Broadly speaking, agriculture, in general, has suffered from a shortage of labor as far back as World War II. Mid-Atlantic Solutions, Inc. has been providing assistance to a handful of East Coast vintners since the late 1990s using the Federal government’s H2-A visa program. The H-2A program is rooted in the Braceros program of WWII when approximately two million agricultural workers were brought in from Mexico to replace Americans who left the farms and fields to take up arms. At the end of the war, many men did not come back, and many of those who did return sought work outside of agriculture. As a result, foreign workers have been part of the agricultural workforce to a greater or lesser […]
Irrigating Fruit Caps: A Clean and Green Solution
When Rodney Strong Vineyards built its new 10,500-square-foot fermentation facility in Healdsburg, CA, USA to accommodate premium grapes from their Cooley Ranch Vineyard, each detail was precisely planned. All equipment was carefully engineered or researched before purchase to assure the most efficient operations and optimum product handling possible. Among the critical components required were pumps for the important “pumping over” function of irrigating the fruit cap at the top of the fermentation tank. To evaluate available pump technologies and manufacturers, Rodney Strong conducted exhaustive research and testing. As a result, optimum pump and diaphragm technologies were successfully identified and implemented, yielding a balance of energy efficiency, reduced maintenance, ease of use, cleanability, reliability and gentle handling the product for optimum […]
Image is Everything
There are nearly 9,000 wineries in the United States, according to the most recent information available on registered wineries. These facts surely make for steep competition in the industry. Every winery must be on their “A” game and this means watching over the small things that go on with your winery, to protect the huge financial, emotional, and sweat equity investments. You need to be sure that your patrons feel welcomed each time they call or visit your winery. Customer Care I recently made a phone call to a winery and asked to speak with the owner. A man replied “He isn’t here Monday through Thursday.” The unidentified man might have told me the days of the week that the […]
What is Your #1 Goal for 2017?
Email databases naturally decay around 22% every year*. So, if you only focus on your existing database, your sales are going to decrease. It’s simple math. You can feature the same great offers, and see the same conversion rates, but you will get fewer sales this year, than you did last year. This will not change, either. With email addresses widely available for free, and people staying in jobs for only 3-4 years** we all swap email addresses often. So, this decay is only going to increase with our technology-enabled “immediate gratification” lifestyle. FACT: Your list is going to get smaller every year if you don’t generate enough new leads to make up for this loss. Unless you are refreshing […]
Channing Daughters Winery: Managing e-Commerce with Software Innovation
In today’s highly competitive business environment, many wineries are adding online stores to their web sites to generate additional sales. Managing these sales, however, can present unique challenges in tracking, billing and recording information from multiple sources of revenue. For one winery — Channing Daughters Winery of Bridgehampton, NY — the answer to these challenges was an innovative software solution put together by Microworks, a pioneer in winery management software, and Nexternal, an e-commerce division of HighJump, a global leader in supply chain software. Channing Daughters had been working with Microworks’ wine club management and point of sale software for 12 years when they made the decision to add an online store to their website. “Our wines were excellent, we […]
Why is Winery PR so difficult?
5 Tips for a successful Media Outreach Campaign It’s difficult, because it’s about relationships. And reading. Yes, lots of reading. And research, planning, tracking, analysis and follow-up. The fun stuff, right? And things change. Just when you think you have good contacts, well planned schedules and best known methods things change – people retire and writers move on, wine columns are canceled; writers get hired to work for savvy wineries that understand the importance of professional writing and content development. And I’m just talking about my job as a winery publicist! What about the small family-run wineries that face the challenges of growing, producing, wholesaling and DTC marketing their wines, and with limited resources? Here are five best practice areas […]
Wineries Reinvent Tastings as Experiences!
Standing in a simple tasting room debating whether to splurge on a $5 reserve tasting and souvenir wine glass is so 1990s. Wineries now offer farm-to-fork seasonal wine and food pairing, visually unique rooms with pool tables and vintage pinball machines, even zip-lining over the vineyard. The T-word has been replaced by the E-word as wineries supplement conventional wine “tastings” with wine “experiences”. The Grapevine Magazine interviewed three wineries from both coasts about their innovations in tastings, and we start in the heart of Napa Valley. Hands-On Education at Sequoia Grove Sequoia Grove, best known for Rutherford appellation cabernet sauvignon, is a self-described “gem hidden among the giants.” You can see that description come to life as you enter the […]
Starting a New Winery?
Top Ten Questions You Should Ask A sunset over acres of vines, while enjoying a glass of your own rosé. Early morning strolls through rows of grapes. Anyone planning to enter the wine industry has dreams and visions like these. However, parallel to these glorious dreams comes a lot of hard work—and, importantly, legal compliance. Starting any new business can be overwhelming, and taking the leap to start a winery is certainly no exception. The details can be overwhelming and a newcomer can often lose sight of the larger picture. This article aims to review ten of the legal or compliance steps all new winery businesses should consider when starting out. And for those already producing wine, the below may […]
The Vineyard Labor Crisis
Part I – Factors Contributing to the Worker Shortage Having enough help in the vineyard is the hottest topic for owners and managers in 2016, according to the results of the Vineyard Economics Survey conducted by the Wine Industry Symposium Group. Over half of survey respondents said labor was their top concern, followed by pests, water availability, and the political impact of the upcoming presidential election. There is good reason for concern. Overall in the U.S., a shortage of people to tend the fields is reducing fruit and vegetable production by 9.5%, or $3.1 billion, a year, according to a recently published analysis of government data by the Partnership for a New American Economy, a nonpartisan group that supports a […]
Where to Find Grant Funding for Vineyards & Wineries
When most people think about applying for grants, charities and nonprofit organizations come to mind. However, there are grants available in many other industries as well, including ones for wineries and vineyards. It’s no secret that the grape and wine industry contributes billions of dollars to the U.S. economy each year. For this reason, the federal and state governments have created grants and incentives to encourage economic growth across the country. Grants help small and mid-sized wine businesses develop export markets, promote tourism, protect the environment, and ease financial pressure due to rising expenses. Types of Grants Available Depending on where your vineyard and winery operate, there are different types of grants offered in specific regions. Here are some of […]