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The month of March was a crazy month as our lives changes and we were forced to social distance. But just before we went into lock down, I had the...

This story originally appeared in Wine Industry Advisor. Across the entire wine industry, there are significant challenges, stated Robert McMillan, executive vice president and founder of Silicon Valley Bank’s Wine Division at the recent forum of Santa Barbara’s wine industry. Premiumization is the dominant trend, but continuing consolidation of distribution is significantly limiting wineries access to consumers. To address this issue, McMillan stressed the need for direct-to-consumer sales. While direct sales are not necessarily more profitable than through wholesalers, explained McMillan, “it is more about necessity.” However, direct to consumer sales have their own constraints and require an investment in hospitality to attract consumers and make the emotional connection. “In the past year, I’ve seen firsthand the impact of regulations gone haywire. They are frustrating family winery owners across the country, increasing the cost of doing business and reaching the point where some of the regulations will put family-run wineries out of business. The problem can’t be ignored, and it’s not going away by itself.” McMillan wrote in his State of the Wine Industry 2017 report (p55).
This story originally appeared in California Winery Advisor. Los Alamos – One Single Block Offering Days of Fun The town of Los Alamos is one block long. As you drive through the single main street, it will seem like you have entered an old pioneer town. It is almost like a movie façade. But look closely and you will see storefronts for wineries, restaurants and antique shops. This tiny town is a wine country destination. Los Alamos was a former stagecoach stop on the edge of the Santa Ynez Valley. A twenty-minute drive north of Solvang, Los Alamos was a sleepy town until a decade ago when refugees from Los Angeles arrived. Music industry, entertainment industry and fashion industry executives left their hectic city lives for the calmness of this little town. The town that used to be called “Los Almost” is now sometimes called “Little Los Angeles.” Los Alamos has also attracted young winemakers/entrepreneurs to set up shop there as the town, for the time being, is an affordable destination with unlimited potential.
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