September 26, 2004
random thoughts: lessons from the vineyard
i have a 24 acre vineyard and winery. we grow and make pinot noir. this year as part of our regional exchange program with burgundy, we have two interns from that region. both of our interns are from wine growing families; one of them is from a very famous domaine (winery) in burgundy that has been making beautiful wines for 200 years. these two gals are here to "learn" from "new world" wine making practices.
last week we were pressing off the first of our fermentors, and one of the interns suggested that after pressing, we should fluff up the grapes; our answer, "why would we do that? we'd never done that before?" we were told that we'd extract an extra 5-6 gallons of juice left in the grapes. that simple tip applied across our fermentors will net us about 100 extra gallons, about 40 cases of wine. i guess over 200 years, you learn alot of these lessons. we were humbled. all we could "teach" them in return was the fun of riding pallet jacks down hill.
later we asked what the french wine makers were worried about. most of their worries revolve around labor availability and costs. we probed, but...
was this a small reminder and real world example of the innovator's dilemma? at a tactical level, you know every nuance of the process and your market; you've honed the business system to make the very best product. in fact, you dominate your categories; you are the benchmark of excellence. but you can be insulated by your success; can you respond at a strategic level to gross changes in markets and technologies? do you really even see it?
just a thought.
Posted by Dave at September 26, 2004 09:33 PM
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thanks for sharing sage wisdom from the vineyard. There are lessons on innovation and entrepreneurship everywhere. Some people think it takes a special something to be a technology innovator. I guess you have to have some technical skill. But you point out the real qualities required. The innovative mindset. This can be seen in many places.
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