We have for years ordered directly from a number of nearby (within 100 miles of our delivery address) Northern California wineries. Shipping charges -- when we don't pick up at the winery -- have typically ranged from a high of about $14-16 per half case (Drew), to perhaps $20 per case (when we used to buy from Dehlinger) to maybe about $12 per case (e.g., Calera) to, recently, 1 cent per case (Navarro, Husch, Handley, all from which we order whites only) -- and Rhys is no charge at all. All of the prior wineries (Rhys excepted) also offer volume or "club" discounts on the wines themselves.
For one highly regarded Pinot Noir and Chardonnay specialist in Sebastopol (45 minute drive from us), we have picked up directly from the winery, and tasted while we were there. This place offers no club or volume discount. And now it is charging $15 for the privilege of picking up at the winery. They explain, and we understand, that pick ups cause a bit extra work. I asked, what would be the cost to ship our allocated six bottles? Answer: About $29 (and it would be about $38 to LA). I asked, for this, do we at least get refrigerated transport? But I got no response to that; apparenty the answer is no, and the charge simply reflects costs -- they explained that they contract the entire process of shipping, and related paperwork and materials, to an outside entity, and just pass on these costs.
We do like this winery, and how they go about their craft. We have managed to put up with the creeping prices, but this new pick up charge, on top of the already premium costs per bottle (with no discounts) and coupled with the shipping charges that are so much higher than others (with no added service, such as refrigeration) leaves a sour taste.
What do others think of the $15 pick up charge, and the shipping costs? (As I write this, I thin -- this is indeed a First World problem. But so are many others on this site!) -- Jake