Small Business Spotlight of the Week: Dalla Terra Winery

Thanksgiving is just around the corner (next Thursday– it’s early this year). And right after you turn the Thanksgiving corner, you’re staring directly at a bunch of other major holidays. It’s just that time of the year. Besides turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and family there is one more key holiday component: wine!

This week’s Small Business Spotlight is a Granite Bay, CA winery called Dalla Terra.  Dalla Terra means “of the earth” in Italian, and since it is a small, family owned operation it seems like a pretty fitting name. Something else that’s somewhat surprising is that the family just so happened to create award winning wine on a whim.  The winery was supposed to just be a hobby and suddenly became a well respected establishment. It’s organic success– or, of the earth.  You can buy a bottle here.

Archie chats about the wine business below:

How would you explain what you do to somebody’s grandmother?

Dalla Terra is a family owned vineyard that grows three types of grapes, Syrah, Grenache, and Sauvignon Blanc that get produced into wines of the same varietal.

What are some industry specific challenges you faced?

Standing out above the rest. Wines, especially those from California, are plentiful and of the highest quality. That level of competition makes it difficult for a small, family owned business like ours to stand out and get noticed. This was the main reason we decided to use crowdSPRING to make us stand out. We just recently bottled our latest releases using the new labels and already people are noticing.

What was your biggest learning curve/experience?

The beautiful combination of science, art, and nature all coming together in perfect harmony is a challenge. We learned early on that a grape on one side of the vineyard will be different than a grape on the other side. That, mixed with the fact that we are at the mercy of mother nature truly makes each bottle special. Making wine made us appreciate all wines, even those we see being sold for under $5.

What made you use crowdSPRING?

Our first wine we produced was a Syrah and we had a professional graphic artist design a label and logo for us. Initially the vineyard was going to be a “landscaping improvement” hobby. When we had our first Dalla Terra Private Reserve Syrah in 2005, it surprised us all when it won an award at its first competition. After a few years of continued wine production using the same label, we wanted a change. crowdSPRING was the perfect solution for us. We were able to interact with dozens of very talented creative people and from there, we narrowed it down to the winning designs.

What’s the craziest story you have from starting your own business?

Early on, we got an order from Israel which we never expected. We didn’t know any better so we boxed it up, packaged it, and shipped it off. About 5 weeks later we get the package back. Turns out it’s a bit tricky shipping certain volumes of alcohol to certain countries and Israel was no exception. So after sitting in customs for a few weeks, it was rejected by the authorities and sent back. When all was said and done, that box of wine had traveled from California, New Jersey, Tel Aviv, Haifa (Israel), back to Tel Aviv, to Frankfurt, through London, then San Francisco and eventually back to our vineyard near Sacramento. Talk about frequent flier miles! Needless to say we’re not well versed in international customs regulations.

If you could go back, would you do anything differently? If so, what and why?

Hindsight being 20/20, we probably would’ve planted more varieties earlier on to have a wider selection of wines. Other than that, we are pretty happy with our little endeavor we’ve got going.

How do you see your company growing in the future?

While we don’t have aspirations of global wine domination, we do see ourselves growing regionally and serving our wines at many of the local, Sierra Foothill area restaurants.

Six words of advice to those looking to start their own company.

Failure is good. Learn. Adjust. Execute.

Dalla Terra’s call for a new label design received 87 entries.