Good (and bad) signs from the first post-collapse SVB Wine Survey

Earlier this year, many of us wondered what the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank would have on their wine division. The most externally-visible product of that department is their annual Wine Survey. Each year, the bank surveys wineries and related businesses to get the pulse of the industry over the past year. The result of this survey is released to the public for free, and it’s eagerly anticipated by the beverage alcohol industry. In March, even Rob McMillan (who ran/runs the division) was more than a little worried about the future of the report and the division under a new owner.

We now have our answer – the survey and report continues (at least for another year). But there are still some concerns..

The report notes on Slide 4:

Though we were delayed in releasing our annual DTC report, we ultimately decided to go ahead with it, albeit two months later than usual. Unfortunately, we had the lowest participation rate in our history.”

SVB 2023 Direct-to-Consumer Wine Survey, Slide 4

It goes on to show more frustration:

It’s important to note that this is a partnership between the industry and the bank. Your participation in our surveys, in essence, is your vote to continue with these efforts. So, when you see a SVB survey open, please take the time to complete it. It’s a small investment that can make a big impact on the industry as a whole.

SVC 2023 Direct-to-Consumer Wine Survey, Slide 4

While there’s a hint of the tragedy of the commons here with the industry greatly appreciating the end result but not wanting to participate in helping to make it happen, this also shows some skepticism in the industry about whether or not the report would actually continue. When the announcement hit that First Citizens Bank would be taking over SVB, many in the beverage alcohol world wondered what would happen to the wine division. I’m sure the wine industry had the same questions.

In a year we’ll see if the 2023 report is enough to convince the industry that the report isn’t going anywhere and that they should participate in it again next year.

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