Our first Wine show....

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Hokapsig

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well, we have made it through Covid, actually better than worse, Our governor decided to shut down all businesses that were not deemed essential. Lucky for us, wineries were determined to be essential and when the state shut down the state run liquor stores, we had a captive audience. We started a "survival kit" which was a 3 bottle box of wine with a nice hand made card that my wife loves to make. We advertised on social media. Sales zoomed. We decided that when we had someone order a case from us, we would deliver for free and we announced the delivery to that area on Facebook and advised anyone else to order wine in that area that we would also deliver for free. We were filling the back seat of the pickup and the bed with cases of wine for delivery. Doing that allowed us to move our inventory and get us out of the house.

With Covid waning, we have now retreated back to our 2 farmer's markets, however, the state is not letting us provide tasting samples yet. We solved that problem by providing a sheet with tasting notes of the wine. People which were leery at first bought one bottle, only to return the following week and buy anywhere from 3 to a case. My wife promoted the fact that the customers were able to talk to the winemaker (i was able to steer them to the wines by chatting with them). People seem to like that, Our bottom line flourished by selling wines without the tasters affecting the bottom line, allowing us to drive more profit to the bottom line by cutting expenses. With the extra time from not doing day long wine festivals, we have been able to concentrate on making and testing new wines and catching up on bottling some dry reds which had been sitting for 4 or more years. People seem to like the aged reds as they sold well,

Although we have had 2 events schedule to return later this year, we had written off this year and were ready to declare a loss in the revenue column, but as of this post, we are 3K ahead of last years pace even with the most lucrative wine festivals cancelling, We have taken the time to learn how to REALLY sell our wines. This is paying very nice dividends.

We gambled our funds set aside in the winery account that will be used for buying property in the stock market, betting that the economy would come back strong when COVID subsided, We timed the market almost correctly and will use that gain to offset any losses from the loss of wine shows. We have done well so far. That money will be returned to the winery fund when we decide to sell our stocks, We have also invested in a used 4 spout bottling machine which was being sold by another winery that was upgrading. This has recently arrived and we are learning about it prior to committing to a bottling run. It feels good to be upgrading the winery assets,

We feel we benefitted by sticking to our principals of keeping our overhead low, staying debt free, changing our wine line up to meet the seasons and listening to our customers. Our business continues to be healthy as we emerge from the COVID shadow.
 

sour_grapes

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well, we have made it through Covid, actually better than worse, Our governor decided to shut down all businesses that were not deemed essential. Lucky for us, wineries were determined to be essential and when the state shut down the state run liquor stores, we had a captive audience. We started a "survival kit" which was a 3 bottle box of wine with a nice hand made card that my wife loves to make. We advertised on social media. Sales zoomed. We decided that when we had someone order a case from us, we would deliver for free and we announced the delivery to that area on Facebook and advised anyone else to order wine in that area that we would also deliver for free. We were filling the back seat of the pickup and the bed with cases of wine for delivery. Doing that allowed us to move our inventory and get us out of the house.

With Covid waning, we have now retreated back to our 2 farmer's markets, however, the state is not letting us provide tasting samples yet. We solved that problem by providing a sheet with tasting notes of the wine. People which were leery at first bought one bottle, only to return the following week and buy anywhere from 3 to a case. My wife promoted the fact that the customers were able to talk to the winemaker (i was able to steer them to the wines by chatting with them). People seem to like that, Our bottom line flourished by selling wines without the tasters affecting the bottom line, allowing us to drive more profit to the bottom line by cutting expenses. With the extra time from not doing day long wine festivals, we have been able to concentrate on making and testing new wines and catching up on bottling some dry reds which had been sitting for 4 or more years. People seem to like the aged reds as they sold well,

Although we have had 2 events schedule to return later this year, we had written off this year and were ready to declare a loss in the revenue column, but as of this post, we are 3K ahead of last years pace even with the most lucrative wine festivals cancelling, We have taken the time to learn how to REALLY sell our wines. This is paying very nice dividends.

We gambled our funds set aside in the winery account that will be used for buying property in the stock market, betting that the economy would come back strong when COVID subsided, We timed the market almost correctly and will use that gain to offset any losses from the loss of wine shows. We have done well so far. That money will be returned to the winery fund when we decide to sell our stocks, We have also invested in a used 4 spout bottling machine which was being sold by another winery that was upgrading. This has recently arrived and we are learning about it prior to committing to a bottling run. It feels good to be upgrading the winery assets,

We feel we benefitted by sticking to our principals of keeping our overhead low, staying debt free, changing our wine line up to meet the seasons and listening to our customers. Our business continues to be healthy as we emerge from the COVID shadow.
So great to hear, Ho. That tale is inspiring.
 

Hokapsig

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I’m not far from you and would like to support your business. Where can I buy your wine? Are you selling at the winery?
We sell at the Murrysville Farmers Market on Sardis Road from 3 to 7 on Thursdays and the Monroeville Lions Farmers Market on Saturdays from 9 to noon. Stop by.
 

Hokapsig

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well, the energy company shot us down too. At this time, they will neither lease nor sell the property. So its on to plan C, which is to rent a building in an industrial park (not my idea of a winery location), but the location does have gas, electric, water and reduces our barrier to entry. We may have to sign a 3 to 5 year lease, but this allows me to walk away from the business after the term of the lease and we don't have to front the money to get started. We will incur a monthly rent fee, but we will be able to easily cover that cost. A local wing and pizza place is willing to rent the other half of the building and we can share a middle section with tables for guests. We will still keep our ears open for property.
 
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well, the energy company shot us down too. At this time, they will neither lease nor sell the property. So its on to plan C, which is to rent a building in an industrial park (not my idea of a winery location), but the location does have gas, electric, water and reduces our barrier to entry. We may have to sign a 3 to 5 year lease, but this allows me to walk away from the business after the term of the lease and we don't have to front the money to get started. We will incur a monthly rent fee, but we will be able to easily cover that cost. A local wing and pizza place is willing to rent the other half of the building and we can share a middle section with tables for guests. We will still keep our ears open for property.
After reading a few of your posts and this one over the last few months. I started putting two and two together I realized I've met you in person at a few different craft fairs/wine shows. My girlfriend is in love with a a few of your wines. I remember her saying she saw on social media about the survival kits, that was such a good idea to coordinate and have the pop up locations too. I can't wait for you to get a location, she will be thrilled to hear. It's is awesome to know you guys are doing so well even with the current less the ideal conditions!
 

ffemt128

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After reading a few of your posts and this one over the last few months. I started putting two and two together I realized I've met you in person at a few different craft fairs/wine shows. My girlfriend is in love with a a few of your wines. I remember her saying she saw on social media about the survival kits, that was such a good idea to coordinate and have the pop up locations too. I can't wait for you to get a location, she will be thrilled to hear. It's is awesome to know you guys are doing so well even with the current less the ideal conditions!
What part of Pittsburgh are you from?
 

Hokapsig

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so we've picked up a third farmer's market. The state has stopped all tastings unless you are supplying the wine with a meal. Farmer's markets are serving food, so we are covered there and are permitted to do tastings and sales for off site consumption. Despite having 9 months of shows cancelled, we are still ahead of last years sales, and we are flowing more proceeds to the bottom line as we don't have to pay the entrance fee for the shows. Luckily, we don't have the overhead of rent of a mortgage at this time. However, we receive a dozen calls per week of people wanting to visit the winery, which the state has shut down anyhow being that we don't serve food,
 

ffemt128

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What is your delivery radius? South Hills??

If you're in the South HIlls, D & O Wine Cellars is at The Original Farmer's Market M-W-F. This market starts at 5:30 We are also at the Carnegie Farmer's Market on Sundays from noon til 3:00. Our storefront is located in Crafton
 
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