According the the latest round of wine industry symposiums speed and focus is the future. I would have to say I agree.
A little while back winebusiness.com published a brief, but great, article regarding the state of wine sales, distribution and how small wineries need to adjust to stay relevant. As you might imagine we took note but found ourselves in a comfortable position. While Britt gives me a hard time about my projections and always hashing out every single scenario in my head it does have a plus side (love you babe!). This habit of mine stemmed from one thought:
If you are always trying to play catchup you are always behind.
For us moving fast and turning on a dime is something that is easy. At 500 cases total production we have a ton of wiggle room to work with. Not being entirely tied down in the broader wholesale game has also help. We love seeing the wines out and about in the Napa Valley and a few states but we have held back the urge to push into every state. This was very VERY deliberate and has given us much more stability and peace of mind in the long run.
A big part of this is that we LOVE to meet everyone that has purchased our wines. Or at the very least jump on a phone call or email back and forth directly. This is a reason you can find my own cell phone and email on the label of each bottle. We want to be in touch and not just be any other wine. Being small and agile allows us to do that and with our tasting space that is opening up later this year it is going to be that much more important.
As far as the consolidation piece goes it can be scary for us small guys. It means we have to compete more and more with the big guns of the industry (that 10% of producers that make nearly 80% of the wine as the article states). Now more than ever there is a ton of white noise that you have to sort through to find the passion projects and the craft wine productions. Once you do find them though it is immensely rewarding and easy to find more. If there is one thing we do, outside of making killer wines, it is to try and support each other. This comes in the form of the collective tasting trips MTGA was a part of in June or providing another tasting recommendation to you.
For us it is all about the story and connecting with the people behind it. If that means we pay a few extra bucks per bottle so be it. We would much rather have that awesome memory to share.