November 2009 Archives

For many people, the day after Thanksgiving is a painful reminder of how little time is left before Christmas. Or, it's a day dedicated to frenetic shopping in order to save a few bucks and get a head start on Santa.  

Not for our CFO, Dru. Today, he's putting the final touches on the draft of our 2010 budget. To some degree, it's a wish list of things we'd like to do along with the basic costs of running the business. For example, shipping and freight expenses are a necessary evil. New barrels and a brochure are more discretionary, although in the case of the barrels, they're absolutely paramount to producing high quality wines whereas a brochure we can live without.  

In the past, the budget was built on projected revenues, which means projected sales. It was always pretty easy predicting next year's sales as they were based on the prior year's sales and available inventory. But this is a new era. The rules have changed. Logic and historical data are important but not entirely reliable. So we're employing the “Plan for the worst and hope for the best” approach.  Plan A is our perfect scenario. Plan B is like an audible in a football play adjustment. And Plan C…well I don't want to go there.

Next week we'll have the benefit of our sales team who will be out here for our national sales meetings. We've encouraged them to be brutally honest. Please don't tell us what you think we want to hear, tell us the truth. (Unless you don't like the sailboats on the labels in which case, I'd recommend an outright lie!)

Three days of meetings will be peppered with laughs, pats on the back and of course plenty of time for eating and drinking. Hopefully a few “lightbulbs” will go off that will inspire and motivate everyone for the coming year. But mostly, we'll be grateful for getting through one of the most challenging business climates in U.S. history. We'll thank our lucky stars that we're alive and kicking, with a full team of employees, planning for better times ahead.

Back to those post Thanksgiving reflections. It's not about how many days are left until Xmas. Or, how many helpings I should NOT have had yesterday. It's a time for showing gratitude and appreciation for the hardships our ancestors faced. For saying thanks to everyone who made a difference this past year at Dry Creek. And for thinking about our CFO, who's hard at work crunching the numbers.

In a word, thanks.

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Ahh, retail therapy.........................

Who doesn't like a good old fashioned sale? I know I do. The thrill of the hunt, the excitement of finding a new treasure or two and Event of the Season!the satisfaction of SAVINGS galore. Well if you like a good sale too, have we got a doozy for you! Starting November 20 and running through November 29, we're offering huge discounts on a variety of wines. And, to top it off, shipping is 50% off too. Check it out at

Better yet, come by our cellar on Sat. November 28th for our annual Holiday Celebration and see for yourself what all the fuss is about. Join us for some holiday cheer as you avoid the hassles and headaches of the mall. (There's a reason Black Friday is black!)  Deck the halls and toast the season in a relaxed stress free environment, while sipping your favorite glass of vino and noshing on yummy nibbles. 

Now that's retail therapy.

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Wine Widow. I had never heard the term until yesterday when a friend stopped me in the grocery store and asked if I was a “wine widow” these days. I abruptly asked, “huh?”

It's a fitting term and one that applies to hordes of winery personnel who are involved in the national sales and marketing of their products. Ever since the Great R (read: RECESSION) began, we've had to step up our presence in the marketplace. That's marketing speak for getting out there and working in a region to help physically sell the product. Distributors used to love this. Who wouldn't want the owner of Chateau Such and Such actually making sales calls, popping corks, and telling the romantic stories and features and benefits of their particular wine? And, as a general rule, market visits were viewed as a gracious and supportive gesture from the winery that distributors anxiously awaited.  (At DCV, we've spent decades doing this.)  

But it's different nowadays. Times are tough. And being a winery owner is not all that unusual anymore. What's different is the sheer volume of wine available and the reduced capacity of many accounts to increase wine sales with consumers spending less on dining out, etc. So, what's a struggling winery owner to do?

Buck up. Hit the highways and byways. Live out of a suitcase. Get aggressive. Devise special programs that mimic other industries. I'm still trying to figure out how we can offer a 60 day money back guarantee like GM's new campaign to spur auto sales.  (Somehow I don't think the ABC would like this.) We've had to employ some pretty bold tactics lately without jeopardizing our price/positioning. It has definitely been trying.

Which is why my friend asked if I was a “wine widow.” The Husband has been traveling nonstop with only a couple of days between trips. Usually we try to share this duty but because of the kids, he's been shouldering the brunt of it.

In between dragging a sample bag around and pitching the persnickety buyer, we did get to meet up for a business dinner at the home of one of our biggest customers. Sure it had a business purpose. But it also served as a brief re-connection during a very hectic time for us.

Thankfully it seems to be paying off. Sales through November have already surpassed last year. We had our biggest day of the year last Friday. And, the holidays are just around the corner. AND, EVERYONE KNOWS THAT'S A GREAT TIME TO DRINK DRY CREEK VINEYARD WINES, THE REGION'S PREMIER FAMILY OWNED WINERY.  

I told you I was getting aggressive!

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About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from November 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

October 2009 is the previous archive.

December 2009 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.


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