Wednesday, October 21, 2020

What is the Industry Reporting for 2020 Results? The SVB Survey Has Early Returns [Still Open]

While the unprecedented impacts of the Pandemic and wildfires have rightfully absorbed the attention of the media and industry participants, the basic marketplace challenges I've reported in the 2020 State of the Industry Report are still alive and confronting the industry.

Data and information has never been more important than today. Changes to consumer behavior emanating from shelter in place orders, a recession, and the ruination of restaurants in America among other factors, are creating new changes for wineries, and yes - new opportunities as well if you listen and plan.

The Twentieth Silicon Valley Bank Winery Conditions Survey presents a view of business conditions sorted by region, average bottle price, time in business, and other filters, all to give participants an accurate read of the current industry, and all gratis to participants. The Survey is drawing to a close next week. If you haven't yet participated in this study, I encourage you to do so. Only participants get the complete set of anonymized data and analysis back, at no cost to participants for an investment of 15 minutes of your time. 

PLEASE - will you personally support the wine industry by committing to participate this year? 

Monday, August 10, 2020

The Real Threat to Wine Sales is Being Ignored


While we've been fighting the Pandemic, another public policy battle surrounding health has been quietly fought in the shadows, the goal of which is to reduce or eliminate wine consumption by painting it as cancerous and unhealthy. This battle has been going on for a very long time, but the wine business hasn't responded or pushed back on the subject for 20 years.

Sunday, August 9, 2020

You Are at the Bottom and Looking for Inspiration

Inspiration is the substance of undiscovered strategies. It can come from almost anywhere if we stay positive and are open to it, but it's the fuel that ignites change.

This pandemic has put many people in the wine, travel, restaurant, and hospitality business on their heals or flat on their backs. 

Being in the cruise business might come to mind as being the worst place to be today, but at least cruise lines can raise money to survive. 

Perhaps the most difficult job today is owning a small travel agency as does my friend Michael Mastrocola at MillenniuM Travel, who many will know because he arranges annual cruises for a host of wineries. 

Monday, May 11, 2020

Signup: SVB State of the Industry - Special Edition

On March 23rd, eight days after we closed tasting rooms in California, I posted a blog about crisis management where I suggested for scenario planning, June 1st would be a good guess for reopening. So I was really excited to hear that this past week that we've started the conversation about reopening tasting rooms in California and along the west coast. Perhaps my educated guess might turn out closer to correct than I deserve?

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Post Lock-Down Opportunity for Wineries

The above chart from the USDA is a little cluttered, but the dotted lines show how US consumers have been moving from eating at home, and somewhere around 2011 shifted to eating away from home. Not earth-shattering observations that two-income families with complex schedules moved away from traditional family meals. But why should we care? We should care because an interesting thing has happened with wine demand in the last 7 weeks.

Monday, April 27, 2020

What is Normal in a Post COVID-19 World?

The Coronavirus Pandemic for the wine and restaurant industries has been like getting picked up in a tornado and dropped into the Wizzard of Oz movie but without the welcoming committees. It's been dizzying to see overall demand for wine improve, at the same time premium wineries are fighting for survival. 

Monday, March 23, 2020

Crisis Management for Wine Country

I'm not alone when I say that I've never been through anything like this and didn't see it coming. I had no way of imagining such a circumstance: a world-wide pandemic that closes down the US and World economies? While I've seen shelter-in-place orders for regional issues, it's beyond comprehension that this would ever take place in as many countries as we're seeing now, or in the entirety of the State of California and the growing list of other states and regions that have similar orders.

After the string of directives this past week from state, federal and local governments that pounded down our prior realities, I spent time surveying the wine industry landscape and talked to as many people as possible to gain a sense of where we stand. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Canceled: Annual SVB Direct to Consumer Survey

You probably recognize the photo up top of Times Square. I took it this afternoon from a webcam. You might never again see it this empty - or so that's my hope.

The Decision to Cancel

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Selling Wine in a Pandemic

There are times in life when we have to react to circumstances that are well outside of anything expected. A pandemic? Well, that's a circumstance with which none of us have any experience. That new aspect of our lives required us to adapt then employ behaviors that are out of the norm. For some, this is distracting, but for others, this is nothing less than debilitating.

Sunday, March 8, 2020

The Annual SVB Direct to Consumer Survey is Open

Improving and evolving your direct sales strategies, marketing, and sales will be the difference between success and struggling in the coming decade as the industry's consumer target evolves under our feet as, anti-alcohol groups push their agenda and competition from beer, spirits, and foreign wine intensify. We defend ourselves by using data and evolving or approach.

For instance, how does your tasting fee compare to your region? Are you enticing consumers or scaring them away with that? Are your tasting rooms sales growing like others in your area? What are the splits between club sales and tasting room sales and are they in-line with comps. There are so many other questions that deserve attention.

Shortcut for those looking for the links: Survey Questions  Take the Survey Now ... otherwise, let me convince you a little more.

Saturday, February 8, 2020

The Email You Don't Want to Get

I have a role that puts me in contact with winery owners, analysts, entrepreneurs and occasionally even people with checkmarks next to their Twitter accounts. They run the gamut. I get a couple hundred emails a day - most of them junk but more than enough to have me working 12 hour days to keep up. People are always asking my opinion, and on occasion, they want to give me their opinion.

This week I received an email from a casual acquaintance who is a wine consumer but likes to read the SVB State of the Industry Report and check in every year with me. This year his email was disturbing. Here is what he said almost verbatim. I've changed the region to 'wine country' to make it more general and added emphasis:

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Final Call: Sign up for the 2020 SVB Industry Videocast and Report

I finished writing the SVB Annual State of the Industry Report in early December. There are always surprises I discover when going through the research and writing. This year the surprise was the top slide. This slide is from the Annual Industry Survey and it answers a question everyone has: How is the industry feeling about the current market?

In the 2019 report last year, the overall industry sentiment turned barely negative with one percent of the industry on average turning pessimistic. That's news in and of itself in this most optimistic of businesses. But in the 2020 report which will be released this week, a whopping 46 percent of the industry turned pessimistic. Wow! Have conditions turned that bad that fast? 

I think you have to respect the data. But I also believe identifying the risks and threats allows us to best define solutions to fight back and in the videocast on Tuesday, we will talk about some solutions.

Hopefully, you want to hear how we see the industry this year - threats and opportunities. Signing up for the videocast will give you a replay link to watch later, an early link to the report and slides produced and used during the session. [sign up here