In the far-away city of Brethon in France,
A fellow named Gilbert began a romance,
With chard and noir and some pinot meunier,
Creating (in French, please) the U.V.C.B.
But his name was not ‘Grape’ like the Gil played by Depp.
This Gilbert wore proudly the surname Gruet,
As his son Laurent L. wears it proudly today.
On a trip to the Southwest in late ’83,
Gil found vinelands expansive, and virtually free.
At high elevations where heat mattered not,
It was dry as a bone; no ignoble rot.
A winery planting new vines in the ground.
Gruet reborn, to the desert from Gaul,
Albuquerquians crowed at the quirk of it all.
The wine wound up wonders; they sparkled and shone,
Champenoise method where nothing had grown?
Fame came in barrels; Gruet was the whip,
The critics approved from the first sip.
Case sales increased; the Brut was first rate.
A tenth of a million were sold in ’08.
A trio of sisters had joined the concern,
Yet trouble was brewing, as soon they must learn.
Laurent’s ambition had clouded his eyes,
He wanted more pieces of more and more pies.
He wanted Gruet, so his sisters agreed
To sell him their shares and to hand him the deed.
Things all went south—or East, to be fair,
In Lubbock in Texas when Laurent went there.
In July twenty ten, he bid on Cap*Rock
A business he longed for—lock, barrel and stock.
He offered six million; the deal was soon made,
With no earnest money. He vowed they’d be paid.
Jaws dropped in the boardroom at Gruet next day,
When bankers revealed just how much they would pay.
Laurent was baffled; he thought the deal fine:
“To make lots of money, you sell lots of wine.
Though Cap*Rock is bankrupt, potential is there.”
He’d forgotten that buyers must always beware.
“It hastens my buy-out,” he claimed, “of your piece,
Because with two vineyards, our sales will increase.”
The girls wouldn’t nibble: Six million, in fact?
Was too much, far too much, to keep things intact.
And without their consent, the deal couldn’t stand.
Cap*Rock was up Shit Creek; no paddle or oar,
They sold out for less: They couldn’t get more.
Two million in fact, with point five at the end,
Was all Cap*Rock’s buyer was willing to spend.
The lesson, of course, in due diligence talks:
‘Cash does the speaking while you-know-what walks’.
Prestige that had seen our Gruet stay afloat,
Had slipped through a sizeable leak in the boat.
What’s worse than a promise conclusively rotten?
The fact that in Lubbock, it wasn’t forgotten.
The interests of justice in bankruptcy court,
Decided that Laurent’s excuse to abort,
And good faith assurance of payments he’d send,
However repulsive, would not be the end.
Cap*Rock had been righteous in blessing the pact,
And that was worth something: Four million, in fact.
The judge ordered Laurent, and Laurent alone,
To cough up four million, and thereby atone.
You don’t screw with Texans the Frenchman soon found.
They couldn’t care less what you grow in the ground.
They couldn’t care less if your name is Gruet,
Or for that matter if your name’s J.F.K.
A bug up their rump is a capital crime,
So Gruet will pay up, or by God, serve the time.
Will the winery make it? We can only pray yes.
Without it the wine world will be something less.
* Personal note to Mr. G. from Dr. S.:
Today you are you,
That is truer than true,
There’s no one alive,
Who wants to be you. Not even you.