Sunday, October 1, 2023

I Need Your Help with the 2024 State of the Industry Survey

It's been quite a roller coaster ride over the past six months. The banking industry has undergone many changes; my bank was no exception. Given our specific challenges, I didn't think this day would come again. So, I'm happy to report that we are today launching the 23rd annual State of the Wine Industry Survey. It is open now through October 22.

The survey this year has been streamlined and shortened. Given the current state of the business, I eliminated several less relevant questions and added a section on data management from which I hope to get a baseline of where we are in our data management and use practices. From the new questions, my goal is to compile a collection of helpful resources that survey participants can utilize to help navigate the current lull in consumption.

Sunday, August 20, 2023

2023 SVB DTC Video Replay, and DTC Report

The 2023 Videocast is in the books, and what a performance from some of the smartest people in the business who do DTC all day, everyday. Thank you! 

What a remarkable collection of talent. 

Each panelist shared openly about their views, offering incredible insights and ideas to help the industry and your winery move into the next decade of the business. Some of the highlights:

Sunday, August 6, 2023

Sign Up for the 2023 SVB Direct to Consumer Report Release & Videocast

    Much better than some might think!

Wineries selling in the premium and direct to consumer sector have experienced positive outcomes. Looking back over the past three years: 
  • 2020 was the toughest year for direct sales in the last ten years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The closure of tasting rooms and restaurants made it difficult to sell premium wine. I'm glad we're past that whole mess! 
  • 2021 was a huge rebound year for wineries selling direct. The rollout of vaccinations, reopening, and the early stages of travel normalization improved the market opportunity. Hospitality as a whole had a very good 2021 as you probably noticed with hotel prices soaring during the year.
  • Compared to the best year of the decade, 2022 may not have been as good, but for those who sell DTC, business was still quite successful. By the end of 2022, the Peer Group Financial Database of Silicon Valley Bank reported that the premium segment had a sales growth of 13.8%, and three-quarters of wineries in that segment saw an increase in revenue.
  • Narrowing down to the DTC channel, tasting room purchases increased in most wine regions. The wine club also accounted for a larger portion of sales for the average winery. Additionally, wineries producing under 5,000 cases reported that their direct-to-consumer sales continued to grow and now make up 81% of total sales. The average bottle price also saw growth, and most regions reported an increase in volume. This is especially noteworthy for the west coast, which experienced three consecutive years of light red wine yields.


Saturday, June 17, 2023

What's the next business issue facing the wine industry?

Rabbit Island Sunset, Hawaii

I enjoy looking at vacation photos, especially now that COVID is no longer a problem. I’m presently taking a much-needed vacation where I’m spending time admiring the stunning Waimanalo sunsets on the island of Oahu. While I don't post many pictures on social media when I travel to Hawaii, or on cruise vacations I do enjoy learning about the history of an area and sharing it.

As I sit here with my curious green friend, gazing at Rabbit Island in the distance, my thoughts turn to the US Wine Business and its future. Some might find this a strange topic to ponder while relaxing in Hawaii and I would unfortunately have to agree. But this is what I enjoy.

Many people believe that the wine industry is cyclical, and while true particularly in grape growing, there are also distinct periods in the industry that are characterized by unique events that don’t repeat themselves and shape the industry. Those eras typically last from seven to 10-years.


Thursday, May 25, 2023

Layoffs in Wine Country

Following the takeover of Silicon Valley Bank by the FDIC on March 10th, I found myself needing to take a break from watching the news for several weeks. Our company had become the main subject of every news outlet, and unfortunately, it was for all the wrong reasons. The constant coverage of the "ugly news" was difficult and painful to endure. The experience only added to the already stressful situation for both employees and clients.

Now that things are back to normal in the wine division, we're happy to get a break from all the ugly news updates. It is starting to feel like we're settling into a new routine, but nothing lasts forever.

Sunday, May 14, 2023

Will there be a Silicon Valley Bank DTC Report this year? It's looking doubtful.

Without greater participation this last week, there will be no SVB Direct to Consumer Report produced this year.

It's always difficult to get survey participants. This year the effort had a higher degree of difficulty because the bank failed. I'm sure you heard that news. 

Three weeks later though, we were purchased by First Citizens Bank, and we are today operating as Silicon Valley Bank, a division of First Citizens Bank. 

During that dark period when we were being run by the FDIC, we literally had hundreds of people encouraging us to find a way to continue producing the gratis information we've done for more than 20 years. Because of that encouragement, with the ownership question behind, we decided to produce the Direct to Consumer survey and report, a month later than usual. It was the industry encouragement that was the deciding factor. 

Sunday, May 7, 2023

The SVB 2023 Direct to Consumer Wine Survey is Open!

For those following closely, you will notice that I've changed the headline slide back from Rob McMillan on Wine, to the prior blog title of, SVB on Wine.

For most, hopefully it's obvious why I've done that. But for those who haven't followed the rollercoaster, SVB was taken over by the FDIC on March 10th. That was the end of the old SVB. 

But after a couple failed auctions, most of the legacy bank's assets were sold to First Citizens Bank, who decided to run the acquired bank as a division, and retain the name of Silicon Valley Bank. So we died and have been reborn!