John and Barbara DiVirgilio loved going to wineries — when on vacation, when with friends — anything within driving distance was up for grabs. One drive home, John suggested to Barbara that they make their own wine. Not long after, the couple started making wine at home and gifting it to friends and family, a labor of love that eventually evolved into Pine Hollow Winery. In 2021, Pine Hollow Winery made its way across the country from Pennsylvania to Las Vegas — a city in which, before 2022, there were no wineries, something the DiVirgilios learned on a trip out West a few years before. John and Barbara have found success in Sin City with both their traditional grape wines and unique fruit wines, especially among East Coast transplants who love that Pine Hollow sources their grapes from a vineyard in Erie, Pennsylvania.
Papers, sticky notes, and random binders just weren’t cutting it for Pine Hollow. John was spending more time filling out logs, filing TTB paperwork, and tracking down his last sticky note than he was making wine and connecting with customers. Plus, with a cross-country move on the horizon, John knew this was the winery’s opportunity to go digital and develop new standard processes in a winery management software in their business’s new home.
John and Barbara are now saving more than 45 hours per month using Ekos for wine production tracking, inventory management, and TTB reporting. All the time John’s nose was previously in the books, he says he’s now able to spend doing what he loves to do: connecting with customers and growing their business. “With Ekos, we have more time to do what we need to do instead of what we have to do,” John said. “We can deal with customers more instead of sitting in the back room, with tablets and notebooks trying to figure stuff out. We can be where we need to be, and that’s with the customer, making that sale, making the business a success.”
When the DiVirgilios used Ekos for TTB reporting the first time, John said they got through things so quickly he thought there was a problem. “It can’t be this easy,” he said. This simplification is a result of the Pine Hollow team migrating everything — inventory, production, sales — to Ekos. John’s days of thumbing through binders and filling out forms after making wine all day are over.
Clarity is another result of the team using Ekos — John and Barbara are both in the know at all times about the winery’s inventory. From additives and juices to bottled wine, Ekos tracks it all so the DiVirgilios don’t have to. “Probably the biggest thing that Ekos has done for us is taking that ‘Where are we at? What do we need?’ moment away,” John said. “There’s no more wondering what we have on hand. It’s as simple as going on Ekos, bringing up that product, and seeing how much we have right now.”
John and Barbara’s quality of communication about the business has improved with Ekos, too. No one needs to be an expert because all of the business’s numbers are visible to both of them, meaning they can get into the nitty gritty of their numbers. In turn, Pine Hollow’s COGS calculations are much more accurate and easier to generate. Picture this: scribbled numbers on a yellow notepad calculating how much it costs to produce a bottle, how much the team is selling it for, and guessing how much they should change their prices. With COGS reporting functionalities in Ekos, John and Barbara know exactly how much it costs to produce a bottle and what their ideal price tag should read. “With Ekos, it’s easy. We just bring it up and can have a discussion about what it costs to produce a bottle and what we’re selling it for,” John said. “We can consider: do we increase the price? Can we decrease the price? Do we leave it the same? Ekos makes it easy because all the information is readily accessible.”
As the first winery in Las Vegas, John and Barbara are riding the rollercoaster that comes with new regulations, distinguishing themselves from the breweries and distilleries in city limits, and paving the way for future vintners in the area. Plus, they’re a new small business. The list of tasks that come with that is neverending. According to John, despite the curve balls that have been thrown their way, Ekos is the constant that keeps their business and production practices running smoothly. The tasks and facility view in Ekos keep John’s production organized because he’s filling out records as he works, not for hours at the end of the night. “It’s actually opened up more time for me to concentrate on other things that I need to work on versus spending the extra hour or two at production just to do the paperwork side,” John said.
The integration Pine Hollow has with Ekos and Square paired with Ekos’s on-the-go capabilities gives the DiVirgilios further visibility into their business. At the end of the day, they’re able to sync invoices from the tasting room into Ekos from their home office, meaning that they aren’t ever surprised about sales or potential challenges for the winery — they can prepare and start thinking two steps ahead instead.
John says he’s looking forward to continuing the growth Pine Hollow has experienced in their first few months in Las Vegas, and he is confident they’ll see results with the clarity Ekos gives them about their business. “Seeing the business’s growth in Ekos means I can forecast exactly what we need to do and when we need to do it so as we get through the month, we’re not getting blindsided,” John said. “I’m excited for this year and what it will bring our business.”
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