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Do Your Due Diligence Before Buying Wine From A Guy Named "Krunch"

By Chuck Sudo in News on Jan 18, 2012 10:45PM

2012_1_18_krunch_small.jpg Last week the Sun-Times ran an article about a woman who filed a lawsuit against a local sommelier she claims responded to her negative Yelp! review about his food and wine pairing class by starting a blog with the intent to defame her.

Cecilia Groark bought a Groupon for the class at Bottled Grapes (3332 W. Foster Ave.). Krunch Kretschmar, Bottled Grape's owner, has a bio that reads like a superman, if not an overachiever.

He attended Florida State University on a sports scholarship and graduated with a degree in Economics with a minor in Electro/Mechanical Engineering. In 1993, Mr. Kretschmar received a doctorate in Economics from Harvard Business School. Upon graduation, he became Vice President of Abrupp - the private pension and investment association in Sao Paulo, Brazil. In 2000, Mr. Kretschmar moved to France and studied wine under the world-famous Rothschild family. It was here where he earned the title "International Grand Confrerie Sommelier." There are only 24 such sommelier's in the world. They serve world leaders, heads of state and Fortune 100 members. Mr. Kretschmar's extensive travels have taken him through the major wine regions of Europe, California and the world. He brings a seasoned knowledge of fine wines with more than 12 years of tasting, traveling, recommending, buying and collecting various vintages. He has studied wine with numerous merchants, professional wine reviewers and has earned the trust and respect of many of the finest wine producing houses in the world. Mr. Kretschmar also heads up KWF, a private, wine investment fund. Krunch's expertise also been tapped by many liquor distributors such as Stoller, Enye, Wine-O-Rama, and Wonderful Ethnic just to name a few.

Groark emailed Kretschmar on the day of the class for the location. Kretschmar replied that he hadn't heard back from a previous email he sent Groark, so he gave her seat away. Cue Groark's negative Yelp! review.

"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."

Kretschmar replied to Groark's review, and was liberal with the all caps.

"Here is a copy of what was sent: "Are you attending?: "Your Name: "Your Guest Name: "Voucher #:

"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. But I send out that email so that I do not waste $$$ on things for guest who never show up.

"You could have signed up for another class, But instead you decided to Blast me on YELP."

Gorark's lawsuit claims that Krestchmar set up a blog the next day which read, “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 also supposedly sent her an email that, in short, read, "Nobody fucks with the Krunch."

“Now every time a company for a job or someone searches YOU on Google they will read my side of the story.”

Kretschmar told the Sun-Times he set up a blog with a Blogger account, but nothing was there. The Sun-Times checked his Blogger profile and found a link to a blog titled "Cecelia Groark," which was later deleted. He also denied making the inflammatory charges.

Here's where things get fun. Yelp!-ers have been having fun with Kretschmar's apparent and alleged overreaction. They've scoured the internet and found alleged instances of Kretschmar not paying vendors and ripping customers off, among other speculation.

Our favorite part of the thread was this Youtube video where Kretschmar received an OperaGram.