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Wineries More Optimistic Moss Adams Tells Unified Symposium

In their first full survey since 2009, accounting firm Moss Adams LLP has, over the past month, laid out the significant impacts it has found on growers and vintners. In a presentation at the Unified Symposium last week, the accounting firm said that, while 45% of respondents reported pricing pressures, they were less concerned about economics than they were in 2009 and more focused on current and future growth and expansion opportunities.

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The average size of the wineries surveyed made approximately 80,000 cases per year at an average price of $222. About 60 percent of the wineries also had vineyard operations.

Other highlights from the 2013 Wine Industry Financial Benchmarking Report:

  • A 10% drop in three-tier sales volume and a re-focus on direct-to-consumer sales.
  • Average gross margins up 5% over the 2009 survey.
  • Negociants had the best-performing business model.
  • Social media expansion topped the list of longer-term strategies planned for the next three years.

“Almost 70% of participants said they plan to expand their use of social media,” said Rick Boland of Moss Adams. “This isn’t surprising given the emphasis on making deeper connections with wine consumers via Facebook and Twitter as part of a larger direct-to-consumer sales focus by wineries of all sizes.”

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Previously, Moss Adams had noted that their survey had revealed that there had been a “perfect storm” of vineyard demand.

Boland noted that “nearly a third of participants are focusing on selling wine in emerging markets such as China or buying a vineyard. For the past several years, we’ve observed a growing interest in selling wine into emerging markets such as China as a new and potentially lucrative sales channel.

“Given the high concentration of family-owned and operated wineries, developing a succession plan received an approximate 25% response rate,” he concluded.