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In This Issue: 
Feature: Opportunities for growth begin with a plan

Tech Time Saver:
Zemanta - Increase SEO and distribution of your blog

News: Client launches, Press, and Events

Industry Spotlight: 
Drink Think

Compliance Corner
Infinite Vineyards   
Wine Business  Links
Tech. Time Saver: Zemanta 

Zemanta is a blog publishing assistant designed to act as a second set of hands when writing blog posts.  


If you are looking to have a multi-dimensional blog including photos, links and topics, but don't want to spend the extra time searching for content, then Zemanta is your solution.  


As you blog, Zemanta simultaneously searches the web for related articles, photos and keywords based on the content you create.

Zemanta also automatically recommends your article to other similar blog posts.  The best part: Zemanta is free and available on multiple blogging platforms including WordPress, Blogger, Drupal and Joomla.  


News & Events 

Abacela's Paramour launch spreads across Pacific Northwest publications.


Wine Business Monthly reports about the launch of VinMotion.  


Food & Wine Magazine recommends Stoller's guest houses. 


Join us Monday, February 27 at Pure Space in downtown Portland for a trade tasting of Walla Walla wines.  And Saturday and Sunday, March 31 and April 1 for Taste WA, where we have a new client launching wines. 

Stay tuned... we are working on business plans on three brand launches for 2012 and 2013 in Portland, Sonoma and Prosser.  

Industry Spotlight:
Drink Think  

If you are looking to get your boutique production of locally-made wine and spirits into bars and restaurants, we recommend considering 

Drink Think, a Portland-based company that promotes Northwest wines and craft spirits by educating restaurants, bars and bottle shops about buying local.


Owner, Kelly Kerbs, started the business in 2010 after identifying a need to have more transparency in the supplier-distributor relationship.  Drink Think hosts events and partners with local charity and event producers, managing accounts in a hands-on, promotion-focused approach.   

"Having both wine and spirits clients gives us the opportunity to get to know everyone in the "house" and opens doors to us that otherwise might be closed," Kerbs says.   Drink Think covers the Portland, Medford and Bend areas, and hopes to branch out to serve all of Oregon. 


Drink Think

Compliance Corner: Wes Paul, Infinite Vineyards 

One more domino fell on January 17, 2012 as New Jersey Gov., Chris Christie, signed into law a bill that allows out of state wineries to ship to NJ residents. The law goes into effect May 1st, and will also allow wineries to ship directly to retail licensees for an additional fee. Details below: 

Permit fee: $938.00. Aggregate limit: 12 cases/yr/pp. Production cap: 250k gallons. Once the application is available it will be posted online.

Infinite Vineyards, LLC, is a full-spectrum wine industry consulting company specializing in compliance issues.  Read more about Wes Paul here.


We are thrilled to be entering our fifth year of operations.  And continually surprised by the ever-increasing passage of time.

What are your 2012 business goals?  This year, we have a full set of them -- offering our marketing and management consulting services to a broader range of industries, redoing our company website and online presence, and re-branding to best position Trellis Wine Consulting for growth.  This is of course secondary to serving our clients with creative solutions for sales and profitability growth.  It's going to be a fantastic year, and our action plan for implementation will ensure we get it all done. 
Dixie Huey sorting at Stoller

In this issue of Strategic Guidance from the Ground Up, we explore several opportunities for business growth, including steps to creating and implementing your action plan, and remind you about three effective ways to promote your business in public relations, e-marketing and social media.  We also feature an Industry Spotlight on Drink Think, a supplier representative and promotion company based in Oregon, and a new section -- Compliance Corner by Wes Paul of Infinite Vineyards.



Dixie Huey's signature
Dixie L. Huey, Proprietor
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PS - I recently spoke at the Oregon Wine Industry Symposium on a panel about tasting room management and legal compliance.  Stay tuned for a blog post within the next few weeks detailing this seminar and another about our general thoughts on the event.

Opportunity for Growth Starts with Making a Plan

For many start-ups and small companies, determining the right time to invest in the growth of your business can be tricky.  Resources are commonly a challenge, and you may have fears or doubts about your company's ability to sustain increased operations and solve the challenges that come with them.  To work around these fears, the best solution is to create an action plan.  A written strategic forecast of how you want to grow and specific ways to achieve your vision will provide you and your team with a road map and facilitate decision-making and success measurement.


When a Plan is Your Foundation, Implementation is the Easy Part      


Sometimes, all it takes is a commitment to planning and a series of dedicated quiet hours to putting it in writing.  This is a very important first step.  However, if you find yourself continually putting this critical step off or unable to concentrate on  your "map" given your current level of work or other obstacles, hiring independent expertise may be the most efficient path to productivity.

Consider what your business may achieve by doing so:  For Trellis Wine Consulting, providing strategic direction is not simply about making independent recommendations.  We offer an integrated data-driven approach beginning with research to assess your business' strengths and challenges. Once we have internal and external data, we create an action plan and help our clients implement. 

The first phase, research, usually includes a series of interviews and surveys of your key stakeholders including staff, customers and the trade, which provides a multi-dimentional view of your business and helps us create a customized action plan. We often assure confidentiality to maximize the knowledge gained -- when we make it easier for respondents to be honest, we learn a lot more from them.  In addition to the data we gather, we conduct internal research to examine your current operations and marketing activities and materials. 

Why bother with the data before planning?  In short, "house palate" is not just for winemaking -- whether you're new to an industry or have served many years in the business, approaching business planning in a self-imposed vacuum often means missed opportunities. Further, we never want to encourage a client to stop doing something that is working, and we can only truly know if it is by examining the data.

During our action planning phase, we create a detailed business and/or marketing plan including tactical deliverables, a timeline, and metrics.  Once we have the approval of an owner (and his or her team), we calendar each item to ensure that all promises are kept, and create a project implementation timeline.  This process is how we ensure that the plan is actually implemented during the third phase; checking items of an ever-growing list can be quite difficult for a business owner who is already pulled in multiple directions.

When a business is supported by a detailed action plan and a commitment to that action, implementation often becomes the "easy" part.  For us, communication and measurement are important aspects of implementation -- we strive to maintain close and open contact with our clients (which is why we do not charge hourly) to improve existing plans and provide solutions as issues arise.  We view implementation as an opportunity to measure outcomes and prepare for the next action planning cycle. 

Three Additional Growth Opportunities - PR, E-marketing and Social Media 

Integrating public relations into your ongoing marketing plan is another opportunity for growth that businesses often overlook past a company launch or new product release. But it is indeed one of the most effective ways to stay in the public's mind. A good business practice, especially for wine and spirits businesses, is to identify multiple reasons to promote your products.  We often recommend developing a theme, which creates a better marketable story, enticing the journalist to cover it and customers to buy. We often use individual media pitching in combination with theme development.  This allows us to market specific stories and offerings using a more personalized approach based on each writer's specific criteria for coverage.     


Email marketing is another great way to keep in touch with clients and inform them about news, releases, events and more.  As a data collection tool, every email campaign you send out generates metrics of who opens the email, email addresses that may have changed, and much more - all data you can use to refine your approach and messages.  Email marketing works for a variety of reasons...

  • It drives direct sales
  • It builds relationships, loyalty and trust
  • It supports sales through other channels
  • It allows targeting messages to specific customers 
  • It collects metrics of who is reading your emails

Social Media well compliments e-marketing because it builds the conversation, allowing you to share news instantaneously and have nearly real-time interactions with customers.  It also provides a format for customers to give you valuable feedback, which is an excellent source of data for planning. See more on this topic in our September 2011 newsletter.


If you are thinking about ways to improve sales, service and operations, or if you have questions about implementing any of the above into your business model, contact us today for a complimentary consultation.   

- Dixie Huey and Janel Lubanski, Media Relations and Client Services 




Strategic Guidance from the Ground Up                                                       
Trellis Wine Consulting, LLC is a full-service branding, strategy and marketing communications firm.  Our focus is on creating integrated strategic plans and our services include business planning, marketing communications and sales strategy, brand identity and packaging, public relations, 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. Twelve years of experience guiding over 50 brands ranging from small, family-owned wineries to 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.