Wednesday, November 26, 2008

An Economy In Crisis: This is the Best TIme to Start A Winery.

The other day a friend of mine questioned my sanity in light of the current global economic woes and my decision to establish a winery.

He called me 'crazy'.

I can understand this reaction. But it's a reaction built on emotion. An emotional response to stimuli that produces more questions than answers and creates fear of the unknown. It's a diet of information that suggests volatility and instability in institutions previously considered to be rock solid.

Emotion alters our judgement. Rational discourse and strategic planning are difficult when running around the room pulling out your hair.

What is happening right now sets the stage for years of growth. Predicting the period of growth may be difficult. Just when it will happen is tough to say. But when it comes around, a business and its' drivers must be prepared for growth. If you're still in damage control at that point (or even just afloat) your going to miss the ride.

So starting a business at the bottom of the economic cycle isn't such a bad thing. It's important to be prudent, maybe even frugal, and make sure you're scalable.

We're starting shoe-string and with such a small inventory that I'll be able to hand-sell it myself. In fact, that's part of the plan. And without a plan, how do you know if you've screwed up or not?

Bad time to start a winery? I don't think so. Bad time to have a winery with a bloated inventory, no viable marketing plan and enormous debt? I think so. In our own backyard here in the Okanagan Valley, I think we're going to see some consolidation. Some of the bad actors will either merge or be bought outright. There will be deals to be had. Prices haven't dropped too much yet but they will as too much value is being attached to non-existent good-will.

So, my friend, my state of mind is not one of questionable mental health. Sure, I'm crazy.

Crazy like a fox.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

First step: a limited company.

As we head down this winery project road, we feel our first step is to incorporate.

A limited company allows us some protection of personal assets and helps legitimize our status.
The company will also allow us to develop a wine brand exclusive of the company name. We feel the company name will allow us to further diversify our efforts, when the time comes, as we spinoff other ventures. Not everything we do in the wine world is directly linked to our wine brand. So we see the company as a kind of fiscal umbrella.

At this time we are examining different company structures and trying to establish what the best format will be for our project. As an example, we may be considering outside investment at some point and we want to be able to act on that option without creating an entirely new entity.

Up until now, we've been operating as a partnership.

There's lots to learn for newbies. We're always open to comments about what we're doing. If you've had a similar experience be sure to comment on how it went.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

New Wine Name, Different Wine Game

You may have noticed that this blog is no longer called Wine & Vine BC.
This reflects a couple of changes.
Number one is the fact that my wife and I are creating our own winery, wine brand and vineyard. We're going to use the blog to explain, promote and enrich our experience.

The other change was more subtle and slow and revealed itself over time. Despite my intentions, I was never really able to cover the wine scene in this province as the title would suggest I should have. It was a good idea but far beyond my available resources. Yes, a good idea and one I'll leave to another blogger who has the time and investment to get it right.

I hope my readers, those that have subscribed over the years and commented occasionally, will stay with me and enjoy the new angle. I'll still post as flippantly, glibly and erratically as ever.

In the meantime, please adjust your blog listings and other titles and pass the word.

Thanks for the support!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Wine Wordle

It's kind of small but it's my wordle.
Kind of fun.

Wine Brand Needs A Name

After many vintages gaining experience and working on other people's dreams, my wife and I are embarking on an exciting project.

We're creating our own wine brand. Ultimately, we will be establishing a winery operation here in the Okanagan and living out our own dream.

Meanwhile, we have an exquisite 2006 Pinot Noir with no label and no name that is ready for release in a very short time.

We've been tossing around a few ideas. The ones I like, she doesn't and vice versa. The veto is getting plenty of use.

We're inviting friends, family and the wine drinking public to offer up some ideas that we can use to identify our brand.

If it helps, here are a few items in point form about our lives together than may inspire or suggest something.

  • I grew up in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada

  • We met working in the bar business.

  • Our birthdays in April are only four days apart.

  • She grew up in a number of communties in the Canadian prairie provinces.

  • Our names arranged properly begin with A,B,C and D.

  • We both drive Toyotas

  • We married in a town called Russell, Bay of Islands, New Zealand.

  • We dislike animal names for wine or wineries, with some exceptions.

  • Our son has artwork that is being actively considered for label art. He's eight.

Of course, the winning suggestion or derivative of such will be rewarded.