Running a small business is considered a challenge by most. In the case of BARGETTO Winery, the longest running winery in the Santa Cruz Mountains, this statement proves especially true. With two tasting rooms, a wine club department, a DTC department, an events department, a variety of marketing/distribution channels, administration/sales/marketing/production/shipping support staff and most importantly the task of ensuring that the ongoing production of high-quality wine stays on track…running the ever-moving parts of BARGETTO Winery requires great leadership, vision, business savvy and focus to say the least. Add to this the pressure of maintaining and growing a family business of 85 years/3 generations and it is clear to see being President of BARGETTO Winery requires two feet firmly grounded.
BARGETTO Winery is known to be a business that fosters a family culture. What was it like growing up in a wine family and what are some of the most valuable lessons you learned about the wine business while growing up?
Growing up in a wine family always seemed very natural to me. It was only when I became older that I realized that my childhood experiences were somewhat different from others. Not too many other people had a business in their backyard, let alone a winery. We learned at a young age the importance of integrity, customer service, and hospitality. We learned the importance of the family working as one unit and that the business was not about any one person. Lastly, while there is a romance to winemaking, the importance of hard work, sacrifice, and vision was also engrained.
How long have you been the President of BARGETTO Winery and what eventually led you to becoming President?
I became President in July 2012. I can’t believe that it has already been 6 ½ years! The family made a decision to offer the position to me after a Board of Director’s Meeting discussion. I accepted it. With my years of experience at the various levels of the winery and with my degree and experience in Accounting, the timing was right for this new chapter in my life.
How would you characterize the things you do on a typical day/week at the winery?
A typical week includes meetings with managers to discuss sales/marketing strategies, operations and personnel needs. I also spend a fair amount of time performing accounting duties and reviewing financial reports, attending a weekly comparative tasting, and meeting with our IT consultant and staff regarding implementation/integration of computer hardware and software products. Most weeks are not typical to say the least. There is always something more to do.
What do you think the biggest business challenge is for wineries of your size?
We have many challenges for a winery of our size; though I think the biggest challenge is the highly competitive nature of the wine business especially in light of the many corporate mergers. The onset of more craft breweries and cideries has added to that competition as well. For 85 years my family has met the challenges that it has faced to provide quality products and excellent hospitality; and hopefully it will continue to do so for another 85 years.
What makes BARGETTO Winery different from other wineries in the Santa Cruz Mountains?
Our very rich and long history in the Santa Cruz Mountains sets us apart from the other wineries. Also we are willing to try new things and to offer new products. The wine industry is ever changing and we need to make sure that we change with it. In addition to producing premium, varietal wines for many years, in the late 1960’s my father was willing to experiment with mead and fresh fruit wines, something that was unique and new at the time. Last year we introduced our sparkling mead, one of the first of its kind. We continue to enhance our tasting rooms to offer a better tasting experience and to offer new events especially to our Wine Club Members.