Vinsight’s Simon Lampen is just back from one of those enviable business trips where you really question how much work was actually done. His whistle-stop, ten-day tour of the US included a visit to UC Davis in California, home to the world-renowned Viticulture and Enology faculty, and many millions of bicycles.
The 5,300-acre campus is in the city of Davis, a vibrant college town of about 68,000 located in Yolo County. The state capital is 20 minutes away, and world-class destinations such as the San Francisco Bay Area, Lake Tahoe and the Napa Valley are within a two-hour drive. Davis was once voted “America’s Best Cycling City” – a nod to the most sensible mode of transport around town, given the plethora of vineyards and wineries within easy reach.
While there, Simon presented at an accounting seminar for wineries where sustainability, innovation and high tech ways of working were common themes alongside a shared love of wine.
Next stop: Portland, and the craft beer capital of the US. Also known as Beervana, Portland boasts 60 brewing establishments around town, including a dedicated gluten-free brewery, Ground Breaker.
Simon timed his visit to Portland around the Craft Beverage Expo, an annual trade exposition and conference for the entire artisan beverage industry – spanning wine, beer, spirits, mead and cider. The organisers acknowledge that being successful in this burgeoning industry is about much more than just production — producers have got to know how to get their product into consumers’ hands as efficiently as possible. In the spirit of work, Simon did the rounds of the myriad of cider craftsmen, sake producers, brewers, wineries and mead makers, sharing in their wisdom and sampling a fair bit along the way.
And why did he go again? Vinsight has had huge success in Australia and Simon was keen to look at breaking into the US market — building a network, referral marketing, exploring regulatory and distribution issues, that sort of thing. Oh, and a bit of beer and wine research. Life sure is tough.