It's been over a year and a half since my purchase of the winery and there has been one standout occurrence that has happened-the help I have received from several other winery owners and people within the industry. I knew that many people out in Wine Country were helpful as my Dad and I had experienced that during our search. It really is a different concept to get my arms around. I understand the neighborly aspect as I grew up in the Midwest. You always offer help, check in or simply help someone to their car. But as a whole, business owners are friendly with each other and work together on community projects but it's rare to take the time and answer questions from a competitor.
Maybe the use of the word competitor is the key difference. In general, we all are competitors but there are a few exceptions to the rule that view the industry through different glasses. Some of my fellow owners have extended hands of friendship but also guidance as well. They not only understand that if their neighbors succeed chances are it will help drive people to their winery as well. However, the most striking gesture is the guidance they have been willing to share with me. I have made decisions with planting vineyards, building a possible barrel building, inventory issues to shipping and compliance concerns. I have been fortunate to meet some quality people that I could turn to and ask questions. These people have been patient as they have been though the same bumps in the road as I am or will experience. They are willing to share their trials and tribulations to help me understand things more clearly as I try to make the right decision for my winery. Some of my neighbors have even gone so far as to put me into contact with someone they know will give us the right answers (even if it's not what we were hoping for).
Some of the best advice has come from sitting with my neighbors sharing a glass of wine. They continually stress to me that it's important to have patience. But to do things the way that is correct for DCW and not what was right for anyone else. Every winery is different but we can learn from each other. Sure, I want my customers to enjoy DCW wines and our experience but part of my duty to them is to make sure when they are not with us, they are having a great experience in wine county too. That's were knowing and working with neighbors comes into play.