As we enter the 10th year since planting our first grapes, we have learned that there are a lot of things related to our business we have control over and a lot we don’t. The key is to effectively move forward those activities that we directly control, such as the winemaking process, and manage as best we can the agriculture process where many outside factors come into play. Our business is very different. Most businesses focus on one or two parts of the business cycle (e.g., resource/raw material development, manufacturing/production, distribution, sales). A cotton farmer grows cotton but does not make or sell the jeans. A steel firm makes steel but does not construct an office building. An estate winery like LDV does everything – from planting the vine, growing and harvesting the grapes, making and aging the wine, packaging and moving the wine, and finally selling it. Therefore, it is a complex and challenging business to manage to ensure success. No wonder we are so tired!
Of course, since a major portion of our business is farming, mother nature rules and a lot of what happens is out of our control. Another major component of our business is sales and thus subject to the whims of the marketplace that can be influenced by economics, politics, or perceptions. But we must be nimble enough to respond. We analyze and make forecasts about the farming, production, distribution, regulatory environment, retail and wholesale markets, and customer service sides of LDV Winery each year to ensure that it is economically-viable while achieving our mission.
Here are our top five forecasts for 2018 that we will be monitoring.
- The wine cellar is full of wines that have been aging for many years and are ready for the marketplace. LDV will be releasing new wines almost monthly throughout the year.
- The vineyard is maturing nicely with some vines reaching 10 years old. Vine roots are reaching deep in the rhyolite granite and we anticipate more complexity from LDV wines as we move forward.
- LDV reachedthe 3,000-case production level in 2017 for the first time. That is more than we thought we would be producing when our entire estate was built out. LDV will not be planting any more vineyard acres until our marketing structure can catch up with the production.
- With the ability now to ship to 38 states, LDV’s customer reach is expanding. We anticipate reaching deeper into the marketplace in Arizona and across the U.S.
- As always, respecting the connection to our land, producing hand-crafted, quality, no short cut wines, and providing superior customer service will guide all decision-making.