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.
Erica Paolicelli, Vice President/Partner, 3 Brothers Winery — Geneva, New York
VINTNER: How has your business strategy evolved to help grow and stay competitive?
PAOLICELLI: Our strategy has always been to innovate and diversify. A prime example of this strategy can be observed when looking at our portfolio. We are a farm winery, and as such we grow grapes and produce wine. We also have a microbrewery, a hard cider line, hard seltzer, wine spritzers, wine slushie mix, craft soda and coffee.
VINTNER: Who is your mentor in the industry and why? What have you learned from them?
PAOLICELLI: I’m lucky to have several mentors in this industry, each of them has helped me develop in a unique way.
- Dave Mansfield, my business partner: he’s my entrepreneurial mentor. His creativity is inspirational and his willingness to take risks for what he believes in has been a life lesson for me.
- Belinda Venuti, GM at Knapp Winery: She taught me the importance of building a network.
- NYWIA Board of Directors: I’m continually learning about the importance of involvement in state and local government for the future of our industry.
- Women Executive Leadership: I’m in a peer leadership group that meets monthly and the impact that this has had on my career can’t be overlooked. We’re all in completely different industries, but the lessons that can be learned from each other are priceless. As part of this group, I receive one-on-one coaching sessions which are also extremely valuable.
VINTNER: What idea did you or your team come up with lately that has been a big benefit to how your winery functions?
PAOLICELLI: As I write this, we’re in the midst of the Covid-19 crisis. We’ve had to convert our DTC business predicated on tourism to 100% e-commerce and curbside pickup. With the data that we have from the last month and a half of being shut down, we’re making integral business decisions about how our business can walk out of this crisis better than ever. The conscious decision we’ve made as leaders in our company to forever change the strategy of our business to make it better, in what we know is the new normal, will have a gigantic impact on our future.
VINTNER: If you had one business strategy that you could implement to better the wine industry, what would it be?
PAOLICELLI: As a whole, I think the wine industry could benefit from relaxing interstate shipping restrictions. The future is e-commerce. The antiquated laws surrounding interstate shipping of alcohol are a detriment to our industry.
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