Babson Business: Draconis Vineyards
Name of Business: Draconis Vineyards. Website currently offline for federal compliance; contact Matt Powell at email@example.com for more information.
Mission: California Winery Start-up
Founder: Matt Powell; firstname.lastname@example.org; 916-690-4953; MBA FastTrack Grad
Revenues: I've pre-sold enough of vintage 2006 to break even…I'll have a 2007 vintage now. Since the wine cycle is the fall of each year for smaller wineries, most revenues are generated at release and through marketing events.
Initial Investment: Most of the initial investment was for compliance work, lawyers, and other misc. start-up costs. Since I also have one foot in the technical industry, I was able to barter my skill sets for things such as new barrels, chemicals, and fruit. I guess that's about as low cost as you can get… (smile).
Broke Even: Already, although the product is still in barrel. I don't actually collect revenue until the wine is done and ready to ship. Only then will I actually have some cash flow.
Where: Lodi, California
Employees: Wine is a seasonal business and so are the employees.
Founder's Past Life/Business: Technology Engineering Manager
How the Idea Began: I've been studying the Wine Industry for the better part of 15 years, guess it was time to actually do something about it!
Initial Preparation: Ramped up on my ideas with a business plan, financial models, and a milestone chart.
Favorite Thing about the Business: The freedom to choose my product and how I want to present it. It's a labor of love that gives me the feeling that I've actually accomplished something that people…really seem to enjoy.
Worst Thing about the Business: Being covered head to toe in grape juice—you end up super sticky.
Biggest Challenge: Selling
Lesson Learned: Never underestimate the generosity of people.