It will pay to sit up straight and think about this quote : "Defining a new normal and acting on that is more prudent than waiting for the old normal to return." That's a note from Rob McMillan, founder of Silicon Valley Bank's Wine Division and author of their Annual State of the Wine Industry Report. Of all the prelims, this is the most important lesson.
I haven't been blogging a lot this year, because the paradigm shift initiated by the current recessionary economic environment has been confusing to all. I've been hesitant to write about the old order and best business practices to maintain that order, and it just hasn't seemed appropriate to be a booster of techniques and terms of the "old normal".
Now, my prognosis is that the shake out is almost done. The owners of cult wineries fueled by the excess money earned in Silicon Valley are twisting and turning and trying to survive, and these wannabe winmakers have learned -- or should have learned -- that their $120 cabs and $80 chards are just not going to sell beyond their own personal rolodexs. The big guys got bigger (Foley, an excellent example) by buying low and smartly are using the synergies that come from centralizing management functions to reduce G&A and other fixed costs and stay profitable.
So maybe 2010 will bring some structure to the industry, and the "new normal" -- yet to be defined and quantified -- will provide grist for the blogger mill once again.
I'm really looking forward to the Unified Symposium to schmooze and get the skivvy. One of the nice things about survival mode, I've observed, is that the best and brightest people are more willing to share... or at least to drop a few veils.