Saturday, May 31, 2014

What Will The Wine Business Be in 20 Years?

Its been pretty amazing to see the changes in the wine business in the past 20 or so years. The ways in which the business is different today would make today's business unrecognizable to someone pulling a Rip Van Winkle and waking to see what the business has become. No longer the pioneering slow-moving cottage industry, today the business is moving forward at an ever quickening pace.
One thing that was unimaginable even a decade ago would have been 'for sale' signs on a winery. Today its not that uncommon to find real estate professionals handling smaller winery and estate transactions, or straight vineyard sales. Similarly, a decade ago there wasn't much in the way of dedicated M&A advisors handling winery transactions. Silicon Valley Bank made an early attempt at it but couldn't really make it into a business. Today depending on how you count, there are between 3 - 5 dedicated practices selling winery properties. Makes you wonder where the business will be twenty years from now?

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

2014 Secrets of A Successful Tasting Room

Over the last couple of months we've discussed some of the results from the SVB/WBM tasting room survey. There have been some fascinating discoveries and the ensuing discussion has been equally rich and enlightening. Wine Business Monthly published an article in the May Edition of their publication discussing some of the findings.
To finish that up, On May 15th we presented a live video telecast from the SVB Studios in Santa Clara California discussing findings of the survey. To improve the dialogue and give it added color, in addition to me and Cyril Penn, Sr. Editor of Wine Business Monthly, we also included two front line people: Mary Jo "M.J." Dale, VP of Marketing and Consumer Sales at Crimson Wine Group, along with Lesley Berglund, Co-Founder and Chairwoman of WISE Academy.
While biased, I think you'll agree the added content of the live video chat presented a wealth of current information and advice for the direct wine business. If you're interested, a reply of that event is available by pressing play in the above widow.
There we're a lot of questions from the 650 people who tuned into the event. The chat also contained a lot of exchanges between people who attended the live event. As is common in the wine business, there was a lot of winery helping winery. The full version of that chat can be found [here].
As promised, the panel took on many of those questions in the following redacted transcript. We hope you find the Replay, Tasting Room Slide deck, and the follow up questions below helpful in developing your own club and direct programs.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Supply 2014: Is it Too Much or Not Enough?

This is the time of year when we all hold our breath. In California, some vines are flowering and some are about to. We are mostly out of from the threat of frost but not entirely, and clearly we are not out of a threat from rain in this era of seemingly increasingly unpredictable weather patterns. Nobody likes to see their crop impaired or ruined but this is a year in a macro way, we really wouldn't mind seeing a reduced crop load, as long as it doesn't come in our own vineyard holdings. It depends who you read these days in getting a read on the grape markets.