Scandal after Sommelier Creates Fake Blog in Retaliation for Bad Yelp Review
Talk about a drama filled mess. An internationally known sommelier decided to take matters into his own hands after receiving a bad review on Yelp and now it looks like the dispute will be settled in court.
Cecelia Groark gave Chicago area wine appreciation company Bottled Grapes a bad review on the popular review site.
Groark claims that the company’s owner, Krunch Kretschmar, started a blog accusing her of embezzling from her employer, using drugs and taking part “in the oldest profession” in retaliation for the bad review.
According to the lawsuit filed by Groark in Cook County Circuit Court, the online battle started after she signed up for a Groupon deal. She says on the day of the class she emailed Kretschmar asking where the class will be held and he replied that her seat was given up because she didn’t reply to a previous email.
Groark took her frustration to Yelp, writing a one star review citing how her seat was given up:
I bought a Groupon and registered for a class. On the day of the class I rechecked the website to see if anything further was posted because I still had not seen the address where the class was being held. I emailed Krunch asking if he could please pass the address along. He called me letting me know that he had emailed out a few weeks prior an email asking to send in the voucher number and confirm your seat. I never received the email nor a courtesy call to confirm that I was attending, he just gave my seat away. I’m very unhappy with the customer service and like everyone else – it’s very hard to even schedule a class as they are always “sold out.” I’m extremely frustrated and would not recommend anyone buy this in the future.
Also, I recommend as soon as you sign up, email him your voucher number and confirm that you are attending the class. He doesn’t have that written anywhere, but otherwise he may give away your seat.
In not so flattering terms, Kretschmar replied:
Cecelia, You and your friend Kevin were sent emails 9 days prior to the class, Anyone who did not respond was sent a 2nd Notice the last day BEFORE the seat were open.
Everyone who signed up for the class Was sent this and 90% filled them out and sent it back. Sorry you feel you are “Above” the rest. You seem to have no problem corresponding with me thru the exact same email address.
Which only shows your Character.
Here is a copy of what was sent:
Are you attending?:
Your Guest Name:
that was it!! REPLY and you were set: BUT YOU NEVER DID!!!
This is so we can have a full class, TOO MANY Groupon and Living Social people register, then NEVER SHOW UP, which then they want to re-sign up for another class. Now you may not Have been able to get to the Library to use the Computer and I’m sorry for that . But I send out that email so that I do not waste $$$ on things for guest who never show up.
SO GROW UP.
Just take responsibility for your lack of consideration for me and the Others who follow the directions, You could have signed up for another class, But instead you decided to Blast me on YELP.
Sorry you felt that way, But it is better because these classes are for ADULTS ONLY and you clearly have shown your not one.
The lawsuit claims Kretschmar established a blog in Groark’s name posting “Cecelia[’s] troubles began when she started Embezzling from her last employer to support her drug addiction. While her treatment in the Cook County jail did little to help her, she is continuing to fight her demons everyday. Now turning to the oldest profession to gain the funds need[ed] to support her habits, she is now trying to turn a new leaf. We wish her well.”
He then allegedly e-mailed the link to her stating, “Now every time a company for a job or someone searches YOU on Google they will read my side of the story.”
Groark is seeking more than $650,000 in damages for defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Kretschmar’s company, Bottled Grapes, sports a two star review on Yelp (to be fair he has been Yelped bombed by a bunch of eliters). Among the reviews:
if you want to get ripped off, shop here. if you like low class two bit charlatans, this is your place.
I saw many roaches scurrying around the store when I went in. The owner looked disheveled, maybe he was out drinking all night the night before, I am not sure. He was rude, loud and clearly needs to take an anger management course and maybe enroll in AA. If he was trying to win the biggest sleaze award, he is right up there with raw sewage and santorum.
Christ, what an asshole.
The class was horrible. I still can’t get the smell out of my clothes, so I had to burn them. As I was leaving, Krunk tried to steal my wallet. He did this under the guise that it is tradition in his classes for men to hug, and give each other a pat on the ass goodbye. Before I knew it, my back pocket was a lot lighter. He also made many sexual advances toward me while teaching. This man is a total creep!
Kretschmar has been replying to the bad reviews, providing some insight into a desperate man trying to stop his business from going down the toilet.
Krunch sounds like a complete moron and fraud… Just stop talking… you’re only making yourself look like an even bigger fool.
You are the Perfect example, you gave a 1 star to a company that you never visited, tried or even had contact with. This is your First time Yelping, welcome to the Band wagon. Yelp claims to be a “OPEN REVIEW’ site, yet you have never step foot in to this establishment and they allow you to cast a review.
He’s even accused of serving Ritz crackers and cheese:
That aside, the class was just odd. Our food/wine pairing consisted of cheap store bought pasta served on paper plates accompanied by four wine selections. For an app, he served us orange and yellow cheese w/ Ritz crackers. He answered some questions and mostly talked about himself and his “credentials”.
As for your comment: “For an app, he served us orange and yellow cheese w/ Ritz crackers.” Had you had ANY commonsense, you would have known (As the other 38 people did, and as explained) they were to Munch on while I talked. I understand a lot of people came strait from work to the class, and would like something to munch on while I talk about the class and yes Myself.
I DO NOT have to do that, I do it because I want to make everyone comfortable, The Grapes and the Crackers were to Munch on, NOT PART OF THE PAIRING. I did not know I needed to place a sign there to point this out, but I guess with people like yourself I must, Now I understand why coffee cups have the “Warning: This beverage may be Hot”. ODD just ODD
In an interview with the Chicago Sun Times Kretschmar admitted to creating the blog.
“I basically set up a blog, but if you click on it there’s nothing there now,” he is quoted as saying.
The paper asked whether he ever posted the inflammatory comments about Groark. He replied: “No, to my knowledge that was never up there. The only time I saw it [the blog post] was when the lawyer sent me a note, telling me to remove it.”