Looking to buy or sell a winery?

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

Steve Meixner, left and Newlin Hastings.

Steve Meixner, left and Newlin Hastings.

Pacifica Commercial Realty launches new wine properties division

Wineries for sale in Paso Robles

Blending local commercial real estate expertise with wine industry resources to bring buying a winery from a lifestyle choice to a smart investment.

Ah, the romantic notions of owning a winery: Wandering through vineyards in the early morning light; sipping the fruits of your labor as the gentle laughter of visiting wine lovers, mingled with a classical concerto, floats through the air.

Passion? You may have plenty of that, but if you dream of owning a winery or vineyard, desire eventually takes a backseat to the reality that this is a very competitive business that requires large amounts of hard work, determination and capital. To be successful you need expert resources, good advice and a solid plan.

Enter Pacifica Commercial Realty, the Central Coast’s market leader in commercial real estate.  Pacifica has been in operation in the Paso Robles market for more than 30 years, and has additional offices in Santa Maria and Santa Barbara.  In response to growing demand for its advisory services and transactional experience, the Paso Robles office recently launched its Wine Properties Division to represent buyers and sellers of wineries and vineyards throughout the Central Coast region.

Newlin Hastings, a Pacifica partner, Broker and owner of the long-successful Hastings Ranch Vineyard, summarized the new division’s charter: “It is our primary responsibility to bring together buyers and sellers of wine properties, and to facilitate successful transactions that accomplish the objectives of both parties.”.

“We’re offering professional commercial services to buyers and sellers of wine properties using the same disciplines we have applied to commercial real estate over the last three decades,” said Steve Meixner, Managing Director of Pacifica’s new Wine Properties Division. Working together, this duo brings decades of commercial real estate experience and vast wine industry resources to share

“We’ve created an online guide designed specifically for those thinking about getting involved in the industry, but who aren’t familiar with the wine business here in Paso Robles, and who also need to understand the politics of San Luis Obispo County,” explained Newlin.

The Winery Buyer’s Guide, available on Pacifica’s Wine Properties Division website www.pasowinerealestate.com, is an extensive resource created by local industry specialists that covers everything from accounting and permits to winemaking and bottling. Pacifica’s unprecedented access to wine industry experts gives aspiring winery and vineyard owners a clear overview of the ins and outs of the wine business, preparing them for personal and commercial success.

“With the continued growth of the wine business here in Paso Robles, we recognize that the trend is moving away from winery and vineyard ownership as a lifestyle choice, to one of being a smart business investment,” said Steve.

With 250 winery operations and over 300 vineyards in Paso Robles, making informed choices and decisions has never been more critical to the financial success of a wine property investment. Careful research and planning is key to survival in this highly competitive marketplace.

Their advice? Buyers of wine properties first need to engage in careful due diligence in order to understand the market and their property’s role in it. To create a sustainable business model, knowing where you are today and where you want to go is critical. Other components for success include short and long-term business and financial analysis and projections; recognizing trends that offer potential over those that have already run their course; marketing, distribution and sales planning; tasting room operations, and developing a solid succession plan.

“There are still more small family wineries than corporate operations, and we often find that small winery owners have not planned for their future, including succession,,” remarked Newlin. Both he and Steve  have acted as consultants in succession planning, and emphasize the need for such a plan, especially  for smaller, family-owned operations.

“Owners should be asking themselves, ‘If I decide to sell in the foreseeable future, what should I do to make my wine property more attractive to a buyer?’” explained Steve. “Understanding the factors that drive valuation, and taking the right steps in advance are the keys to achieving a successful transition.”

Sellers of wine properties often have conflicting desires. One is to find a buyer for their property; the other is to maintain their current business. “ In many instances, owners are concerned that an announcement of a desire to sell their property may cause the loss of loyal customers and employees,” said Steve. Not surprisingly, many available wine properties are not publicly listed.

Steve and Newlin emphasize the need for confidentiality, something they’ve had plenty of experience with in commercial transactions. “That’s one of the reasons we created the Pacifica Wine Properties Division and the Winery Buyer’s Guide,” Steve explained. “Someone considering buying or selling a wine property here in Paso Robles can easily see who we are and what we have to offer,” he continued. “Our first step is to establish confidentiality, and then share our market knowledge to help our clients find the best property or bring them the right buyer.”

Although not for the faint of heart, dreams of owning a winery or vineyard need not wither on the vine. Those interested in wine properties as a smart business investment need to do their homework to understand the complexities of the industry. Pacifica’s Wine Properties Division website featuring the Winery Buyer’s Guide is a great place to start.

For more information on buying and selling wine properties in the Paso Robles area, visit Pacifica’s Wine Properties Division website, pasowinerealestate.com or call (805) 237-4040.

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