Since we haven't bottled wine yet, it would seem impossible to have problems with our shipping company, but we have.
I picked out a small storage and shipping facility in the South Bay in April. I wanted somewhere local, that could deliver to restaurants in San Jose and ship to people as needed. They seemed to fit the bill well and we marked them off on our permits.
Well November came, and I wanted to sit down with them and make sure they'd be able to ship inter-state well, and could handle the wide spread of our customers. So I called, and emailed, and called and emailed, and nothing. I think they are still in business, but they never called me back. So I started checking around. There's one other shipper in San Jose I found, but they were geared for large volumes. The smallest price they had was to ship a case, and they could not even quote shipping single bottles.
So I started asking around. Kevin at Copain, Randy Sloan at Match Vineyards, and Bradley Brown at Big Basin all had recommendations I checked out. Some places never got back to me, or said they would send me information and never did, or just never responded to me. I figure some of that is the holiday season, so I'll contact them all again after the 1st. Still the experience has been something. Randy Sloan had a good quote: "I can't say I'm happy with my shipping company, but they are not pissing me off at the moment and that's about as good as it gets." Everyone else had simliar comments.
So I'll spend a lot of time in January it looks like tracking down a storage and shipping company and it will likely be in Napa. More time in a truck for me, I never thought winemaking would mean so much time behind the wheel.