On this episode of “Napa Valley Inside Out”, I’m back for Part Two of my interview with Rob McMillan, EVP and Founder of Silicon Valley Bank’s Wine Division, based in St. Helena, Napa Valley. His Division is regarded as the leading provider of financial services to the US Fine Wine Business. He is also the author of the highly acclaimed “Annual State of the Wine Industry Report.”
We talk about the threats and solutions to the long term continued success of Napa’s wine industry – finding ways to market wine to both baby boomers and younger people, and the necessity to provide different generational experiences in tasting rooms. On the issue of value, Rob tells us that imported wines represented roughly 13% of total US wine sales in the late 90’s and today that number is roughly 33-38%. He believes the top brands will continue to be successful and won’t be affected by imports, but the next level down, where the brands are not as established but still expensive will need to work harder to maintain market share. We went on to talk about the M & A cycle slowing down significantly in 2019 as many of the major buyers continue to digest earlier acquisitions and execute on new brand strategies. We finish our discussion talking about private equity investing in the industry, and Rob’s forecast for Napa’s wine industry for the next 10 or 20 years.