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Okanagan Wine Services - Finally!

Date: Sun, Jan 25, 2009 Wine Tasting Winery Blogs Wine Business

A couple of entrepreneurs have stepped up and will soon fill a void in the Okanagan Valley - especially in the south end.

Okanagan Wine Services (OWS) will begin offering warehousing and host of other services to area wineries in an area that seems to be chronically short of dedicated wine-friendly capacity.

Larry Stranaghan and Jeff Keen dropped by my neck of the woods the other day to introduce themselves and let Township 7 and Black Cloud wines know what they have to offer. The plan is to get started immediately. While they will consider using an existing building, they are prepared to build from the ground-up to satisfy the needs of their customers. Penticton seems to be the prime location under consideration.

Among the many features local wineries will find attractive:

  • Climate controlled Storage: many wineries use off site storage but a lot of times you settle for less than ideal conditions to just get the stuff stored. OWS will be addressing the temperature, humidity and, hopefully, vibration issues.
  • Custom packaging: it's old news in other jurisdictions but not here. The plan is to offer wine club shipping services and custom pick and pack. For all intents and purposes, a wine industry fulfilment centre.
  • Inventory control through secure client access on their website. Shipped and received; barcoded and electronically recorded on your account.
  • 24 -7 access and operation.

The website is operational at this time but there's still some detail to come. Use the phone number or email address under 'Contact us' to get more information.

www.wineservicesinc.com

I'm your source for winery development consultation.

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Black Cloud Wine Label Sneak Peek

Date: Wed, Jan 21, 2009 Wine Tasting Winery Blogs Wine Business



A quick Bberry phone pic of one of the the mock-ups we've been playing with.

A lot has changed. Colours, paperstock, the vintage date is wrong, etc.

But it gives you a rough idea of the concepts we've been working to make this happen.

I'm your source for winery development consultation.

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Heading to Kamloops, Wine in Hand.

Date: Mon, Jan 19, 2009 Wine Tasting Winery Blogs Wine Business

In early February, I'll be heading to Kamloops, B.C. to talk to Township 7 fans at a couple venues and to try and present the wines to some new customers as well.

The way the schedule is starting to align, it looks like my Black Cloud 2006 Pinot Noir will make it's debut on this trip as well.

So far the schedule looks like this:

Tuesday, February 3 - 7:00 pm
Gerry O's
2900 - 30th Street
Vernon, BC
(250) 542-3333

On my way to Kamloops, I'm stopping at this great store that sells our wine in Vernon. Once a month they put on these special tastings complete with food accompaniment. I suggest you call if you want to join me and taste a selection of Township 7 wines.

Wednesday, February 4 - 7:30 pm
Kamloops Winemakers

I think this is for members only but check with me if you're in the area and I'll try and sneak you in!

Thursday, February 5 - 3:30 to ???
Lansdowne Central Liquor Store
450 Lansdowne
Kamloops

I'll be at the store for a few hours, talking with wine drinkers and pouring a nice flight of Township7 wines. Drop in and meet!

Still working on: a trade tasting for Kamloops restaurants and license holders in the city and quick trip to Sun Peaks to talk to folks there. Will try to get a day in on the slopes Friday!

I'm your source for winery development consultation.

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Our Wine Brand Name - Black Cloud.

Date: Fri, Dec 19, 2008 Wine Tasting Winery Blogs Wine Business

A little while back we asked friends, family and associates from the world of wine to help us come up with a name for our new wine brand.
We were flooded with replies.
Two things we learned.

  • People really want to help and will take time to offer what they can.
  • the people who do this professionally have talent and skills.

Some of the suggestions were excellent and gave us a reason to carefully consider their candidacy. Others, obviously tongue-in-cheek, were quite amusing.

We've made our decision and now we've retained Magpye Productions and Ann O'Grady to start with our logo and label design. Ann has done some great work with Lake Breeze Farm winery and a host of others. We feel good about our meetings we've had and look forward to looking at some samples in the early New Year. Hopefully we'll be able to share some for your perusal.

On another front, we are working on our incorporation documents and securing our brand integrity in a number of ways including copyright.

After weeks of pondering, mulling, analysis, consensus-building and teeth-grinding we're decided to call our wine brand

Black Cloud





I'm your source for winery development consultation.

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Our Wine Brand Name - Black Cloud.

Date: Fri, Dec 19, 2008 Wine Tasting Winery Blogs Wine Business

A little while back we asked friends, family and associates from the world of wine to help us come up with a name for our new wine brand.
We were flooded with replies.
Two things we learned.

  • People really want to help and will take time to offer what they can.
  • the people who do this professionally have talent and skills.

Some of the suggestions were excellent and gave us a reason to carefully consider their candidacy. Others, obviously tongue-in-cheek, were quite amusing.

We've made our decision and now we've retained Magpye Productions and Ann O'Grady to start with our logo and label design. Ann has done some great work with Lake Breeze Farm winery and a host of others. We feel good about our meetings we've had and look forward to looking at some samples in the early New Year. Hopefully we'll be able to share some for your perusal.

On another front, we are working on our incorporation documents and securing our brand integrity in a number of ways including copyright.

After weeks of pondering, mulling, analysis, consensus-building and teeth-grinding we're decided to call our wine brand

Black Cloud





I'm your source for winery development consultation.

Read Full Wine Blog Post

Holiday Wine List

Date: Wed, Dec 10, 2008 Wine Tasting Winery Blogs Wine Business

Paul over at the WINE PRO group on LinkedIn was asking:
What are you drinking over the holidays?
Usually I leave these things to the wine review blogs. But I started thinking about it and got all warm and fuzzy so I wrote something like this:

For the 'go-to' have-on-hand wine I'm going to search out some Cotes Rotie and other Rhonish varietals. There seems to me more of these grapes available to us each year. Best to get some research done.

The wife and I like to sip on cava as we chore, errand and task about the house with all the seasonal duties. Scrubbing the bathroom fixtures seems almost glamorous with a flute of bubble at hand. We tend to like some of the inexpensive Australian sparklers like Wolf Blass. The price is right at $13.99. We'll crack a domestic like Sumac Ridge's Steller's Jay or my own Township 7 Seven Stars if company is coming over and I have to pull on a clean shirt.

We aren't travelling for Christmas so the big turkey feast will be next year. We usually do duck for when it's just me,she and the boy. Duck is one of the few things in the world he likes. Probably team it up with Pinot Noir. I don't have an '05 Sokol Blosser (the link is to the '06)which is undeniably wicked cool. I will probably open a Black Cloud 2006. Black Cloud? Coming soon. Available in the early New Year. You read it here first.

New Year's Eve? I'll be a guest and drink whatever is put out. New Year's Day, however, is different. The plan is to fire up the outdoor grill and have a few folks over for mixed grill and pasta for a mid-day brunch kind of thingy. Maybe the Thomas Fogarty 2004 Fiddletown Barbera. Hope it's sunny and mild. We like to start the year like that and send photos to friends out east.

Any given night, with the snow swirling outside and the fire embering nicely, we'll pop an NV Port and crack some walnuts while we congratulate ourselves for another great year of us.

I'm your source for winery development consultation.

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Can A Winery Name Be Arrogant?

Date: Sat, Dec 6, 2008 Wine Tasting Winery Blogs Wine Business

Looky here! It's December already. Before the holiday entertaining schedule ramps up to full speed I thought I'd pop up a post.

Working through the mountain of name suggestions for our new wine brand has been very educational. At one point I was a little exasperated with our inability to really 'love' any one suggestion. I expressed this to a colleague and he suggested -

"Why not just call it Bradley Cooper? Everything you've done rests on your name. It's already got some presence."

When I presented that option to the partner it was if I had brought a bad smell into the room.

"That's conceited and arrogant. I don't want to work for Bradley Cooper Wines. This is a partnership!"

The lambasting softened somewhat when I said, "Kim Crawford, Robert Mondavi, Thomas Fogarty and a host of others". It's not a new concept.

So as it stands now, we may select a name that means something to us, and start building the value and the story around the name or we may go for arrogance.

What do you think? Is naming a winery after an individual a 'no-go'? I await your pithy response.

I'm your source for winery development consultation.

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An Economy In Crisis: This is the Best TIme to Start A Winery.

Date: Wed, Nov 26, 2008 Wine Tasting Winery Blogs Wine Business

The other day a friend of mine questioned my sanity in light of the current global economic woes and my decision to establish a winery.



He called me 'crazy'.



I can understand this reaction. But it's a reaction built on emotion. An emotional response to stimuli that produces more questions than answers and creates fear of the unknown. It's a diet of information that suggests volatility and instability in institutions previously considered to be rock solid.



Emotion alters our judgement. Rational discourse and strategic planning are difficult when running around the room pulling out your hair.



What is happening right now sets the stage for years of growth. Predicting the period of growth may be difficult. Just when it will happen is tough to say. But when it comes around, a business and its' drivers must be prepared for growth. If you're still in damage control at that point (or even just afloat) your going to miss the ride.



So starting a business at the bottom of the economic cycle isn't such a bad thing. It's important to be prudent, maybe even frugal, and make sure you're scalable.



We're starting shoe-string and with such a small inventory that I'll be able to hand-sell it myself. In fact, that's part of the plan. And without a plan, how do you know if you've screwed up or not?



Bad time to start a winery? I don't think so. Bad time to have a winery with a bloated inventory, no viable marketing plan and enormous debt? I think so. In our own backyard here in the Okanagan Valley, I think we're going to see some consolidation. Some of the bad actors will either merge or be bought outright. There will be deals to be had. Prices haven't dropped too much yet but they will as too much value is being attached to non-existent good-will.



So, my friend, my state of mind is not one of questionable mental health. Sure, I'm crazy.

Crazy like a fox.

I'm your source for winery development consultation.

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First step: a limited company.

Date: Tue, Nov 25, 2008 Wine Tasting Winery Blogs Wine Business

As we head down this winery project road, we feel our first step is to incorporate.

A limited company allows us some protection of personal assets and helps legitimize our status.
The company will also allow us to develop a wine brand exclusive of the company name. We feel the company name will allow us to further diversify our efforts, when the time comes, as we spinoff other ventures. Not everything we do in the wine world is directly linked to our wine brand. So we see the company as a kind of fiscal umbrella.

At this time we are examining different company structures and trying to establish what the best format will be for our project. As an example, we may be considering outside investment at some point and we want to be able to act on that option without creating an entirely new entity.

Up until now, we've been operating as a partnership.

There's lots to learn for newbies. We're always open to comments about what we're doing. If you've had a similar experience be sure to comment on how it went.

I'm your source for winery development consultation.

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New Wine Name, Different Wine Game

Date: Sat, Nov 22, 2008 Wine Tasting Winery Blogs Wine Business

You may have noticed that this blog is no longer called Wine & Vine BC.
This reflects a couple of changes.
Number one is the fact that my wife and I are creating our own winery, wine brand and vineyard. We're going to use the blog to explain, promote and enrich our experience.

The other change was more subtle and slow and revealed itself over time. Despite my intentions, I was never really able to cover the wine scene in this province as the title would suggest I should have. It was a good idea but far beyond my available resources. Yes, a good idea and one I'll leave to another blogger who has the time and investment to get it right.

I hope my readers, those that have subscribed over the years and commented occasionally, will stay with me and enjoy the new angle. I'll still post as flippantly, glibly and erratically as ever.

In the meantime, please adjust your blog listings and other titles and pass the word.

Thanks for the support!

I'm your source for winery development consultation.

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Wine Wordle

Date: Thu, Nov 20, 2008 Wine Tasting Winery Blogs Wine Business

It's kind of small but it's my wordle.
Kind of fun.
http://www.wordle.net/

I'm your source for winery development consultation.

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Wine Brand Needs A Name

Date: Wed, Nov 19, 2008 Wine Tasting Winery Blogs Wine Business

After many vintages gaining experience and working on other people's dreams, my wife and I are embarking on an exciting project.



We're creating our own wine brand. Ultimately, we will be establishing a winery operation here in the Okanagan and living out our own dream.



Meanwhile, we have an exquisite 2006 Pinot Noir with no label and no name that is ready for release in a very short time.



We've been tossing around a few ideas. The ones I like, she doesn't and vice versa. The veto is getting plenty of use.



We're inviting friends, family and the wine drinking public to offer up some ideas that we can use to identify our brand.



If it helps, here are a few items in point form about our lives together than may inspire or suggest something.




  • I grew up in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada

  • We met working in the bar business.

  • Our birthdays in April are only four days apart.

  • She grew up in a number of communties in the Canadian prairie provinces.

  • Our names arranged properly begin with A,B,C and D.

  • We both drive Toyotas

  • We married in a town called Russell, Bay of Islands, New Zealand.

  • We dislike animal names for wine or wineries, with some exceptions.

  • Our son has artwork that is being actively considered for label art. He's eight.

Of course, the winning suggestion or derivative of such will be rewarded.

I'm your source for winery development consultation.

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Crush Crew 2008

Date: Fri, Sep 26, 2008 Wine Tasting Winery Blogs Wine Business


Part of our crush crew for 2008 at Township 7.

We've been keeping busy bottling while we wait for the bulk of our grapes to ripen.

Season is late; blame it on the spring. Weather in September has been very co-operative.

I'm your source for winery development consultation.

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