The Wine Industry Network compared 2 major reports on DTC sales and marketing trends. I typically read industry reports with a grain of salt because they tend to refer to the large-winery-industry, which is very different from the small-winery-industry. However, I noticed the most successful wineries I work with have already implemented the article’s advice.
According to Dawn Dolan of the Wine Industry Network Advisor, these are the Quick Take Aways:
- Online sales are increasing; be sure your e-commerce is accessible and user-friendly for not only your computer-using clients, but optimized for ease of use from your mobile users. Online sales represent the biggest opportunity for growth.
- Utilize your tasting room for client acquisition.
- The better trained your tasting room personnel, the higher the returns. Invest in staff training.
- High intensity marketing = high returns. Develop a multi-pronged marketing plan.
To read Dawn’s entire article Click here
The reports discussed in the article were:
When I was at the Scaling New Heights conference last June (keeping up with my fellow ProAdvisors), I met Ingrid Edstrom and “Penny” from www.AskABookkeeper.com. Ingrid is a ProAdvisor and has been recognized as one of the accounting professions Top 40 Under 40. She has an active Facebook group and a YouTube Channel where she answers questions about bookkeeping.
I was Ingrid’s guest during her First Friday Facebook Live event. While she primarily serves travel agencies, we both agreed that monitoring the Gross Margin of each sales channel is a critical financial metric that can provide a wealth of useful information.
To find out who “Penny” is you will have to watch the video.
Click here for the YouTube video Take Me to YouTube
Join her FaceBook Group Take me to FaceBook
I updated the Costing Course (How to Calculate the True Cost of Your Wine) and I added several activities so you can practice some of the techniques I discuss.
I also added a new module with a 4th costing book example. This module explains the different choices you can make when laying out the costing book. Depending on your winemaking processes and your business needs, you may choose to have a few or a lot of bulk lots. If you have just a few bulk lots in your costing book, it will be easier to maintain the costing book.
If you have more than $500,000 in revenue in California (excluding distribution and wholesale sales), you are subject to the sales tax filing rules that were effective April 1, 2019. Many small wineries now meet this requirement and filing the California Sales Tax return is much more complicated than in the past. You can thank South Dakota vs Wayfair for this new complication. In the past, the district tax only applied to companies that had a “physical presence” in that district, but it now applies to any winery (or business) that exceeds $500,000 in retail sales in California.
This is not as simple as looking up the zip code because it might cross different districts. For example, the zip code for Healdsburg, 95448, includes addresses in the City of Healdsburg which are taxed at 8.75% whereas an address in Dry Creek Valley which is outside the city has the rate of 8.25%
The State of California has a nice webpage where you can plug in an address and it will lookup the sales tax rate. Click Here. But it is not realistic to lookup up every address.
You could signup for a service like ShipCompliant or Compli, which are programs designed for the wine industry, but these are expensive, and you may not justify the fee just to file your California Sales Tax Return.
Here is the outline for a process that will cost about $210 per year. I will record a complete video to show the steps, but in the meantime, these are the basic steps
- Sign up for a Basic plan at Taxjar.com. This is a sales tax program that will look up the sales tax rate. It is not an alcohol compliance program, so you will have to keep an eye out for those details with whatever procedure you are currently using.
- Find a report from your POS program that includes the shipping address and the taxable sales.
- Edit that report to fit the format required by Taxjar.
- Upload the report to Taxjar.
- Print the California report and use those details to enter the sales in the various districts.
This process is super fast. The most complicated part is formatting the report to match Taxjar’s required format, but once you do it the first time, it will be easier the next time.
Note: TaxJar could file the California return for you, but there is additional information that must be included, so you still have to file the return yourself using the CDTFA portal. But, having TaxJar summarize the sales for each district is a huge time saver.
If you already have ShipCompliant: You need to turn on the reporting module, and then turn on the California state form. Make sure your settings have been revised for the new rules. As with TaxJar, you will use ShipCompliant to calculate the sales by district, but you will still need to manually enter the details into the CDTFA sales tax portal.
If you are interested in the full mini-course on how to file the California sales tax return, fill out the form below and we will notify you as soon as it is ready.
Here is the recording for Office Hours. The topics that came up were:
- Tagging Reimbursable Expenses – at the 19 min. mark.
- Tracking custom crush client invoices – at the 32 min. mark.
Silver Club members, please log in to view the recording
I am not a huge fan of QuickBooks Online, however for some situations, it is a good choice. Here is my list of the Pros and Cons to QBO for a winery:
- Great bank feed integration
- Good integration with Square (there is still an extra step, but it’s easy)
- Up to 5 people can use it simultaneously
- PC and Mac users can both access
- VineSpring has a new integration, but I have not tested it
- No Custom Summary report (only in the Accountant version)
- Cannot do the 2-step bottling method
- No Inventory value adjustment, only quantity (workaround is to do a JE check)
- Hard to have multiple windows open
- Bank reconciliation is clunky
- The bank reconciliation report does not update after you make changes (for example, if you delete a duplicate transaction, it will still show up on the report)
- No sales by rep report
- Chart of Accounts and Item list will only show up alphabetically (workaround is to use numbers and a dash)
- Payroll is funky and it cannot do job costing, so my usual procedure which is super simple in Desktop does not work. This is not a problem for a super small winery, but once you have staff it becomes a big problem.
I find that the best use for QBO is the small, startup winery where the owner is doing the bookkeeping, because you want to take advantage of as many automatic integrations as possible. You will need some method of processing credit card charges, and Square integrates nicely. However, Square is a short term solution, and as soon as you can justify a true winery program that will handle a Wine Club, you want to get that going so that you can start to capture details about your customers.