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Wineries Experience Major Benefits From Cost Segregation

Wineries Experience Major Benefits From Cost Segregation

With the increased popularity of wineries, advancements lead to more tax savings.

Vineyards and wineries have been in existence for thousands of years. Recently, however, they have become more than a center for manufacturing – they have transitioned into a destination for entertainment and tourism. People travel to a location specifically for wine, they host events at vineyards, and consider wineries for social gatherings.

Given this newfound purpose for vineyards and wineries, the physical landscape and buildings have seen some major changes to keep pace. Most locations offer seating and food, event halls, gift shops and more. 

The popularity of vineyards as venues has led to both property and process advancements. Larger facilities are necessary to meet demand, often with commercial kitchens and full bars, meeting rooms and increased parking capacity. The vineyards themselves likely need additional landscaping for the increased demand in product and to maintain the added traffic of tourists. 

Protea Financial Winery Cost

What is Cost Segregation?

Cost segregation is the reclassification of building components into their shortest allowable class lives. This strategy front-loads depreciation expense and offsets tax liability, providing extra cash early into your investment to offset major expenses.

Vineyards and wineries make prime candidates for a cost segregation study due to the multitude of land improvements in addition to buildings on the property. With expanded parking, irrigation, and other specialty equipment for cultivating grapes, the benefit opportunity is quite large. Additionally, the interior of the buildings likely contains specialty lighting and flooring, decorative architecture, and plenty of equipment for manufacturing, processing, hosting and entertaining all of which can be moved into shorter depreciable lives.

If left on the books as straight line depreciation, all major benefits will be lost.

Engineering-based cost segregation studies should always be carried out by an experienced and credible firm. Have a discussion with your CPA. They may already work with an expert in the field and, if not, this is something you can establish together. 

The findings from your cost segregation study will be submitted to the IRS through your CPA alongside your annual business tax returns. Think of a cost segregation study as an add-on to your annual taxes that directly benefits your bottom line.

A cost segregation study involves a multi-step process, including a physical inspection of your property, land, and all related assets. The provider will prepare calculations based on their findings and present them in the form of a report. This report is delivered to the property owner and their tax preparer to be used in computing depreciation expenses. 

It is worth noting that your cost segregation provider should offer complete audit protection in the unlikely event that you find yourself in a position of need.

Protea Financial Vineyard Cost

Why Consider Cost Segregation for your Vineyard or Winery?

Almost all commercial property, and accompanying land improvements, qualifies for cost segregation – but some tend to be better candidates. Wineries and vineyards often yield strong benefits due to the vast amount of property eligible for reclassification, meaning the benefit can be experienced early on. Without this study, many building components and land improvements would otherwise get lumped into straight line depreciation. 

A cost segregation study can be performed on your vineyard when you establish it, purchase it or expand it. If you have owned your property for a few years and have not taken advantage of cost segregation, you can still capitalize on some benefit. We encourage you to reach out to a trusted expert to discuss your current options. 


Where Do I Begin?

This is quite a bit of information and likely not your area of expertise. Understanding taxes, the benefits, the incentives, and the strategies available to you is complex.  You have enough to focus on as it relates to your vineyard. While it may feel overwhelming, the right partner can guide you through the process and ensure that you are maximizing your return. The key is to work with an expert in the field, rather than trying to figure it out for yourself. 

Geraldine Serrano and Kevin Miller, Specialty Tax Consultants with Veritax Advisors, are experienced in tax incentives. They work with vineyards much like yours and understand the industry as it relates to owned assets and taxes. With them and their teams as your trusted advisors, you can rest assured that you are in good hands. The company guarantees excellent results, will defend you in the unlikely case of an audit, and will strictly adhere to all federal and state tax laws regarding real properties. 

For more information or to chat about your property, you can reach out to Geraldine today by sending her an email at geraldine@veritaxadvisors.com or giving her a call at 510.386.0872. You can also reach out to Kevin Miller today by sending him an email at kevin.miller@veritaxadvisors.com or giving him a call at 925.207.3099.

The Many Benefits from Cost Segregation for Wineries

Read our guest post on how wineries can experience significant benefits from cost segregation. Contact Protea Financial to find out more!

Protea Conversations: Tracy Baron Garcia

Protea Conversations: Tracy Baron Garcia

Protea Financial was founded in 2014 to provide high-quality outsourced accounting at an affordable price. Given Protea’s flexible work environment, the Company especially appealed to accountants who wanted to re-enter the workforce after taking time off to start a family. This allowed Protea to attract extremely talented individuals who were previously overlooked.  Protea strives to represent people from all backgrounds and provide an environment for them to grow and succeed in a setting that provides the flexibility and acceptance of who they are as people.

We selected the name Protea because is the national flower of South Africa and is a symbol of our connection. The Protea flower has become an ornamental flower because of this striking beauty and is included in arrangements and bouquets as a symbol of courage or daring to be better or a sign of positive transformation.

Protea Conversations in 2023 will focus on positive transformation and representation from all backgrounds. We are broadening our Conversations with the hope that these conversations will continue to create a forum to discuss the experiences, opportunities, and challenges leaders face, and how we can build a more diverse, inclusive, and successful environment for everyone.

In April 2023 we spend time with Tracy Baron Garcia, Founder of TBG Prosperity.

Tracy is on a mission to educate and provide resources to empower people to improve their financial situation. She is determined to make money and finances less taboo, less intimidating, and easier to understand, especially for those working in the hospitality, non-profit and service sectors. She founded TBG Prosperity based on the premise that everyone deserves the opportunity to live a rich and full life, now and in retirement.

Tracy has over 20 years of financial services and planning experience. In Chicago, at Northern Trust Bank, she advised wealth management clients and Fortune 500 Companies with their 401k plans and has worked in Financial Planning leadership positions at Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars and Far Niente. She uses this experience to help individuals improve their financial outlook, resulting in reduced stress, increased focus and improved overall mental and physical well-being.

Tracy earned an MBA in Finance & Strategy from Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management, has a Certificate in Personal Financial Planning from University of California, Berkeley, and an undergraduate Finance degree from the University of Illinois and has stayed loyal to Big Ten Sports – Go Illini!

TBG Prosperity Financial Wellness Topics Include: Budgeting & Savings Strategies | Retirement Preparation | Managing Debt | The Power of Investing | General Financial Education | Employee Benefits

For prosperity to happen, we need to be bold, we need to work together, and we need to talk about money more.

Learn more at www.tbgprosperity.com and https://www.linkedin.com/in/tracybarongarcia/.

Tell us a little more about your journey from wealth management assistant relationship manager to founding TBG Prosperity?

I was fortunate to start off my career at Northern Trust Bank in Chicago working with trust clients who had >$50 million and then corporate retirement plans with up to $2 billion in investment assets. I was surrounded by some incredible clients and colleagues who I am so proud to have worked with. After 14 years and a lot of growth, I was ready for a change and took a sabbatical and traveled around the world trip for 6 months – from New Zealand to Asia to the grand finale in South Africa (a favorite destination!!) – it was an incredible experience of learning to adapt, having fun and on-the-spot problem solving all at the same time!

I had been passionate about wine for a long time and traveled to wine regions regularly. After a lot of thought, I decided to go for it and came out to Napa to find a job that combined my passion for wine with my MBA in finance and was fortunate to work at Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars and Far Niente in financial planning. I found I would counsel employees on their finances often and really felt a calling to make a difference in people’s lives, which prompted me to found TBG Prosperity where I am combining my background and experience to help people with financial planning and provide financial education employee group sessions in a safe, fun and easy to understand, environment.

Protea Financial Protea Conversations Tracy Traveling

What has been the biggest challenge you have experienced in reaching your current success (personally and professionally)?

The phrase – “This is how we’ve always done it.” Being willing to try new things, to experiment, being open to new ideas and allowing innovation is instrumental in building long-term growth and positive change!

What are your short-term goals of your career and yourself?

To redesign how we approach our personal finances. Talking about money doesn’t have to be intimidating, boring, impolite, or stuffy. There can be so much shame and taboo around money – getting people to talk about money more is a great first step in financial change, it can be fun and exciting.

I want to financially empower people and make them feel safe in learning and growing with their finances and create more peace of mind for their future. To help facilitate change through financial education and support leads to greater financial success now and in retirement – win-win-win!

I always focus on continuously growing and learning. It’s never too late, we’re never too old.

What is the best piece of advice you have ever received that has helped you in your success?

A former colleague who was very successful would always say we can do our job and be nice and treat others with respect, even in the most intense of times. It’s all about building relationships and caring about others. It’s a recipe for long-term success and has worked over and over again in working with clients and colleagues.

Protea Financial Protea Conversation Keep Your Voice and Work Together

What is the piece of advice that you wished you had gotten when you were starting out?

Make sure you keep your voice, don’t be afraid to use it. In certain work cultures our voice can get lost or not be encouraged, but if you have something to say and don’t say it – everyone is missing out. If you’re not being listened to, find the right culture for you – it’s out there and when you feel like you can truly be yourself, are listened to and can affect change, that’s when the magic happens.

What advice would you give to others to help them be better leaders?

Listen. Really listen. Have empathy. Be flexible. Care, genuinely care about your people. Make it all about them, not you. If you have one “bad apple” on your team – it brings the whole team down and can wreak havoc that is very costly to your business. It is so important to do something.

If you have a rockstar, let them shine, truly shine, and invest in them accordingly – that investment will pay off incredibly over time. Taking people’s strengths and building a team around those strengths and encouraging each of them to try, even if they fail? That is true leadership, and it can be so special and move mountains in a business.

Can you share something interesting about yourself that will provide insight into who you are outside of the professional space?

They say you will regret what you don’t do in life – my motto is to just do the darn thing, do it when and while you can.

I love traveling and learning about new cultures and people and have been to 30 countries and wine regions. Trip highlights include paragliding in the Swiss Alps, seeing the band U2 in Rome, a Boca Juniors football match in Argentina and being up close to baby elephants in South Africa. I love riding my peloton bike – Robin Arzon’s 90s hip hop classes are my favorite. My husband and I love to cook and do wine pairings with friends and family and have been trying many of Ina Garten’s recipes this year – our little dog Bodega is very special to us and is also an avid food lover, too! Here’s to living life now and in retirement!

As a thank you to our interview and Protea’s commitment to more diverse and inclusive leaders, Protea will donate to Canine Companions (https://canine.org/). Canine Companions is leading the service dog industry so their clients and their dogs can live with greater independence. They provide service dogs to adults, children and veterans with disabilities and facility dogs to professionals working in healthcare, criminal justice and educational settings. Since our founding in 1975, our dogs and all follow-up services are provided at no cost to our clients.

Independence shouldn’t be limited to those who look or live a certain way. Disability reaches all races, classes and backgrounds, and Canine Companions will too. Clients come to Canine Companions because of our reputation, the quality of our dogs, the experience of our training staff and the desire to lead life with greater independence. We are committed to providing services to all qualified clients. 

Grow Your Network with Protea Conversations

Become part of the ever-expanding Protea network. Contact us now and let’s work together to share our passions and help each other grow!

Excess Inventory, Now What?

Excess Inventory, Now What?

Excess inventory is a fact of life in the wine business. The world can change dramatically in the year or two between planning production and going to market with a wine. As winery ourselves, we had to figure out how to sell excess inventory without damaging our long-term prospects for success.

Recently, we have worked with several of the ten largest wine companies in the US to help them with strategies for quietly and discreetly selling excess inventory. Despite all their sales resources, they know that this effort requires specific channels and unique strategies that their in-house teams do not have experience with. If this is true for the largest wineries, it is even more applicable to smaller wineries with fewer resources.

Protea Financial Extra Inventory

The following principles for a winery guide us:

  1. Select a broker or agent whose interests are aligned with the winery. Most wineries don’t have the experience and expertise to strategically sell excess inventory, which, by definition, requires skills and channels outside of the normal course of business. There are many brokers touting their services, but is their compensation aligned with the winery’s interests? Any broker that is not transparent about their compensation is likely looking to buy low and sell high at the winery’s expense.
  2. Demand transparency, provide trust. A winery needs to know where and how their wine will be sold; distributors, retailers, and customers see almost everything in today’s world. Anybody selling your wine must provide transparency about where your wine be sold and at what price. The complement of this transparency is trust: the winery must also provide trust and assurances that it won’t circumvent its agents.
  3. Communicate your priorities. Do you need to maximize cash recovery from your inventory? Or do you want to minimize potential damage to your brand image? Each sales channel or potential customer has its advantages and disadvantages. A good agent needs to know what is most important to you in order to craft a specific plan that meets your needs.
  4. Understand your timeline. Are you trying to solve an immediate cash crunch in the next 60 days? Or do you have 12 months to get back on track with your ideal release schedule for the next vintage? Your timeline will dictate the proper order of operations. If you have more time, your agent can take the time to prioritize customers that are better suited to your needs, but may take more time to schedule your wines into their programs.

Protea Financial What to Do with Extra Winery Inventory

A good agent or broker should be asking you the following questions:

  1. What does success look like for the winery? See points 3 (priorities) and 4 (timeline) above.
  2. What initiatives have you tried with your own customers? If you have a DTC program, a thoughtful offer to your customers will provide the best returns. An agency like Chatterbox can unlock the full potential of your customer base.
  3. What markets/states/countries are most sensitive? Each winery has a unique customer base and distributor network. A good agent should be trying to steer clear of potential pitfalls that will unnecessarily harm your brand.
  4. Are you open to creative channels (eg, private labels, “opaque” overseas markets, etc.)? This is often means less revenue for all parties involved, but it shows the agent cares about helping you protect the image and strength of your brand.

Just as a winery carefully hires employees and appoints distributors, you must do your due diligence in selecting an agent that can help you strategically convert your excess inventory into cash that can drive your business forward. Third Leaf Trading has successfully served as an agent for wineries, distributors, and retailers all over the United States for more than a decade, and we are prepared to offer our insights and assistance as the wine industry faces the headwinds of declining consumer spending and mounting excess inventory.

Let Protea Financial Help You Manage Your Excess Inventory

There are strategies you can use to offload excess inventory without damaging your future levels of success. Want to learn more? Let Protea Financial help get you there!

Setting You and Your Employees Up for Greater Financial Success

Setting You and Your Employees Up for Greater Financial Success

The regulators taking over Silicon Valley Bank and the speed at which it happened shocked many of us. As employers navigate the ongoing volatility and uncertainty in the markets – businesses can take measures to:

  • Increase their liquidity.
  • Diversify their service providers and suppliers.
  • Protect their systems/data.
  • Put risk management and insurance protection in place to help safeguard their businesses.


We often talk about business best practices, but what about employee financial best practices?

The market volatility, high-interest rates, inflation, and rapidly increasing debt, are prevalent and affecting everyone. And your employees? They feel the financial pressure, too.

With widespread inflation, credit card debt is accelerating and has reached record levels, pictured below. Lending Tree reported $986 billion in credit card debt in Q4 2022 – $59 billion higher than the record reported in Q4 2019. Not only has debt increased, so has the cost, with Forbes Advisor reporting average credit card interest rates at 24% (as of March 8th, 2023).

Credit Card Debt for Employees

Employees are estimated to spend ~25% of their workweek worrying about money. Water cooler talk? It doesn’t typically involve conversations around personal finances and debt. There are many complex emotions around money, and just talking about finances and debt can be embarrassing and taboo. When employees grow quiet and lose focus on their work – could financial stress be what is distracting them?

So, what can employees do to relieve money-associated stresses and be fully engaged at work?

Build Savings and Liquidity

  1. Pay off high-interest rate debt should be a top priority, starting with the highest interest rate debt first. By reducing spending where possible and prioritizing and paying off this debt, monthly cash flow and the ability to save improve, thereby decreasing stress levels and “lightening that mental debt load.”
  2. Build up liquidity in an emergency fund – we’ve all had unexpected financial events arise, and being financially prepared for new tires for your car or a major home repair helps avoid credit card debt and keeps those stress levels in check. Everyone’s financial and job situation is unique, so the target emergency fund amounts will vary from person to person. A general rule of thumb is a minimum of 3-6 months of expenses for an emergency fund.
  3. Invest, even if it’s a small amount. Over time, that investment can grow substantially.

For example, employees who receive tips in hospitality roles – even saving $20 from each work shift adds up significantly over time – it is the magic of compounding, and the longer that money works, the better.

Cash Tips Help Build More Financial Success

Diversification and Risk Reduction

1. Bank & Investment Institutions– diversify exposure by having more than one bank and investment account provider, reducing company-specific and cyber-related risk.

2. Investment Accounts– it is common for employees to invest in 401ks and retirement accounts using pre-tax dollars. Retirement accounts have withdrawal penalties and taxes that must be paid for early withdrawals. (Roth IRA withdrawals can be an exception). Saving in a brokerage account with after-tax dollars is also important as it provides flexibility in withdrawals if investment funds are needed before retirement.

3. Investing Strategies– investing across asset classes (bonds vs. stocks, etc.) and in diversified funds, like the S&P 500 stock index fund, reduces overall investment risk.

The Silicon Valley Bank Financial Group stock is an example of single stock risk – upon rapid decline, trading was halted by the government, and the stock went from $267/share to being worthless in 48 hours, a significant and unexpected loss for many.

There can be much hype around buying individual company stocks, but being diversified reduces overall risk vs. highly concentrated positions and portfolios.

Protea Financial Financial Success

Proactive Measures for Estate Planning & Protection

1. Designate a trusted person to know where the bank, investment, retirement accounts, and insurance policies are located. If something happens, loved ones know where to go and access funds/insurance policies as needed.

2. Check credit reports annually. Data breaches occur, and account information can get into the wrong hands. If there is any unexpected account activity or erroneous information in the report, contact the credit bureau and account provider directly. The government provides a free credit report check once a year. It can be found here: www.annualcreditreport.com

3. Ensure beneficiaries are up-to-date with insurance policies and 401k/retirement, bank, and investment accounts, allowing a smooth transfer to the recipient. (Often referred to as Transfer on Death (TOD) and Payable on Death (POD) designations).

4. Establish estate planning documents:

  • Will – communicates final wishes for children under 18, pets, where property goes, and service/burial wishes, etc.
  • Trust – used for directing and transitioning assets. Trust assets can avoid a lengthy probate process and help retain privacy while transferring assets to beneficiaries.
  • Power of Attorney – for medical care and finances – designate someone with medical and financial authority when unable to act.

5. Review insurance policies to ensure adequate liability and property coverage, as coverage needs can change over time.

Financial planning is not just about investing. Building liquidity, diversification, and proactive planning and protection help create a more well-rounded financial picture. Providing financial wellness and educational support can be very impactful for employees. It gives them the knowledge to improve their financial outcomes – leading to less stress, improved mental and physical well-being, increased loyalty, workplace productivity, and engagement.

For prosperity to happen, we need to be bold, we need to work together, and we need to talk about money more. Are you with me?

Tracy Baron Garcia founded TBG Prosperity – she uses her financial planning, wealth management, and corporate retirement plan experience to provide 1:1 financial planning and financial education sessions to empower people to improve their financial future and create financial security now and in retirement. She is determined to help create financial opportunities for all and make money less taboo and less intimidating, especially for those working in the hospitality, non-profit, and service sectors.

Contact Protea Financial If You Want Help with the Financial Success of Your Business

By setting up your employees for financial success, it also sets up your business for success, both financially and reputationally. Let Protea Financial help your business go the right direction!

5 Tips for Improving Your Small Business’s Financial Health

5 Tips for Improving Your Small Business’s Financial Health

Are you a small business owner struggling to keep your finances in check? Do you constantly worry about cash flow, expenses, and profits? You’re not alone. The financial health of a small business is crucial for its survival and growth.

Here at Protea Financial, we have come up with five essential tips that can help improve your small business’s financial health. From managing and tracking expenses to investing in growing your business to increase revenue, these tips are easy to implement and will help you achieve financial stability in no time! So, let’s dive right in!


Track All Business Expenses

It’s important to track all your business expenses to see where your money is going and adjust as needed. This can be done by setting up a simple spreadsheet or using accounting software. Make sure to include all expenses, both big and small, to get an accurate picture of your spending.

Once you have started tracking your expenses, reviewing them regularly is important. This will help you find places within your business where saving money may be possible. It’s also a good idea to compare your current expenses to those from previous months or years to see if there have been any changes in your spending patterns. It also helps you see where money may be wasted if you pay for products or services your business no longer needs.


Spend Some Money on Investments That Will Help You Grow

If you’re not investing in your business, you’re not giving it a chance to grow. Investing in marketing, product or service development, and employee training can seem risky. Still, it will eventually stagnate if you don’t put any money into growing your business.

Consider what investments will help you reach your goals, and then plan to invest some money each month or quarter. You may wait to see results, but over time, these investments will help you build a stronger, more successful business, which leads to increased revenue.

Protea Financial Financial Health of Your Small Business

Set Realistic Goals

If your small business is in financial trouble, setting realistic goals for improving your financial health is important. Otherwise, you could take on more debt than you can handle or make unrealistic cuts that hurt your business in the long run.

Here are some tips for setting realistic goals when trying to improve your small business’s financial health:

  • Make a list of all your expenses and income sources. This will give you a clear picture of where your money is going and coming from.
  • Determine how much you can realistically cut from your expenses without hurting your business. You may need to make tough choices, but being realistic about what you can live without is important.
  • Create a budget and stick to it. Once you know where your money is going, you can set aside funds for specific purposes. Ensure to include a buffer for unexpected expenses so you don’t get overwhelmed if something happens.
  • Make a plan for paying off any debts you have. This may involve getting a consolidation loan or working out a payment plan with creditors. Whatever you do, ensure you can stick to the plan so you don’t end up deeper in debt.
  • Set aside money each month to build up an emergency fund. This will help you cover unexpected expenses without using credit cards or loans.
  • Finally, review your progress regularly and adjust your goals as needed. Your financial plans should change as your business grows and evolves.

By following these steps, you can set realistic goals that will help you improve your small business’s financial health.

Protea Financial Improve the Financial Health of Your Small Business

Regularly Update Your Cash Flow Forecast

Like most small business owners, you don’t have much extra money. That’s why keeping a close eye on your cash flow is important.

One of the best ways to do this is to update your cash flow forecast regularly. This will help you anticipate when you’ll need additional funding and identify potential problems before they become too big to handle.

Here are a few tips for updating your cash flow forecast:

  • Make sure you have accurate financial statements. This includes your income statement, balance sheet, and statement of cash flows. These documents will provide the foundation for your forecast.
  • Use a spreadsheet or accounting software to create your forecast. This will make it easier to track your progress and make changes as needed.
  • Know your historical cash flow patterns. This will help you anticipate future needs and make more accurate projections.
  • Update your forecast regularly. This will ensure that it stays accurate and helps you identify potential problems early on.

Take the time to review this often. You want a solid idea of where your money is, where it is going, where it will be coming from, and how that will impact the future of your business. If you need to look at where your cash flow comes from or how it changes throughout the year, you may miss opportunities to invest more in your business or forget to save money for slower times.


Let Protea Financial Help Improve the Financial Health of Your Small Business

Small business financial health is an important part of success and one that should not be overlooked. Taking the time to review your finances, create a budget, track your spending, and look for opportunities to save and invest money can help ensure that you are in good financial shape.

Hopefully, you always feel like your small business finances are simple enough to understand. Let the team of professionals here at Protea Financial break down the documents and numbers you need to know. Contact Protea Financial today and let us help you improve the financial health of your small business!

Protea Financial Can Help Improve the Financial Health of Your Business

Take the time to learn how to improve the financial health of you small business with the experts here at Protea Financial. We can show you tips and tricks that can improve your bottom line!