In search of sparkling results, accountants survey wineries, grape growers

Moss Adams LLP, the largest West coast-based accounting firm, and Demeter Group, a San Francisco-based investment bank, launched an extensive survey recently to detail the financial and operating performance of wineries and grape growers on the West Coast.

Conducted at a cost of a quarter of a million dollars, the survey's goal is to provide the participating wineries and grape growers in California, Oregon, and Washington with industry aggregated data that can be used to measure and compare the performance of individual companies. The Wine Industry Financial Benchmarking Survey will cover many topics including grape sales, wine production, wine sales, production costs, capital expenditures, and accounting policies, according to msnbc.com.

This is the first survey of its kind in at least a decade and Steve Jannicelli, a senior business consultant for Moss Adams, told AccountingWEB that vineyard and winery clients had been asking for this type of information.

"As we have a distinct focus in this industry, we have decided to create and manage this survey with the ultimate goal of providing key information to the industry while maintaining strict confidentiality of the data being submitted," Jannicelli said.

A questionnaire will soon be available online to all the wineries and growers and there are plans to conduct the survey every two years. Participation is voluntary. Jannicelli said the survey is being funded jointly by Moss Adams and Demeter Group.

"This is not meant to be a revenue-producing effort on our parts," he said. "We are simply providing a much-needed service to the industry."

Moss Adams produces surveys in other industry groups, Jannicelli said, such as construction and financial advisory firms.

"This helps us to leverage these experiences along with the industry expertise of both Moss Adams and Demeter Group to ensure that the data we are gathering and analyses we are providing will be valuable and actionable for wineries and vineyards," he said.

High-level financial and operating executives from wine producers and grape growers helped design the survey including Frog's Leap Winery, Jackson Family Wines, JUSTIN Vineyards & Winery, Long Shadows Vintners LLC, and Williams Selyem Winery, according to msnbc.com. The survey has also garnered support from industry associations.

You can read more information about the survey. The participation deadline is April 15, 2009.

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