If you have several business publications in any news aggregation app, you have seen an unending stream of articles that list the 5, 10, or 15 steps to “becoming a successful entrepreneur." If you read all these articles and try to analyze the various “qualifications” you need to be a successful entrepreneur, you will run out of time to become one.Read More
When you make and/or sell wine for a living, you accept the fact that you most likely will need to submit your products to wine publications, competitions, newspapers and bloggers for review. You don’t have to submit your wines to these entities. There is no statutory law that says you have to submit your wines for review. There is a much larger law at work…the LAW OF THE MARKET.Read More
Wine and Food are forever linked together. The evolution of the food culture has evolved hand in hand with the evolution of the wine culture in the United States.Read More
The college football world has the Championship Bowl Series. The wine industry has its’ version of this matchup, UC Davis vs. Fresno State. These two California state public colleges have produced most of the winemakers in the United States. If you are not from California you are probably not familiar with the distinction between the UC colleges and State colleges.Read More
I have been an observer and participant in the change of the retail landscape in America for over 35 years. As a CPA in the 80’s, I saw the explosion of specialty retailers. I worked for Touche Ross, once the premier CPA firm for retailers. I saw the beginnings of many power house retailers of the 80’s and 90’s that transformed where and how we shop today (a little thing called the inter-web has changed it again and will continue to change it).Read More
There is nothing that scares me more about shopping in a wine store than the “German Wine” section. I am your average American wine consumer. I am used to seeing simple wine labels with images of animals, vineyards, people, art, etc. on domestic wine, with simple varietal information and maybe some regional information included on the label. German wine labels take a different approach…
I don’t speak German, but holy moly that’s a lot of words on a label. I feel like they are commanding me to buy the wine. I usually run out of the German wine section as quickly as possible due to the feeling of inferior wine knowledge.
Behind the wine and the labels is the German wine structure:
No, it’s not a new entry in the periodic table or plans to build a weapon of mass destruction. It’s a diagram to help understand German wine. Yikes. No wonder the labels are scary.
Germans never seem to do anything the easy way. I know, I’m German. My maternal Grandmother (Meta Goetz…now that’s German) and all our relatives of that generation spoke German more often with each other than English, so I got a good dose of German-ish culture growing up. I also got a close up view of the German mentality. Most of my uncles were farmers in the midwest. You have to be a physically and mentally tough person to succeed at that life. When I think about the family characters I have met throughout the years and taken my own behaviors into account, it’s not surprising to see why German growers decided to plant vineyards (yes, yes I know the Romans started it, but Germans took it to a ridiculous level) on the side of a steep hill. Leave it to Germans to figure out the hardest place to put a vineyard.
I mean, honestly, who puts a vineyard on the side of a steep river bank? Who else? Germans. Like all things German, the vineyards are very precise. I have only walked through a few of these riverside bank vineyards, but I can tell you they are as steep as they look in the picture. I am sure they are difficult to pick. Just the way the Germans like it.
Someday I will conquer my fear of German wine and not embarrass my German relatives. So to all the Goetz, Dittmer, Fuchs and Meinike family members out there, I apologize.
For right now, I’ll stick to the domestic wine isle and hope Meta Goetz isn’t looking down at me with disdain!
For the past 10-15 years anyone who sells consumer products has talked about the Millennials. My three sons are part of this huge demographic group that represents the spawn of the Baby Boomer generation. Now this Millennial generation is coming of “consumption” age. Generally they are doing it later than my generation did. They stay in school longer, marry later and start having kids in their 30’s. To date, Millennials are a mysterious group when it comes to consumption.Read More
The nerve center of every company I have ever been involved with is the accounts payable department. You probably would have expected Sales, Marketing, Merchandising, Human Resources, etc... Your last choice was probably the lowly accounts payable department. I mean, all they do is push paper and pay bills, right?Read More
Working in a Company is sometimes like being in a family. There is a hierarchy in both families (or at least there was in the 60’s and 70’s when I grew up) and companies, you have peers which can be like having siblings and you have to tolerate personal idiosyncrasies of siblings and coworkers. However, there is a huge difference…you can get fired from your company. To the best of my knowledge you can’t get fired from your family.Read More
Most of the wine sold in the U.S. is packaged in 750ml bottles with a cork closure. I would give an exact percentage, but once again Finn the black lab, my fact checker, is taking a nap (Finn is awake about 2 hours a day). Just take my word for it based on traveling around the country and spending an inordinate amount of time in retail stores selling wine. There are plenty of other alternative packaging offerings in stores.Read More
Disclaimer: this rant will only be meaningful to industry insiders. However, it’s one of the best examples of why selling wine in the United States is one of the strangest, most archaic, socially awkward, humiliating and straight up funny experiences anyone can have while trying to build a wine brand.Read More
Did you know there are over 8,000 wineries in the United States? If on average those wineries have two brands each, that’s 16,000 brands available in the market in one form or another.Read More
Have you ever been to a dinner at a restaurant and seen the terror in people’s eyes when the wine list comes to the table? You would have thought someone put the proverbial “elephant in the room” on the table the way people try to avoid having to pick up the list.Read More
First rule of Fight Club…..Don’t talk about Fight Club. If you remember the movie, you remember Edward Norton’s character slipping into madness and creating his own reality. It all starts because of his “single serving” life on the road as an insurance adjustor. Single serve soap, single serve coffee, single serve shampoo, etc., etc..Read More
My wife and I are very close friends with a couple we have known for 25 years. We were next door neighbors for 12 years when we were raising our kids from toddlers through high school. We have become in many respects closer than family over the years. We love them and we respect them. However, when it comes to the holidays……..they are another cog in my holiday nightmare.Read More
Whatever business I have been involved with, and God (and my long suffering wife) knows there have been many…CPA, woman’s apparel, consumer electronics, haircuts, candles, wine….all the successful ones had one thing in common. Each had a unique business proposition and a strategy. They offered something new or a new entree to the marketplace.Read More
If someone had told me 30 years ago I would be in the wine business, I would have had the classic headwhip and puzzled response, "are you talking to me?"Read More