Let’s talk about money. In order for your agricultural and wine business to grow – sufficient funds are needed to take on projects, making purchases and expanding your operations to become more efficient and in turn make more money. It sounds so simple, right? Business owners, both small and large, often go to banks for financial assistance. While banks are one avenue for support, they are not the only establishment. I am here to share with you the most common types of financing you’ll come across and whom you can get them from. As commercial financing experts working in the industry for over 30 years, we would like to share with you the most common and beneficial financing programs out […]
The Most Common Types of Financing Available on the Market for your Business
Distributor Agreements: ‘Til Death Do Us Part?
Many early stage wineries market their products via tasting room sales, wine clubs, direct-to-consumer shipments and, to the extent permitted, self-distribution to local restaurants, grocery stores, and wine stores. Eventually, winery growth will necessitate working with a distributor, a relationship not to be entered into lightly. A distributor becomes an ambassador for the winery’s brand and, once retained, the supplier may have little control over how its wine is marketed. Further, these relationships can be difficult or financially impossible to break once established. Supplier/distributor relationships are governed by franchise laws in many states. In the absence of franchise laws, the relationship is defined entirely by a distribution agreement between the parties. But, even in franchise states, the distribution agreement can […]
Large Equipment Purchases Served With a Side of Alternative Payments
Shopping for Equipment and Spending Capital Smarter Today’s winery requires a large and varied amount of equipment to operate successfully. Like most business owners you are wearing 10 different hats, and doing 10 different jobs. So, when machinery breaks, a tank cracks, or the life has been squeezed out of that tractor for as many seasons as possible, the time has finally come to invest in new equipment. Purchasing equipment for a business is essential, yet the process is often convoluted and stressful. As a B2B service provider, our customers often come to us flustered and overwhelmed with the purchase decision process. While every business will have different priorities and circumstances when the time comes to acquire new equipment, how […]
H2-A Visa Program Offers Vintners Legal Options
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 […]