The wine industry is a very large and uniqe business. While many of us drink wine on a regular basis there are general questions of what we do to produce and sell it. We hope that this blog offers some insight on what we do on a weekly basis written by members of the family.
I am often asked how the craft beer market is affecting the wine business. It’s a good question. The craft beer market has exploded in recent years. What was initially a niche market has extended into a focal point for beer lovers. Stores and restaurants adorn their alcohol selection with craft beers from all over the country in various styles and flavors. The cases of Budweiser, Coors, and the occasional Sierra Nevada no longer dominate the market. While it is still customary to carry some of these well known mass market beers, people are demanding new exciting brews that are often big, hoppy, and high in alcohol. As a result, people are willing to pay a higher price.
It has always been a challenge to get “beer-only drinkers” to begin buying wine. A big part of this was because of price. But now, as craft beer prices climb to around $10 a bottle, the gap towards premium wine shrinks. I am reminded of a story I heard from the Franzia’s, who own Bronco Wine Company, where they received flak for producing Charles Shaw…or as you may know it, “two buck chuck”. Many people in the industry felt that the production of this wine cheapened the outlook of the industry, especially if other producers wanted their wine to be considered “luxury goods”. It wasn’t until years later that many vintners praised Franzia for what he had done; which was getting people to buy wine when they wouldn’t have otherwise because of the price.
Now, the beer industry has created a large social aspect which also benefits the wine industry. Brew pubs have become a hip place to drink, eat and play games. Many breweries have opened their doors to the public for beer tasting and feature food trucks, pizza ovens, and games such as corn hole or shuffle board. And some of these breweries offer a limited selection of wine to appeal to the few wino’s who join.
So, although craft beer has begun to play a bigger role in the alcohol industry, it also provides more opportunity for wine sales. Cheers to beer!....and wine of course.
In the wine business, there are three little letters with a big meaning: OND. Standing for October, November, December, it is a sales term that has become synonymous with the busiest time of the year. The last three months are when you expect businesses to make a big push to hit their end-of-year sales goals. While most businesses are affected in some way by the Holidays, the wine business goes into a special kind of frenzy as people begin to drink more.
As a producer, we also spend this time working distributor & trade shows. These allow retailers and restaurateurs to set their wine line-up for the holiday season. Every year, come October, we are busy traveling the country in pursuit of these wine placements. And as abruptly as our traveling begins, it ends. Mid October signals the start of the sales staff race as they begin calling on the accounts to secure wine placements for the remainder of the year.
With this increase in sales comes the need for an increase in inventory. Bottling is shut down during the harvest period, so with the end of Harvest comes the beginning of bottling. This means it is full speed ahead to finalize our wine blends. Just in the past few weeks we have put together the Dante Cabernet, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, our Annabella Red Blend, and the Matthew Joseph Cabernet and Chardonnay.
OND can be stressful, exhausting, and will quickly remind you that there is always something happening in the Wine Industry. Luckily, we’re always working with family and have the added benefit of loving what we do. We are thrilled with the wines we produced this OND and can’t wait to share them with our customers.