Sheldon Haynie
February 25, 2013 | Sheldon Haynie

Gaining Scale and Perspective

Running a business is an education, the MBA courses don't really touch on how things happen, out in the "real world" or what passes for it in the wine industry. We've gone from managing our small estate of 0.25 acres planted in 2008 & 2010 to 22 acres in 6 additional vineyards in less than 3 yrs. To say this was unanticipated is a bit of an understatement.

And it all started with the neighbor's cows, who came to visit in the summer of 2010, leading us to their friends the Behlmer's who's vineyard is our Colombard source. Over the course of 2011 we managed their acre and our own, and towards the end of the year, picked up the Soli Deo Gloria (Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Sirah)  and Coop (unknown red and white)  vineyards. Early 2012 saw us adding Athena's vineyard for Cabernet Franc and more Merlot and the fall brought the Camparo Syrah acreage, adding up to ~15 acres.

Just a week ago, we shook hands to manage the Chirala Vineyard, a beautifully planted 7 acre plot of Rhone Varietals. This brings an additional 7 grapes to our sources, and looks to be a mutually beneficial arrangement that will add another label to the Santa Clara Valley AVA. To do this we are getting far beyond what Jane and I can handle on the weekends, and have started a payroll, and had our first interactions with labor contractors.

The 22 acres will be sufficient to supply us somewhere in the range of 75 tons of fruit, or about 3x what we crushed in 2012. Its not clear yet that we will grow fast enough to use all of that, of if we will divest some of the fruit in the next few years to augment cash flow.

This would be an interesting case study to throw to the professors back at WSBE, which has now evolved itself from the former Whittemore School to the Paul School.


Commenting has been turned off.