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Tech. Time Saver: Google
Why would I write about something you already know and very likely use as a research tool?  In addition to helping you find just about anything for which you're searching, Google can save you time during the business day.

Using just the regular Google search engine, you can do mathematical calculations and metric conversions, look up word definitions and get weather reports.  Try it next time instead of searching for a conversion specific site, for example.

In addition to the search engine, there are a myriad of options within the Google suite.  Try IGoogle for a customized browser homepage, Google Docs for collaborating on projects, Picnik to edit photos, Finance for stock quotes, Gmail for unlimited storage and back up for your business email, Translator for foreign languages, Earth to view the world and Calendar to keep your appointments.
News & Events
Stoller Vineyards releases 2008 JV Pinot Noir rated 90 Points by Wine Advocate and announces 2011 event series

McKinley Springs Launches Wine Club The Homestead and Cook House tiers represent historic properties on the farm

Chehalem receives a collection of 90+ scores from Wine Spectator including a Smart Buy

DTC Symposium in Santa Rosa, CA January 19

Unified Symposium in Sacramento, CA January 25-27

Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers in Kennewick February 8-11 annual convention

Oregon Wine Symposium in Eugene February 21-23

Wine Business  Links
Business Links
Industry Spotlight: Large Format Bottles
Everybody loves big bottles!  When I worked for the Symington Family of Portugal (an incredible company, I must add), we loved the reaction to the magnums of Vintage Port we'd bring to Wine Spectator and other high profile events.  There's just something exciting about a giant bottle of serving masses of wine lovers.  Large formats can be customized with etching or feature fully etched, elegant designs.

Big "dummy" bottles also make good event and trade show display items, as well as gifts for some on- and off-premise accounts who like to display them.  I've had the pleasure of working with several firms who supply these bottles and highlight them below.

Fresh Northwest Design
Scott Schoenen of Fresh Northwest in Gig Harbor, Washington does a fantastic job and delivers delightful customer service.

Bergin Glass Impressions
Mike Bergin of Bergin Glass in Napa, California creates beautiful bottles with screen printing, etching and hand painting.

Xena Etched Grapics
Karlton and Kim Hahn are based in Maupin, Oregon and offer services to the wine industry including stem ware as well as custom picture frames

  Dixie Huey sorting at Stoller
Happy Holidays and welcome to edition 16 of 
Strategic Guidance from the Ground Up, the Trellis Wine Consulting bi-monthly newsletter. 

This is a wonderful time of year to enjoy the fruits of our labor, give thanks and spend time with friends and family.  It is also a time to look toward the year ahead. Many scholars believe the tradition of celebrating on January 1st began when the Roman emperor, Julias Caesar, established it as New Year's Day in 46 BC.  Dedicated to Janus, the god of gates, doors and beginnings, this holiday well speaks to planning and goal setting.  Janus had two faces -- one looking forward and the other looking backward.

This month's time saver features search engine used by the masses: Google.  Do you know what else can do for you?

Wishing you and yours a wonderful holiday and a happy, healthy and productive 2011,

Dixie Huey's signature

Dixie L. Huey, Proprietor
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The Transformative Power of Preparation: a 3-Part Goal-Setting Process
Setting goals is generally considered a normal and healthy practice of mindful and living. Whether it's getting to the gym three times per week, creating and tracking a budget, or spending time with the family on Sundays, setting specific goals helps you identify what is important and to live a life of purpose.

In the business world, setting and measuring goals is a very important practice for success. John Wooden, one of the most successful college basketball coaches of all time and author of one of my favorite business books, Wooden on Leadership, believed that winning (or losing) was a matter of preparation. For Wooden, the process of becoming the best team possible -- setting goals and tracking success -- was the most important predictor of success:

"Success is peace of mind, which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to do the best of which you are capable."

In the wine industry, particularly in smaller and younger businesses, goal-setting is often primarily focused on the production side. We spend a lot of time setting goals for vineyard yields, fruit processing, aging, style, production level, recognition, etc.

Production goals are undoubtedly important given the need to deliver delicious wine, but if there is no plan specifying goals for sales, people and processes, managing the business side becomes increasingly difficult.
The symptoms of lack of preparation include rising inventories, decreased demand, unclear and/or inefficient processes, frustration and waning focus among people and, ultimately, decreased sales, profitability, and team cohesion.

Many want to believe that making excellent wine is "enough", but with competition from imports and new domestic entrants, consolidation in wholesale and account tiers, and the variability of economic cycles, it just isn't. A lot of people have been talking about the "new normal" in the wine industry.  While I don't believe in the "new normal" of consumer spending for the long-term (people tend to regain positive sentiment and revert back to old habits after down economic cycles end according to behavioral economics research), I do believe in the "new normal" of the competitive landscape in the wine industry.  This is a marketplace with increasing competition and power of buyers and suppliers, distributor consolidation and decreased threat of entry. For more information on some of these topics, review Porter's 5 Forces model
(I highly recommend his book, Competitive Strategy.)

The great news is that preparation is a proactive process, not something out of our control like enormous flocks of birds preying on vineyards during harvest, or even economic cycles. It's something we all have in our power to do provided we commit the necessary time and brainpower.

Preparation is also a positive learning process. It helps you understand why certain tactics worked and others didn't, and gain knowledge of team strengths and challenges. Viewing this process in a positive light means freeing yourself as a business manager to make mistakes and then seeking the understanding that comes from correcting them. Wooden again speaks to this value:

"If you're not making mistakes, then you're not doing anything. I'm positive that a doer makes mistakes."

In my practice, goal-setting for established wineries is a three-part process. First, I seek to understand the winery's strengths and challenges with interviews and surveys: confidential individual interviews and then surveys of key stakeholders including staff, trade and consumers. Then, I provide data analysis and recommendations to my clients and their teams, which serve as a point for further discussion about goals and processes. Finally, based on the knowledge gained from these conversations, I work with owners and managers to develop a strategic marketing plan identifying organizational and sales goals, mapping out specifically who is doing what, and when and how performance will be measured. We work to establish an engaging and motivating review process and coach the "players" to success based on preparation. And we look to include best, likely and worst case scenarios so those threats don't overwhelm the business.

The research phase of this process respects and includes the winery's past while mapping out a proactive future. A consultant can't enter a company and effectively make recommendations based on prior experience alone. My experience working with close to 60 wineries ranging from domestic "one-man" operations to global producers gives me a series of best practices, but it doesn't give me the proprietary knowledge that is just as important in delivering excellent preparation.

For new wineries, there is still a research phase based on identified competitors, and focus groups can be used to augment it. Preparation for a new winery means that there isn't a lot of data to consider for the plan, but there is also a "fresh slate".

Operating with a common set of goals has several power effects. Teams become more focused and united, prioritization is easier and more effective coaching is possible. The feeling of setting and achieving (or surpassing) a goal also helps build momentum needed for the next year, when we need to plan all over again!

Strategic Guidance from the Ground Up                                                       
Trellis Wine Consulting, LLC is a full service branding, strategy and communications firm for wine businesses.  Our services include business planning, marketing communications and sales strategy, brand identity and packaging, website design and social media.
We deliver exceptional value to our clients by providing a unique blend of breadth of services and depth of expertise that supports efficient and effective growth and enhanced profitability. Ten years of experience guiding over 50 brands ranging from small, family owned wineries to large international corporations means that we know what works and well understand the need for return on marketing investment. For more information, call 360.210.5551 or visit our website.