Business Lessons Learned from Wine Making

Posted by Tom Scarda, Certified Franchise Executive on Nov 17, 2020 4:59:35 AM

In franchise consultant, life decisions

"Grapes are like people," said the winemaker at Eduardo Darte, a small, family-owned winery in Spain that I visited last November. He expressed, "Grapes cannot be rushed; they must develop at their own pace."

At Tacono winery, the great-granddaughter of the winery founder, Mercedes, said, "It's a tradition." Her father and grandfathers advocated the idea of allowing nature to follow its course. Making wine takes time. Making great wine takes years."

Preparation, nurturing and decision making are the three ingredients at every winery and in business. In preparing for great wine or a great company, you must begin with the end in mind. What kind of wine do you want to create? Red, White, Rose? Do you want smoky or fruity tasting wine? It all starts with basics: soil, vines, and the right plot of land. Many times, just like in business, making wine is about location, location, location.

Nurturing is essential because grapes are finicky. They can turn into vinegar if not treated right, just like staff and customers. Handling grapes with respect and a respect for the process is paramount to having a successful winery. But it doesn't mean that it can't be fun. Winemaking and business are a passion. If you're going to make wine only to sell it and make a bunch of money, your wine will most likely be sold in the discount bin. Corners can be cut, but it's challenging to hide sub-par products. Making wine has essentially been the same since the times of Jesus. Some wineries have added technology and machines to make the process effective and efficient. However, fermenting wine and aging cannot be executed any differently than it was done 2,000 years ago. Some try to rush the process, but the wine loses its integrity – just like a business trying to cut corners.

In life, business, and winemaking, your outcomes are based on the decisions one makes. A winemaker needs to test and taste the product to determine when to rotate the barrels or when is the perfect moment to bottle the wine and then drink it. In business, the owner has to have the wherewithal to make decisions, for better or worse, but he or she can't just sit there and do nothing. The wine may not be perfect if you decided to bottle too soon, but it's not the end of the world or the wine. You can still enjoy it. You can even sell it. Over time one will hone their decision-making skills to become a master. However, like anything good in life, it takes time and cannot be rushed. Salute!