This is a part of a continuing series of Q&As with members of the American wine community from across the U.S.
Vintner Magazine will share business and personal insights from Winery Owners, Vintners, Marketing Managers, Sales Directors, QCQA staff and others each month to help you get to know each other better in the industry and learn more to better develop your own brand.
Earl Sullivan, co-founder/Head Winemaker, Telaya Wine Co. — Garden City, Idaho
VINTNER: How has your business strategy evolved to help grow and stay competitive?
SULLIVAN: We were able to build a new facility in the past four years that allowed for us to deliver the type of hospitality that we were seeking. We are a boutique winery focused on delivering the highest level of hospitality possible. We feel that by focusing on the consumer experience that we are able to distinguish our brand and keep our growth focused by having customers wanting the wines but also wanting the next experiential event at Telaya.
VINTNER: What has your winery changed because of the pandemic that you feel will stay long term and be a benefit for the company?
SULLIVAN:We shifted our business hours to allow and we shifted to micro events. These are scheduled, pre-sat, pre-poured events for 24 people or less which, again, focus on high-touch hospitality. Changing to micro-events has really helped us show how we are keeping people safe and making them feel comfortable coming out to the winery.
VINTNER: Who is your mentor in the industry and why? What have you learned from them?
SULLIVAN:I have a ton of mentors. From growers to producers. I learn something from each of them each time I meet up with them. I learn as much about the growing or producing techniques as I do about the history of our industry.
VINTNER: If you had one business strategy that you could implement to better the wine industry, what would it be?
SULLIVAN: A more focused approach to understanding the basic fundamentals of the numbers.