Wine Business Classifieds is the Facebook of the wine industry without the emoticons. Relationships begin and end there; you can tag your friends in postings; your status update can now be uploaded to Twitter via an application; you can waste hours on it while you should be at work; but most significantly everybody knows your business.
On any given day in Used Equipment I watch wineries offloading multiple pieces of equipment in obvious and uncomfortable displays of liquidation. Space is available in warehouses that used to house four wineries, now house three, and “they” are looking for a fourth again. Today, I saw that Crushpad didn’t want to drive their Mitsubishi Forklift from San Francisco to Silverado Trail in Napa, so it’s up for sale.
In the Grapes & Bulk Wine section it’s painfully obvious that no seller wants to update their status as “In a relationship with ___” or worse, when it’s over, display a little cracked heart stating “is no longer in a ___” out of sheer terror that they may miss a “better deal” or not be available should a “better deal” come along.
There are three types of sellers currently vying for wineries hearts. The first fearless group of sellers is setting prices exactly as they’ve always set them – considering overhead and what they know the fruit is worth. The second group is noting that anything and everything is negotiable, and the third is willingly participating in the spot market auction, setting no beginning or end price, and letting the chips fall where they may or the fruit fall on the ground. Each group comes with its own set of issues. Thankfully Wine Business Classifieds doesn’t offer photo albums where evidence of you drowning your sorrows in Tequila can be perused by the masses.
After meandering my way through Used Equipment and claiming my finders fees for winery space available, I typically make my way to the gluttonous Bulk Wine section where half of the product on the market is being sold for pennies on the dollar and the other half is listed as TBN. That’s “To Be Negotiated” for you Baby Boomers and Gen Xers not familiar with such abbreviations. It’s cool I know you’re not dialed in with character limits and acronyms like TGIFPF (Thank God It’s Fist Pump Friday if you are following Facebook).
With a little deductive reasoning, a bit of common sense, and practice reading between the lines you can determine who’s ended their relationship; how much drinking they are planning on doing over the weekend or the hangover they are still suffering from; and where they’ve moved to according to their current location. All of these “status updates” leave buyers and sellers equally exposed.
Just like Facebook, no rule book has been written for Wine Business Classifieds and people are left to their own questionable devices or to apply traditional business ethics to non traditional channels. In light of what realists know to be the true “State of the Industry” it’s causing a bit of discomfort and separating the “Straight Shooters” from the “Shady Juans”.
So this morning when I got an email from a winery telling me my Wine Business listings looked good, I was able to look myself in the mirror and see a Straight Shooter who applied impeccable business ethics to both traditional and non traditional channels. It’s a Thomson Trait: Follow your intuition and call it like you see it.
Where does that leave us with Facebook?
Well, my profile is unsearchable. You’ll have to find me on Wine Business Classifieds and call me. And, I see right through status updates like “half-way is the only way” or “I’m having my cake and eating it too!” or “It’s complicated.”
Here @ThomsonVnyrds – whether the relationship is business, personal, online or offline it still comes down to people and being a Straight Shooter. You’re not going to convince me any other way, “State of the Industry” or no “State of the Industry”. Happy Facebooking and Wine Business Classified Trolling!