Langtry Farms in Guenoc Valley, California. crushes about 3000 tons in a typical harvest. Named after Lily Langtry, the British-American actress who owned the property in the 19th century, the winery produces wines under the Langtry and Lily’s Collection labels, and does some custom crush as well. Melissa Hackett is their Assistant Winemaker, having worked a dozen harvests in Washington and California prior to joining the Langtry team at the end of 2020.
Like many assistant winemakers, Hackett is responsible for all production record-keeping. So when starting the job, she was disappointed to see that Langtry was using the same “user-unfriendly” production software system she had at a previous job. Their system was not up to the task, and Langtry’s accounting team experienced some pain with it, too. Hackett immediately started looking for a better system, bringing in three leading winery production software providers who made Zoom presentations.
After the presentations, Hackett knew it was essential to demo each system to make an informed choice. Unfortunately, she couldn’t figure out how to use one presenter’s demo, so they were eliminated from further consideration. Hackett selected vintrace, based on what she learned from the other demos, what her winemaker friends advised her, and her own experience installing new systems in previous positions.
Once the contract was signed, Hackett and vintrace immediately started the data migration process from their old system. vintrace provided her with preset “scripts”, electronic worksheets that ask for tank and barrel names, current wine lot codes and composition. It took Hackett just three hours to complete. Overnight, vintrace’s Australian team did all the heavy lifting of loading Langtry’s database with all current wines, their composition, barrels and tanks in which they are stored, etc. The vintrace team highlighted everything that needed to be reviewed, which took just 20 minutes to adjust. Overall, data migration was “much more streamlined, significantly less painful, and just amazing compared to other systems. We truly received ‘service while you sleep.’ ”
“The training was great. The lab, accounting and winemaking people all sat in the same room, each got focused training in their functional areas, and then learned how we could better ‘talk’ to each other with vintrace.”
When Langtry went live, Hackett and her team saw no work disruptions, glitches or other issues. It’s the result of using a well-designed process for data migration and training.
As Langtry prepares for the 2021 harvest, the benefits are significant. Vineyard reporting went from laborious spreadsheets for each block to where Hackett can “see it all on one system.” For crush, “the work orders auto-translate, so when I bring in fruit, vintrace generates work orders for the next several days for that lot. The system tells me what needs to be done today, instead of a difficult daily planning meeting at my last job.” Once yeast is added, vintrace automatically changes status from juice to must, something that must be entered manually with other software. Fixing errors is easy. For example, if a varietal was misspelled and it’s found six months later, one correction will update all records backwards and forwards. In other databases, one has to inactivate the old name and add a new one.
Hackett’s experience with vintrace shows not only is having a new, powerful, and user-friendly production software system wonderful, but the transition can be pleasant as well.
“The work orders auto-translate, so when I bring in fruit, vintrace generates work orders for the next several days for that lot. The system tells me what needs to be done today, instead of a difficult daily planning meeting at my last job.”
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