Suit against Bryant Family alleges falling sales

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Re: Suit against Bryant Family alleges falling sales

#51 Post by Steve Crawford » June 10th, 2019, 12:10 pm

Ian Dorin wrote:
June 10th, 2019, 6:02 am
GregT wrote:
June 7th, 2019, 12:02 pm
lleichtman wrote:
June 7th, 2019, 9:56 am


Winemaker----Distributor-----retail (store, restaurant, don't think online sales count, secondary market)
See post 31.

Jim - I was thinking numbers like yours too, but it was all guesswork.

I looked for the Colgin sale too but couldn't find anything.

In the past, Bryant has said they get between 1.1 and 2.8 tons per acre, but it's usually on the low side. So for math purposes assuming 2 tons an acre at 60 cases per ton, that's 120 cases per acre. They have 13 acres, so that gives them 1560 cases. Assuming your $4000/case, that gives them $6.2M, or about $480K per acre.

Those are all made up numbers though, and I don't know EBITDA or how one sets a value on the revenue stream, because it seems like there's a bit of mystery there.

As mentioned, Total wine sells Bryant. The prices at Total range from $189-699, depending on the bottling. I don't know what the mix is, or what Total is paying. For high-end labels Total is often willing to take a loss because the labels bring people into the store and Total really makes their money on private labels and closeouts. So maybe they're paying standard wholesale for Bryant, who knows. But I suspect they're not selling a lot of Bryant anyway. And if Bryant is desperate enough to sell to Total, they're probably offering substantial discounts elsewhere.
My understanding that is that total production at Bryant is over 3000 cases per year.
bryant buys some abreu fruit in addition to their estate fruit. this could make up for the difference between those two figures.

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Re: Suit against Bryant Family alleges falling sales

#52 Post by Mel Knox » June 10th, 2019, 3:05 pm

Ever since I started selling barrels to cult wineries --and I'm trying to quit--people have said that these wineries created an artificial shortage. Of course, what's an artificial shortage in Napa is the library of a prestigious chateau in Bordeaux.

Recently people wondered if Parker's retirement spelled doom for the Guigal family. I don't think so, but could the absence of Parker love hurt various cult wineries?? Or have they established themselves, just like Guigal? I don't know, but for sure nobody could give a boost to a new winery like Parker.

We also have the question of generational shift. People have gone insane for Burgundy. Maybe all the guys who lined up for Bryant,etc retired and are now looking to drink what they already bought. Maybe the younger generation cannot afford Bryant etc so they are all clamoring for Popelouchum...
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Re: Suit against Bryant Family alleges falling sales

#53 Post by Wes Barton » June 10th, 2019, 7:44 pm

Mel Knox wrote:
June 10th, 2019, 3:05 pm
We also have the question of generational shift. People have gone insane for Burgundy. Maybe all the guys who lined up for Bryant,etc retired and are now looking to drink what they already bought. Maybe the younger generation cannot afford Bryant etc so they are all clamoring for Popelouchum...
Heh.

Also, a lot of Berserker discussions show people buying a label of long agers for a number of years, then deciding they've got enough of those and moving on. Tastes change. People correct to better line up their purchases with their consumption habits. It's a tough business, and easy to see many reasons customers would fall away, perhaps quickly and dramatically, unpredicted, leaving them in a quandary. How do they bring in new customers or adjust to a new business model? Looks like they've found themselves a few years into a crisis.
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Re: Suit against Bryant Family alleges falling sales

#54 Post by GregT » June 11th, 2019, 1:17 am

Robert Dentice wrote:
June 9th, 2019, 1:27 am
Roy Piper wrote:
June 9th, 2019, 12:22 am
Alan Eden wrote:
June 6th, 2019, 8:32 am
$125 M valuation on a business that makes $1.7M in profit, doesnt seem like workable numbers, i know the land probably is the bulk of it but still.
Agree but do LOL at the state of "valuation" in today's world..

Bryant: $1.7M profit.... $125M valuation.
Uber: -$4B profit.... $75B valuation
Tesla: -$3.4B profit.... 36B valuation.
Uber and Tesla dream of the day they actually make a $1.7 million dollar profit. champagne.gif
Jeff Bezos (ie the richest man in the world) was criticized for years for not turning a profit and I think it has worked out all right. The difference between a winery and a tech enabled company is that you have an input (grapes) that is not infinitely scaleable.
It's not always about scale though. Bezos had a sound model that could have been profitable at many points but he just kept pouring money back into the business. His model also grew and adapted. From selling one non-perishable item, he went to selling lots of items, then to being a platform for others to use, then to being a fulfillment center for others, then to digitizing his first product and producing hardware, then to selling storage, etc. Uber has no path to profitability at all, until they get rid of drivers. And if they think they're going to make money delivering food or other products, Bezos will already be in that space. Tesla doesn't seem like they have a path to profit either, although they have the good fortune of being in a business where their large competitors are ossified.

As far as Bryant goes, does anyone know how much of their product was sold overseas? I kind of think that they and the rest of the "cult" wineries are distinctly American and without a Parker to whip up hysteria every so often, there will be nobody to impress with a bottle. The Europeans not only have their own markets, their wines are also likely to be more acceptable to the Chinese as the politics are perhaps less of an issue, and the US after all, used them for the model in the first place. So maybe the wines will be like Guess jeans, or Calvin Kleins, that once commanded a premium but are now at TJ Maxx.
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Re: Suit against Bryant Family alleges falling sales

#55 Post by Mel Knox » June 11th, 2019, 7:47 am

The Bryant story reminds me
1/that there is always somebody out there trying to steal your business
2/business conditions are always dynamic
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Re: Suit against Bryant Family alleges falling sales

#56 Post by John Morris » June 12th, 2019, 9:19 pm

GregT wrote:
June 11th, 2019, 1:17 am
As far as Bryant goes, does anyone know how much of their product was sold overseas? I kind of think that they and the rest of the "cult" wineries are distinctly American and without a Parker to whip up hysteria every so often, there will be nobody to impress with a bottle. The Europeans not only have their own markets, their wines are also likely to be more acceptable to the Chinese as the politics are perhaps less of an issue, and the US after all, used them for the model in the first place. So maybe the wines will be like Guess jeans, or Calvin Kleins, that once commanded a premium but are now at TJ Maxx.
Good point about California wineries not having the Asian demand. i think that's right.

As for Calvin Klein, I don't think the problem was that fashion changed of demand dropped off. The problem was that they drastically expanded the range of products for which they licensed the name. In the short run, that boosted revenue, but they miscalculated and massively devalued the brand when you find it on $20 sunglasses and the like. At one point (in the 90s, as I recall), Klein was buying back dozens of licenses to try to restore the brand value, but it was too late.
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Re: Suit against Bryant Family alleges falling sales

#57 Post by GregT » June 13th, 2019, 12:56 am

Yeah, that's probably right. Same with Pierre Cardin and many others. Once your brand is devalued, you're pretty well screwed. It's really hard to come back.
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Re: Suit against Bryant Family alleges falling sales

#58 Post by R M Kriete » June 13th, 2019, 10:22 am

GregT wrote:
June 13th, 2019, 12:56 am
Once your brand is devalued, you're pretty well screwed. It's really hard to come back.

Said Robert Mondavi

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Re: Suit against Bryant Family alleges falling sales

#59 Post by Ian Dorin » June 13th, 2019, 10:40 am

Mel Knox wrote:
June 10th, 2019, 3:05 pm
Ever since I started selling barrels to cult wineries --and I'm trying to quit--people have said that these wineries created an artificial shortage. Of course, what's an artificial shortage in Napa is the library of a prestigious chateau in Bordeaux.

Recently people wondered if Parker's retirement spelled doom for the Guigal family. I don't think so, but could the absence of Parker love hurt various cult wineries?? Or have they established themselves, just like Guigal? I don't know, but for sure nobody could give a boost to a new winery like Parker.

We also have the question of generational shift. People have gone insane for Burgundy. Maybe all the guys who lined up for Bryant,etc retired and are now looking to drink what they already bought. Maybe the younger generation cannot afford Bryant etc so they are all clamoring for Popelouchum...
I think what has hurt Bryant family is the radical instability at the winemaker position since Helen Turley stopped making the wine, coupled with the winery hasn't achieved at the level since Turley was making the wine. If I'm not mistaken, no one has lasted more than 3 years since Turley departed. Melka makes wines differently than Aubert, than Helen Kiplinger, than Todd Alexander, so unless they were all following the same formula, I have to assume there were some level of swings in what the wines taste like. I have only compared Turley vintages against non-Turley vintages, but would be interesting to taste one vintage from each era of winemaker.
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Re: Suit against Bryant Family alleges falling sales

#60 Post by Mel Knox » June 13th, 2019, 6:54 pm

I haven t been to the winery since Todd was there and I thought he did an excellent job. Helen came and went so quickly I forgot she was there and she is hard to forget!
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Re: Suit against Bryant Family alleges falling sales

#61 Post by John Ammons » June 18th, 2019, 11:03 am

Article in today's San Francisco Chronicle on this matter:

https://www.sfchronicle.com/wine/articl ... 008534.php

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Re: Suit against Bryant Family alleges falling sales

#62 Post by Steve Crawford » June 18th, 2019, 11:20 am

double digit sales growth this year? that's funny stuff.

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Re: Suit against Bryant Family alleges falling sales

#63 Post by CJ Beazley » June 18th, 2019, 12:47 pm

GregT wrote:
June 13th, 2019, 12:56 am
Yeah, that's probably right. Same with Pierre Cardin and many others. Once your brand is devalued, you're pretty well screwed. It's really hard to come back.
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Re: Suit against Bryant Family alleges falling sales

#64 Post by Rboinski » June 18th, 2019, 1:07 pm

Steve Crawford wrote:
June 18th, 2019, 11:20 am
double digit sales growth this year? that's funny stuff.
Wont be hard if the previous year left an artificial gap in sales from the fires of 2017... no idea of their release schedule though so its complete speculation.
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Re: Suit against Bryant Family alleges falling sales

#65 Post by Steve Crawford » June 18th, 2019, 3:01 pm

their forthcoming release is 2017. 2016 scored well, but that was 2016. i don't see how a brand who has been on the downswing for years, new winemaker, with bad PR, selling a down vintage wine, get's an additional 10% in sales.

they clearly have a special site and are looking to put out world class wines. i hope they can keep their winemaker for the long term like their neighbor colgin. i just think they need a different model long term rather than living off of their reputation which was built on wines costing a lot less and were made with a winemaker with a great track record.

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Trouble in Bryantville

#66 Post by Chris Atkins » June 22nd, 2019, 6:12 pm

While reading the Lauren Ridenhour lawsuit against Bettina and Donald Bryant Jr (Bryant Family Vineyards) the following allegation immediately caught my attention. "The winery has suffered from excessive back inventory as of July 2018 of over $14 million in prior vintages, and an approximate 40% decline in sales over the last three years"

This got me thinking, are things really this dire at the revered Pritchard Hill Estate? I subsequently placed a phone call and the folks at Bryant would certainly beg to differ. I was informed that they currently have a "2 year waiting list to purchase wine".

Wait a minute, a two year waiting list, and $14 million in unsold wine, do not correlate whatsoever!

Someone isn't telling the truth.

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Re: Trouble in Bryantville

#67 Post by Ian S » June 22nd, 2019, 6:50 pm

There are 3 sides to every story.
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Re: Trouble in Bryantville

#68 Post by Arv R » June 22nd, 2019, 8:32 pm

Chris Atkins wrote:
June 22nd, 2019, 6:12 pm
While reading the Lauren Ridenhour lawsuit against Bettina and Donald Bryant Jr (Bryant Family Vineyards) the following allegation immediately caught my attention. "The winery has suffered from excessive back inventory as of July 2018 of over $14 million in prior vintages, and an approximate 40% decline in sales over the last three years"

This got me thinking, are things really this dire at the revered Pritchard Hill Estate? I subsequently placed a phone call and the folks at Bryant would certainly beg to differ. I was informed that they currently have a "2 year waiting list to purchase wine".

Wait a minute, a two year waiting list, and $14 million in unsold wine, do not correlate whatsoever!

Someone isn't telling the truth.
A two year waiting list....and somehow large amounts of Bryant make their way to the ultra exclusive retailer known as Total Wine?
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Re: Suit against Bryant Family alleges falling sales

#69 Post by AlexO » June 22nd, 2019, 9:16 pm

Steve Crawford wrote:
June 10th, 2019, 12:10 pm
Ian Dorin wrote:
June 10th, 2019, 6:02 am
GregT wrote:
June 7th, 2019, 12:02 pm

See post 31.

Jim - I was thinking numbers like yours too, but it was all guesswork.

I looked for the Colgin sale too but couldn't find anything.

In the past, Bryant has said they get between 1.1 and 2.8 tons per acre, but it's usually on the low side. So for math purposes assuming 2 tons an acre at 60 cases per ton, that's 120 cases per acre. They have 13 acres, so that gives them 1560 cases. Assuming your $4000/case, that gives them $6.2M, or about $480K per acre.

Those are all made up numbers though, and I don't know EBITDA or how one sets a value on the revenue stream, because it seems like there's a bit of mystery there.

As mentioned, Total wine sells Bryant. The prices at Total range from $189-699, depending on the bottling. I don't know what the mix is, or what Total is paying. For high-end labels Total is often willing to take a loss because the labels bring people into the store and Total really makes their money on private labels and closeouts. So maybe they're paying standard wholesale for Bryant, who knows. But I suspect they're not selling a lot of Bryant anyway. And if Bryant is desperate enough to sell to Total, they're probably offering substantial discounts elsewhere.
My understanding that is that total production at Bryant is over 3000 cases per year.
bryant buys some abreu fruit in addition to their estate fruit. this could make up for the difference between those two figures.
But how much is going into the DB4 and how much are they making of the other two? Pretty sure they're not making 3000 cases of their flagship. Probably 750-1000 cases of their top 2 wines at most.
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Re: Suit against Bryant Family alleges falling sales

#70 Post by AlexO » June 22nd, 2019, 9:18 pm

R M Kriete wrote:
June 13th, 2019, 10:22 am
GregT wrote:
June 13th, 2019, 12:56 am
Once your brand is devalued, you're pretty well screwed. It's really hard to come back.

Said Robert Mondavi

+1
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Re: Suit against Bryant Family alleges falling sales

#71 Post by GregT » June 22nd, 2019, 9:23 pm

Yep.

"Emblem" anybody?

Tough business.
This got me thinking, are things really this dire at the revered Pritchard Hill Estate? I subsequently placed a phone call and the folks at Bryant would certainly beg to differ. I was informed that they currently have a "2 year waiting list to purchase wine".

Wait a minute, a two year waiting list, and $14 million in unsold wine, do not correlate whatsoever!
That's great stuff Chris. I guess it depends on exactly what it is you're trying to sell.

And to whom.
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Re: Suit against Bryant Family alleges falling sales

#72 Post by AlexO » June 22nd, 2019, 9:28 pm

Mel tangentially touched on this issue, but I think there is a bigger issue of generational shift than most people realize. Let's look at the history. Bryant / Dalla Valle / Colgin / Harlan / Abreu / Araujo / Grace (with the notable exception of SE) all rode the cult wave of the 90's. While I wasn't buying back then, I believe that most of those wines sold for between $75 - $150/ Bottle in their very early days. Let's say you were getting into wine in the mid 90s and you were 35 when you had the means and the desire to join many of these aforementioned lists. Today, that person is now 60 years old. That is probably the youngest person of that wine generation. Many are probably now well into their 60s and 70s. As these buyers have grown older, let's assume they increased their financial ability and position and were able to continue buying these wines as they raised their prices to $300 then $400 and even $500 (and what for Harlan, like $800??) a bottle.

Let's say you're that same 35 - 40 year old today. It's a lot harder to jump into $400 and $500 bottles of wine when there are plenty of stellar wines in the $100-$250/bottle range. If you're one of those wineries I mentioned earlier, you're going to have a much harder time finding people willing to pay list price when most of those wines are now readily available in most high-end retail shops and many supermarkets (at least the nicer ones here in Texas).

My point is simply there is no way that it is going to be possible for those wineries to replace their ageing list members with younger buyers willing to dive in at that price point. Since there is no one (to my knowledge) who has ever lowered their price (Dominus doesn't count and neither does Kapcsandy's 10% range variation) things are really starting to prime themselves for more wineries like Bryant that simply can't continue to do business the way that they have.
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Re: Suit against Bryant Family alleges falling sales

#73 Post by David Baum » June 22nd, 2019, 11:22 pm

Have you met our friend Alan?

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Re: Suit against Bryant Family alleges falling sales

#74 Post by Robert M yers » June 22nd, 2019, 11:50 pm

I follow your train of thought Alex....
Last edited by Robert M yers on June 23rd, 2019, 6:58 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Suit against Bryant Family alleges falling sales

#75 Post by Chris Atkins » June 22nd, 2019, 11:57 pm

Alex you nailed it! I am exactly that demographic you referenced, in my early thirties in the mid nineties and I was told by Harvey Bushbinder at Marin Wine Cellar to go get Bryant Family and Harlan Estate. I paid only $85 for 1993 Harlan at retail. I was first offered the 1995 Bryant which was only $50 a bottle, made by Helen Turley, and absolutely dynamite. By 2000 demand was so strong for these two producers that Harvey would offer me double what I paid at release, so half my allocation went to him, and we were drinking the other half essentially for free. These were the real waiting lists and Parker loved them. The party lasted for about 5 years and then release prices began to soar during the 2003-2006 vintages ending the modern Cult Wine Era 1996-2008.

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Re: Suit against Bryant Family alleges falling sales

#76 Post by Arv R » June 23rd, 2019, 8:36 am

At the end of all this, between the legal fees and brand damage, the Bryants will likely wish they had just paid their loan 'consultant' the fees requested. But it seems they have a habit of continually wandering into legal tar pits....
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Re: Suit against Bryant Family alleges falling sales

#77 Post by Rich K0rz€nk0 » June 23rd, 2019, 5:07 pm

GregT wrote:
June 6th, 2019, 1:44 pm
Just because someone may have a $300M art portfolio doesn't mean that they haven't borrowed a similar amount using the art as collateral. In my line of work I run into multi multi millionaires all the time. The asset side of the balance sheet looks great but when I look at the liability side, then suddenly the Net Worth figure doesn't look nearly as impressive...
That's true. In this case, they pledged $300M in art against a $98M loan. It came up for renewal and they wanted to renegotiate it. When the bank wanted access to their income, rather than just the art, they claimed that the winery income had decreased over the past couple years and was worth less than previously. Ridenhour told them they'd have to disclose that to the banks and she alleges that consequently they fired her.

Who knows if they're intentionally undervaluing the winery to discourage banks to look at it, or whether it really is of less value than it was. But the winery has lost some cachet. Once your wine is available at Total Wine you really can't call it a "cult" wine any more.
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