The Engineer and the Best Laid Plans...
Erin Brooks | March 3rd, 2018
The Romanini Vineyard Pinot Noir The Engineer
We’re all adults. And, therefore, at some point along the way a person has broken a commitment; you, me, everyone. This is a story about a broken commitment in business. In this scenario, no one is a villain, no one is being sued…it’s simply a matter of dollars and sense.
Through one lens, it’s quite simple. We make wine, put it in bottle, and then begin the process of selling it - to you, our mailing list to whom we sell and ship directly, but also to wholesale customers. These wholesale accounts are comprised of distributors in states across the U.S. and internationally. Once our wines are in the possession of these entities, they sell to restaurants and retailers in their respective markets and the sales cycle is finally complete when a bottle of Ernest is on a table somewhere being opened and enjoyed.
But, there’s always another lens…or another layer of understanding and complexity. In reality, the wholesale market for boutique producers is anything but simple and straightforward. Distribution in the US is quite difficult for small brands (like Ernest and our peers) as we face continued distributor consolidation into enormous companies that are most interested in enormous brands that sell in enormous quantities. This challenge is compounded internationally where we are a new name from the “New World” facing an uphill battle to get established. Each of our wholesale partners demand a thoughtful allocation of wine that requires juggling and balance in a style that would make a tight-rope walker sweat. We need enough wine to meet our mailing list orders and then enough wine to each wholesale account to keep it financially interesting for them…all in consideration of which wine they feel will work best in their market.
And so, to the broken commitment. Last year, one of our international importers failed to complete the purchase of the full set of wines that were ordered. This means we were left with boxes of wine that we had allotted to them and therefore held back from being purchased in other channels. Many boxes. For a small company like us, this is beyond a big deal…it is epic. It is painful. Of the many hats I wear on a daily basis, one of the most important is the revenue helmet. Yes, the brutality of sales requires a helmet. I wish I had a sword, too.
There’s always a silver lining, at least in my world. And, this unfortunate scenario allows for the special opportunity to re-release a wine we adore to you, our customer, whom we also adore. The 2015 Romanini Vineyard “The Engineer” Pinot Noir is a wine that I reach for again and again. It delights on all levels and with this additional time aging in bottle, it’s ready to be shared and enjoyed right away. I’ll send tasting notes in another note as we open the spring release, but for now please just be aware of this special opportunity. I truly do view it that way, as an opportunity for all of us in the US to enjoy a wine in our “new world”.
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