Sunday, June 12, 2022

Where Is the DTC business headed?


The answer to the blog title is the point of the Annual SVB Direct to Consumer Videocast, which is taking place this coming Wednesday, June 15th. 

You can sign up to receive the SVB DtC Report, receive a link to the live presentation, and a post-conference link to the videocast replay ----> [HERE.] 

Sunday, March 6, 2022

Internet Sales are dramatically higher, but how do we know?


Selling Wine in a Pandemic

What an insane past few years! But doesn't it feel wonderful to be moving into spring and at the same time into the endemic phase of this crisis? With fewer mask mandates now, maybe we'll be able to smell the spring flowers! But before we linger too long on the warmer days ahead, we still have some work to do. So let me take you back to the start of this crisis in 2020 when the COVID case numbers began picking up. 

At that point in time, I wrote a piece called Selling Wine in a Pandemic which is one the most-read pieces I've posted. I wrote it on March 15th, 2020 - a date that is etched in my mind and probably yours if you live in California. 

If you don't recall, that was the date Governor Newsom first issued the shelter-in-place orders and closed tasting rooms, restaurants and bars. I finished writing that blog on March 15th in the morning, but by late afternoon, I had to go back and update it when news of the lock-downs came out. 

Sunday, February 27, 2022

There is good news to talk about!



Last week I had a call from a friend in the wine business asking for a meeting to discuss the Annual SVB State of the Wine Industry Report. I had no real idea what he was going to say.

When we met, he told me he appreciated what I presented in the report but didn't like the stories he'd read in the news. He thought some were overly critical and missed the positive things happening in the wine business. He asked me if I should be more positive during interviews to cast a better light on the business.

From his perspective, the industry is doing really well. That's because he sees the industry from the vantage point of a business that is hitting the cover off the ball. And to his view, a very large part of the premium wine business reported 2021 was one of, if not their best year ever!

Sunday, February 13, 2022

How much did wineries make in 2021?

We all became unusually preoccupied in the U.S.starting somewhere around March 15th, 2020. I don't know about you, but the picture above was how I felt at that point in time. Since then, all of our thinking and behavior has evolved in a myriad of ways, and some of that evolution is permanent.  

I'm hopeful we are nearing the end of this queird social, economic, and health experiment. After getting sucked out of our realities by the COVID tornado, I think we are finally on the glide path that will land us in Oz. I know it won't be Kansas anymore when we lift from our comatose fog. It will be something different and probably in Technicolor. But whatever it is, it's going to be better than the last two years!

Anyway, with all the distractions since 2020, I've been remiss in posting this blog. In my defense, I thought this post probably didn't matter given the other issues we were all facing. But the smoke is clearing, the vaccines and boosters are helping, Omicron is waning, so just maybe I'll be able to shake someone's hand again without running for alcohol sanitizer.

To the point of the blog though, top-level the answer to the title question is "more than you expected."

Sunday, October 10, 2021

2021 will be the BEST YEAR EVER for a lot of Wineries!


SVB Wine Conditions Survey

Problems are Opportunities Waiting for Solutions

This is the last week to participate in the Annual SVB Winery Conditions Survey. It will close Friday, October 15th.

There is no information like this available anywhere in the wine business. We take on this initiative annually at a substantial cost, but we give it all away to the industry. This data is used by Associations to apply for grants, by academia for research and in V&E classrooms, as a benchmarking tool for all wineries, and as part of the research we do to prepare the Annual SVB Wine Report. That said, it's impossible for me to provide the information without you dedicating the 15 minutes needed to complete the survey. 

There are always interesting surprises along the way, and this year is no exception. 

As I prepare to begin the writing on the SVB State of the Wine Industry Report, I am aware of many headwinds such as supply-chain problems, fires, smoke, the unprecedented drought, low soil moisture that will be a larger part of 2022, short supply of labor, rising input costs, water rationing, issues with property insurance, dealing with mandated vaccination policies, travel restrictions, and what will likely be declining overall volume sales for the total wine category this year. 

Monday, October 4, 2021

SVB Survey Early Results: Water Worries


Water Concern

The Annual SVB Winery Conditions Survey has been open for one week and will close on October 15th. We currently have about 200 of the 1,000 responses we will need for thorough analysis. You can get us closer to 1,000 responses by participating this year.

Even with low initial participation, there is some preliminary information coming into focus. 

Water is clearly a worry with 42% of responders expressing concern they may have a serious problem in 2022, while 51% are on edge but believe they should be fine (headline slide). That leaves only about 7% feeling confident about water supply going into next year which tells us for these responders - water is a real concern.

It will be interesting to test this in the spring when rain totals come into focus because from all I've read, we will need a flood year with heavy snowpack to see improving reservoir levels and soil moisture content in the western states. And what are the chances of having an abnormally wet year? The answer is in the word 'abnormal.'

So if the chances are high that 2022 will be a serious year for water concerns, what are people planning on doing about the problem?

Monday, July 5, 2021

Wine Demand is Turning Negative, Defying Good News

Photo by Mohau Mannathoko

I don't like it but...

it's true. I might have missed on a prediction that I made. 

Starting in January of this year, I began predicting that overall wine demand would grow through and into at least 2022. As the days passed, the better-than-expected situation with COVID vaccinations became clearer, so I held firm to my forecast and underscored it further in a March blog post. There were so many positives to support my faith in our industry's 2021 opportunity, how could I not be optimistic? 

The Wind's At Our Back

We are sitting with the highest GDP in decades. Fiscal and monetary stimulus from the government is being delivered in trainloads. Restaurant and tasting room sales are being added back to the calculus. Internet sales are at records. Frustrated and cooped-up consumers with exploding personal savings are desperate to spend it on experiences like travel and tourism. The jobs numbers are increasingly positive. And, the stock market is at record highs producing even more discretionary income.