Why cheap or ‘do-it-yourself’ software costs you more in the long run

November 22, 2016

I’m aware of some vendors advertising fantastically low pricing supported by a ‘do-it-yourself’ setup and recorded video training, essentially leaving it up to you to figure out how their system fits your operations…or doesn’t. Let’s be honest, winery operations are not rocket science, but the reality is that things get complex quickly when working with growers & vineyard management, multiple lots, multiple protocols, logistics and LOTS of really important reporting and record keeping. Therefore, when we go through the effort to analyze a production software to help us with the onerous tasks of running a winery, it’s critical to determine the following:

  • Do they offer solid training on the specifics of software as it directly pertains to my winery operations – how we do work orders, labs, reports, and organize our workflow?

  • Do they assist with transitioning our current system (e.g. paper, excel, other vendor) to the new system?

  • What are their support options/times of service/can I call, email, text, etc., and if there is a charge for support, how much does it cost?

  • Do they have experienced winery staff that prevents me from explaining the wine business to them just to answer my seemingly simple question?

  • Is there a community of other users that I can also tap for peer reference on how to accomplish certain aspects of my particular nuanced operations?

  • ‘Easy’ and ‘intuitive’ are great marketing terms, but does the system reflect a real knowledge of the wine industry, or are they simply another software company trying to learn from me to fit their square peg into our round hole?

  • Lastly, are they building for the future as well, to stay ahead of the curve and offer the capabilities and interfaces that I haven’t thought to ask yet, e.g. new mobile platforms, new wine technology vendor integrations, etc.?

You can think of Vintrace as a partner in your business

Our setup process starts with our very first conversation with you. We discuss all the nuances of your business, e.g. multiple bonds/AP02’s, how the winery works with data currently, understanding lab work flow, grower interactions and logistics, bottling vendor procurement, and numerous other idiosyncrasies of how you run your winery.  Vintrace is dedicated to making sure there is a fit in both directions.  We don’t do a ton of advertising per-se, because our customers speak for us with their positive remarks and recommendations to colleagues to try it out.  Therefore, our marketing approach is to ensure a mutually good fit.

The vintrace setup process is extensive and rigorous but not onerous

We understand how much potential there is for disruption in your business – moving from one system to another. Our staff gets it too.  That’s why we take the time to get to know you, then setup a project plan that includes who/what/when that is realistic and comprehensive. Our trainers are former winery staff, and often provide on-site training using familiar terms – not software geek speak. We train on a database that is a copy of your new production database so your staff is familiar with the lot names, tank numbers and layout, etc.

Before we load a database with your data, we subject the data to vigorous data integrity tests to assure everything passes the ‘reasonable test’.  During training the support team is introduced and you’re encouraged to contact us. We make sure you are content with the training and offer follow up training to be sure, as well post -install training that’s accessible when it’s convenient for you. We actually encourage contacting our support staff… there is no charge to do so and we want you to ask us a question when it occurs instead of struggling unnecessarily.  Most importantly, our staff are from the wine business, so we really understand your point of view and make the best use of your time by getting you an answer as fast as possible.

Experience counts and our staff have it in spades

The bottom line is experience counts and Vintrace is there for you from the beginning and at every turn!  See a sample of some of our staff bios below:

pb-headshot-2Patrick – Management, – More than fourteen years as a grower, winemaker and GM for a few small and larger wineries. His prior corporate business acumen, wine industry experience and also teaching wine business at Sonoma State University, provide a backdrop to closely relate to the real life needs and practical applications of vintrace customers, now and in the future.
pb-headshot-2A.J. – Account management – A.J. started in the wine business back in his high school days packing wine club shipments on the weekends for a fulfillment company. Since then he has been a bulk wine broker, worked in Direct-to-Consumer sales and software, and as a harvest intern at a custom crush facility, providing a full spectrum of experience from grape to DTC when assisting customers exploring vintrace options.
pb-headshot-2Hillary – Support/Marketing – Hillary has worked 7 harvests, bouncing between Marlborough, NZ and California; working primarily in the cellar she became well acquainted with using Vintrace, she also worked in tasting rooms to expand her experience. Her degree from Cal Poly’s Agricultural Business department, with a concentration in enology, allows her to dive deep into the world of winemaking with new vintrace clients. Janet – Support – With a background in customer service management, database design, computer-based training and 5+ years in the wine industry (including production admin in a custom crush facility), she brings knowledge and experience together to assist our vintrace customers with day-to-day questions about working in the vintrace environment.

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The most common feedback we get from our new clients is, "Why didn't I start using vintrace years ago?".

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