Transcript: Allan Scott Wines

Allan Scott: Well, our business began in 1990.  I set up the company with my wife, Catherine, because we had had a long time in the corporate world, working for other wine companies, and we had our own vineyards as well and we thought it was a good opportunity to perhaps do something for ourselves. The company grew very quickly.  We didn’t expect it to grow as fast as it could.  We didn’t expect to find a niche but it was just really good timing and we basically doubled in successive years.  The global financial crisis did impact us.  It was at the same time as a huge harvest in 2008.  For probably six or seven years we were very cautious.  We didn’t spend anything.  We didn’t do too much growth.  Because the family were becoming involved in the business, we felt we needed to get some outside expertise. 

Josh Scott: Some of the challenges and road blocks that we were facing at Allan Scott Wines, obviously, the succession, being a family owned company.  We got to a stage where that natural growth or that organic growth wasn’t there anymore and so we needed to have some direction and not jumping off on tangents, to actually see the business grow in a profitable but also a way that we were all happy with. 

Sara Stocker: The workshops that NZTE provided was Fresh Thinking and Strategy workshops.  In the first workshop, we were talking about where our visions were, our long gaols were, and the direction that we wished to head.  During the workshop, it was a key indicator for us to be able to work out where our focus was going to be put and having everyone involved in that. 

Josh Scott: The way that NZTE helped with the succession planning was more actually getting us talking about it.  We had been having our boardroom meetings and it kind of got bought up but not really and we actually sat down and had a true and frank discussion, which we had never done before.  My sisters and my mother, father and myself, we all said what we wanted, where we want us to head.  For the first time, I think we’ve actually got a realistic goal that we can all achieve.  Our 2020 goal is to be a 200,000-case winery annually of Allan Scott Wines products.  Our distribution agreements now are more focused on achieving our goals for Allan Scott Wines, a bit more suited to that 2020 goal we have. 

Sara Stocker: During the workshop we came up with a lot of our characters and beliefs, one of them mainly being the family.  We’re adventurous. We’re good buggers and innovative.  We came up with a catchphrase, something that would really excite us and get us involved into the company.  We all decided on “the coolest little wine company in the world”. 

Josh Scott: The reason behind it was we’re not a big winery.  Our aim of being 200,000 is quite small but the way that we want to do it and the way that we want to get there if we want to be the coolest doing it and doing it in a fun way where everyone is engaged. 

Sara Stocker:   Part of our staff culture, we now have a new catchphrase, which is called “crush it”, which everyone is involved in.  We have it on screen savers, we have it on t-shirts, we have it on everything internally, within the company.

Josh Scott: “Just crush it” is all about going out there and getting the job done and doing it.  Probably the key highlights of the workshop were hearing other people’s ideas, especially in the brainstorming sessions we did.  We went away in little groups and people who normally probably wouldn’t speak up, we were actually hearing their voice. I really, really enjoyed that. 

Sara Stocker: The workshop was great.  It’s making us make decisions a lot quicker, a lot faster and a lot more efficiently.  We now have a business model in place that we look at on a day-to-day basis and we also are reminded of where we’re heading and the direction that we want to go to. 

Allan Scott: Our relationship with NZTE has just grown from strength to strength.  It’s really quite intimate.  It’s not intrusive but it is really, really helpful.

Josh Scott: Do I have a favourite wine?  Yes, I do, sauvignon blanc. 

Allan Scott: Oh, that’s a tough one.  I’m sorry but my favourite is probably hard to put a finger on.  You’re better to ask me what kind of beer I like.

Sara Stocker: My favourite wine would have to be the Cecilia Bubbles.  I think it describes me.