Before you dive into the business of making and selling wine, start with creating your winery vision statement. It’s critical for you to have a firm understanding of what you do, who you are and why you want to start a wine business. This starts with a vision for your winery.
Start by answering these questions…
- Why are you starting a winery?
- What do you hope to achieve?
- Why is this important to you?
- Why right now?
From a marketing perspective, these are considered your “WHY.” The vision statement brings together your “WHY’s” into a short and concise statement.
Consider what you value. Think about:
- How should your wine be made?
- What values do you hold strongly and how will they be expressed in your business?
- Are you seeking to make an impact in your community, the wine industry or the world? How does that affect your winery business and practices?
- How will the grapes be farmed?
- Are your raw materials local, from a specific AVA, from your state, or other countries?
- What impact do you want to make on your community, world, industry?
- How do you make wine?
Pick out the things that are most important to you, the ones that you won’t compromise on. These go into your vision statement.
A Good Vision Is Well Crafted
Your vision is a well thought out statement of your winery. The goal is to encapsulate the wineries most important values into one, easy to remember statement. Don’t be surprised if it takes many iterations to come up with a winning statement. This is hard work. Every word in a vision statement has a specific meaning. So, you have to pay attention to what each and every word means. If the words have different meanings to different people, then they are a poor choice – pick a different word. It’s important that you don’t settle for good enough. If, after a lot of work, you have a statement that uses vague wording, is overly long, or doesn’t translate into characteristics of your product, put it aside and try again in a week or so. Or, contact me.
A Good Vision Statement is Critical
In working with wineries that are making high quality wines, but are not profitable, the number one issue I find is a poor or vaguely written vision statement.
The vision statement is the guide for the organization through its entire life. Your vision provides the foundation for who you are and gives you a basis for assessing new opportunities. There are a lot of opportunities when starting a new business, so you need to know what you do and who you are. Most importantly, it tells you what opportunities are not right for you! A good vision statement keeps you focused on your core competencies, letting you know when you need to let an otherwise good opportunity pass. From a management point of view, it tells your employees what to focus on, how to treat customers and how to design your marketing. The vision statement also tells your winemaking team how the wine is made and guides critical decisions during harvest, crush and aging. And finally, it also connects your values to your consumers’ values.
Characteristics of a Good Vision Statement
So, what should you concentrate on when crafting a vision statement? First, it is based on your values. Specifically, it’s based on your values about your business and about your product. The vision statement should connect you with the values of your consumers. Here are some basic characteristics of a good vision statement:
- It’s a foundational statement
- It’s short enough to memorize easily
- It’s value based
- It’s concise – no excess words
- It creates a particular expectation
Pitfalls to Avoid
Here are some common examples that I suggest you avoid, and how to fix them.
Using words that are vague.
For example: “to make great wine.”
Why: “Great wine” means different things to different people. It’s subjective; it depends on what the consumers’ wine preferences, wine maturity and experiences are. Instead focus on a characteristic of a great wine that is important to you. For example: A wine enjoyed during precious moments or with family during life’s best events.
Using phrases that don’t connect to your business, even if they’re cool and meaningful.
For example: “In vino veritas”
Why: While this is a great phrase, it doesn’t inform you, your employees or your consumers about what you do and what the expectations are. What about wine gives truth (to you)? Maybe you want to bring out how your wine is a true expression of its provenance.
Making it too long
For example: Basically any statement that is more than one sentence.
Why: The vision statement only works for you if you, our employees and your consumers can remember it. So, make it concise!
Your vision statement is the one thing that doesn’t change for your organization over time. So, take the time to make it right.