Denis Mackenzie, An Interview: Owning And Operating A Successful Winery
The wine industry is undoubtedly one of the most profitable in the world, but running a successful wine making business isn’t an easy endeavour for just anyone to undertake.
With a wide range of skills and knowledge involved in taking any business to the next level; how would someone go about not only marketing their winery, but creating quality produce that will keep buyers coming back for more?
Well, we were lucky enough to have been invited to interview one of the leading winery owners in the U.S, Mr Denis Mackenzie, to get to grips with everything you need to know about owning and operating a successful winery of your own.
Denis Mackenzie started in Lake Erie in 2001
I have owned my own winery in the infamous wine growing region of Lake Erie, Pennsylvania, since 2001 – but my experience in selling wines and spirits dates back further, from when I worked for an international marketing company that specialised in the niche.
Denis Mackenzie: Tips on hiring staff
To be honest, as I’d been working in and around the industry for quite some time, I probably had a better insight than most before starting up my own winery, but I quickly found out that I had been somewhat naïve in my thought process.
The crux of any business is to hire good staff and invest, invest, invest; but I quickly found that advice from those in the industry (mainly from the vineyard owners that I’d previously worked with), and a good marketing strategy would be key to realize the full potential.
Denis Mackenzie on reaching and maintaining success and the initial challenges
Of course it is. The most important thing I have learned in my transition from marketing to wine making (and selling) is that reaching out and offering an experience is just as important as producing high-quality wine.
If your product is good, it often speaks for itself; but a winery needs to function in more ways than simply distributing wine. We make sure to offer not just great-tasting wines that keep our customers coming back for more, but we engage both locally and nationally by hosting events, sponsoring charity nights and we are part of the wider Lake Erie industry group – which offers self-guided tours.
We currently operate internationally (as well as in the U.S) and are planning to expand our reach by marketing to the Australian niche soon. I am also toying with the idea of growing new species of grapes, to offer our patrons an even wider selection.
This means that the challenges never really cease, but when you are as passionate about your business as I am, you invest just as much of your time to really make your business as successful as it can be.
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