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.

    There is More to Discuss

Silicon Valley Bank will be releasing it's 12th Annual DTC Survey Results: Report, and Benchmarks on Wednesday, August 16th at 9:00AM PDT. That report release will take place live via a Zoom webcast. 

RSVP today to receive priority access to the links to the live event, the 2023 Direct-to-Consumer Wine Survey Report, and the on-demand event replay. 
This year's panel will feature: 
  • Rob McMillan – EVP & Founder, Silicon Valley Bank Wine Division
  • Jessica Kogan – Chief Growth and Experience Officer at Vintage Wine Estates  
  • Andrew Walleck – Chief Operating Officer at Wine Access, Inc.
  • Susan DeMatei – President/Founder of WineGlass Marketing
REGISTER TODAY to join us for this highly anticipated virtual gathering.

Sign Up

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! 

Sunday, April 30, 2023

What Ended Up Happening to SVB's Wine Division?


Photo by Maksym Kaharlytskyi on Unsplash

During the SVB meltdown last month, I wrote each of the first three weeks regarding the ordeal we were experiencing to keep interested parties apprised. There was a lot going on, and an infinite number of possible outcomes for the Wine Division. There was no assurance that the thought leadership we provide the industry would continue.

When the FDIC owns you, they don't ask what you want. We could have been sold to one of the largest banks, in which case we would have been absorbed and lost our flexibility and identity. It was possible we could have been split up and sold by divisions, or if there was insufficient interest, they could have sold off loans one at a time. None of those possibilities took place. What ended up happening to SVBs Wine Division?

I wrote the last post a month ago, right after the bank was purchased by First Citizens Bank where I said: 
"From everything we are seeing at this early stage, we're starting to believe we've somehow landed in the best outcome imaginable for our clients, employees and our community." 

Thursday, March 30, 2023

The Eulogy for the SVB Wine Division

    I'm not dead yet!

Fear of the unknown is a real thing. I think it's a self-protection response. Fear puts all of your senses on high alert as if a threat were imminent. In that state, and with an absence of real information, you theorize what's happening, then make up your own story of what you would do if one of the many permutations you imagine came to pass.

When the FDIC took over the bank almost three weeks ago, everyone imagined or feared the worst. It was the unknown in all its glory. 

This has been uncharted territory for all of us - client and employees alike. How many have experienced a run on a bank? If you operate a business, what are you supposed to do to develop a plan? Google, where all truth is located, had "bank run" trending. There's your answer.

Sunday, March 19, 2023

Living in two worlds


MORPHEUS:  You take the blue pill... the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe.  You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.

After decades in banking, I thought I'd seen everything. But last week, with a jolt to my system, I was unfortunately proven wrong. This would turn out to be one of the worst weeks in my life. I kept thinking I must be dreaming this!

Saturday, March 11, 2023

Silicon Valley Bank: What comes next?


For those who've read this blog before, you may notice the headline slide has changed from SVB on Wine, to Rob McMillan on Wine. I know I don't need to explain that change. 

This is a horrible message for me to have to write. I was asked to stay silent the past few days by SVB but now that the die is cast, I thought I should sit down and share what I know.

To start, my employer formerly known as Silicon Valley Bank, no longer exists. I'm still processing the whole thing as are most people associated with the bank. 

On Friday morning, clients, employees, bank suppliers and shareholders all awoke to the same news: SVB has been taken over by the FDIC. For everyone involved, there is a range of emotions to process; fear, anxiety, anger and so much more. I'm personally cycling through all of the same emotions.

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

The 2023 SVB Annual State of the Industry Report will be released January 18th

 Register here for the videocast, replay, presentation deck, and copy of this year's report.

Within the 2022 SVB State of the Wine Industry Survey run last October, we asked how 2022 went and got the following response. (See headline slide) 

Forty-percent of respondents said that the year was one of their better years or their best year ever. Fully sixty-five percent said it was a good year, and those results are very close to those from 2019 when we asked the same question.