We’re honored to be featured in Ted Loos’ New York Times article on the business behind the wine industry.
A Savvy Breed of Winemaker Takes Business Sense to the Winery
By TED LOOS FEB. 12, 2016
Bill Price at Durell Vineyard in Sonoma, Calif. Mr. Price was a founder of TPG Capital. Credit Drew Kelly for The New York Times
There’s an old saying: If you want to make a small fortune in the wine business, start with a large one.
Many a wealthy person has discovered the axiom’s truth the hard way, buying a winery with the idea of being a gentleman farmer, overseeing a picturesque and prestigious business, with the added bonus of living atop a hillside covered with vines.
Reality often intervened. The long-term capital investment, large fixed costs and delayed revenue — there are at least six years between planting vines and having a wine ready to sell — either forced the dreamer out of business or turned the enterprise into a charming but money-losing hobby.
But today’s Napa and Sonoma regions, still the epicenter of American wine, are increasingly populated by a different breed of hardheaded types. They created serious wealth with their first career and have no intention of treating their second one any differently.
In fact, they are fascinated by the myriad challenges of making a wine business work — and they would take failure to make a profit as a personal affront to the egos they developed in investment banking, technology and other typical first careers.