, that includes lunch at their wonderful restaraunt and a tour of three wineries--no deposit required. Gee.. I wonder which one I am going to go with. Out of COURTESY-- since I had NOT made an official reservation because I had not met the owner of Iowa Wine Tours requirement to pay the ENTIRE balance. I sent him an e-mail letting him know that we would not be using his company, and the reason why (placing the entire burden of the cost of a 12 person party on one person). I reminded him that I would have been happy to make a deposit, but according to his reservation policy (not to be found anywhere on his website) this was not an option.
One hour after I sent this e-mail, the owner calls my home and proceeds to YELL at me over the phone, "I have to deal with the crap all the time, yell yell yell" When I say yell I mean yell, "people say they are bringing 12 than show up with 6, yell, yell yell" So there I am in my kitchen in my pajamas-- a man is yelling at me over the phone, so I try to tell him why I chose not to go with his company, again. He wouldn't listen and kept yelling so I yelled back at him and hung up. I am upset, my two year old is crying and upset-- what a great way to start the morning. In conclusion a few points:
-The owner obviously thought since I lived in South Carolina his bad behavior wouldn't come to light-- but hello!! I grew up close to Dubuque and have six brothers and sisters who live in the area-- umm business mistake number one, it's called word of mouth. Also if I had not received this phone call, I would have considered using his company for an outing when my in-laws visit. Paying the entire cost for four is a lot less onerous than paying for 12! Note to the owner....that would be more lost business on top of the lost business for the party of 12-- CHA>>CHING
--Business Mistake Number 2: The only reservation policy is the one he tells you about over the phone-- total payment needed in order to reserve the tour. Maybe this "crap" wouldn't happen "all the time" if he had a clear, reasonable reservation and pricing policy on his website. Is the reservation made when the money is paid (as the owner said) or is it not? And if this is the policy why am I getting yelled at?
So reader what is my advice to you? If you have a party of two, go ahead roll the dice you might have a good experience. But why risk dealing with this very unorganized, very angry man? There are other options out there, even renting a car, packing a great picnic lunch and using your GPS would be far better than risking receiving an angry 9am phone call.