(415) 418-0020 info@proteafinancial.com
Protea Conversations: Destiny Burns

Protea Conversations: Destiny Burns

Protea Financial was founded in 2014 to provide high quality out-sourced accounting at an affordable price.  Given Protea’s flexible work environment, the Company especially appealed to accountants who wanted to re-enter the work force after taking time off to start a family. This allowed Protea to attract extremely talented individuals who were overlooked.  Over 80% of both Protea’s leadership and accounting teams are women.

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 focuses on a successful woman in business and their achievements.  The hope is that these conversations will create a forum to discuss the experiences, opportunities, and challenges women face, and how we can build a more diverse, inclusive, and successful environment for everyone.

Destiny Burns is a native Clevelander (born and raised in Euclid), and she recently moved back home after more than 30 years to be near family and to live my dream of opening an urban winery here in her beloved hometown. Destiny is a retired U.S. Navy officer (served for 20 years on active duty (thank you!), and then spent more than 13 years as a business development executive in the defense industry in the Washington DC area. Destiny is also a former volunteer firefighter/EMT and has a great love and respect for first responders and for all those who serve our country and communities in uniform.

Wine has always been a great passion of hers having lived and traveled all around the world throughout her adult life, studying and enjoying wine and food. Destiny has advanced degrees in Business and professional experience in all aspects of business development, marketing and management, and also pursued formal and informal training and professional development opportunities in the wine industry. All of her experience and education, combined with a passion for wine and for her wonderful hometown, has culminated in her decision to open and run her own winery in the metropolitan Cleveland area and provide the “wine companion” to all the great craft beer and spirits made here! As they say, let’s have fun, celebrate, connect, support charitable causes and drink some great wine together at CLE Urban Winery! 

How did you get into the wine industry and how did you come up with the concept of CLE URBAN WINERY?

I always wanted a food- or wine-related business of my own as a “someday” dream. When I turned 50, newly divorced after a long marriage with an adult child fully launched, I decided to get serious about achieving this dream. I left my high-pressure career in the Washington DC area and returned to my hometown of Cleveland, Ohio to open my own business.

After performing a market analysis, I decided that opening a restaurant was too risky (too much competition), but I discovered that I absolutely loved the craft brewery culture of Cleveland. I decided to build my business based on my love of wine and my hometown, so I created a craft brewery-style urban winery and Tasting Room in a 100 year old former auto repair garage in my suburban Cleveland neighborhood. I call it Good Wine Made Fun that Celebrates Cleveland and Creates Community, and I will celebrate my 5 year anniversary this July!

 

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

I would say the biggest challenge that I have faced as an entrepreneur (aside from COVID-19, which has presented a number of significant challenges for all of us) is really understanding the costs, key performance indicators and other financial measures of my business. The unique business model I created is a bit of a hybrid, and I struggled with generating the financial reporting I needed to truly understand how to profitably manage and grow the business. I finally found my financial bookkeeping partner in Protea Financial – I can’t say enough good things about how they have helped me truly understand the unique financial aspects of my urban winery business model and to effectively manage my books. The resulting financial confidence has been a godsend as I have worked to successfully navigate my business through the COVID-19 crisis.

 

What are your short term goals of your career/business and yourself?

I think I have the same short-term goal as many other small business owners… to survive the pandemic, both personally and professionally. Both aspects are challenging in this stressful and unpredictable environment, and that is doubly so as an entrepreneur. I have had to continually hustle and pivot throughout this crisis – no staying home and making a sourdough starter for me!
The other short term goal that I have been working on in 2021 is to launch the Urban Wine School™ – a comprehensive wine appreciation and education learning community that is affordable, accessible and fun! I plan to bring the first courses online this spring.

 

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

The best piece of advice I ever received was from a former boss who once told me that “Hope is not a strategy.” The only way you will be successful is through hard work and by developing a strategy and executing a plan to get you where you want to go… just hoping everything will work out is not going to get you very far.

  

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

I knew this when I started out as a small business owner, but I didn’t fully understand how important this advice was until I was neck-deep in it… CASH IS KING.

  

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

Don’t be afraid – and the best way to mitigate that fear is through knowledge. Do your homework, leverage resources, work hard and stay focused. Don’t take no for an answer. Set clear expectations and goals, and then hold yourself and your team accountable for achieving them. Surround yourself with great people and do everything you can to make them successful and productive, both personally and professionally – they, in turn, will then take care of you and your customers.

 

As a thank you to our interview and Protea’s commitment to more diverse and inclusive leaders, Protea will make a donation to Vital Voices. Vital Voices Global Partnership is a global movement that invests in women leaders who are solving the world’s greatest challenges. They are “venture catalysts,” identifying those with a daring vision for change and partnering with them to make that vision a reality. They scale and accelerate impact through long term investments to expand skills, connections, capacity, and visibility. Over the last 22 years, we have built a network of 18,000 change-makers across 182 countries who are collectively daring to reimagine a more equitable world for all.

Tax Preparation Enablement

We provide your organization a true end to end solution to all of your tax needs. Tax season is year round to Protea – if you aren’t preparing daily, it’s too easy to get behind. We are always working with your organization to streamline your businesses tax management.

Why You Should Hire a Bookkeeper

Why You Should Hire a Bookkeeper

Running a successful winery requires you to manage numerous departments—production, processing, sales, and administration, to name a few. Often bookkeeping and accounting are some of the first areas neglected when there’s not enough of you to go around.

When you find yourself scrambling at tax time or with a pile of unopened bills, hiring a bookkeeper can help ease your burden. With a professional in charge of your day-to-day finances, you’re free to tend to the areas of your winery that need your expertise.

 

A Bookkeeper Will Allow You to Focus on Your Business

 

Great bookkeeping is the backbone of any successful business. Ensuring your bills and employees are paid on time, your taxes are filed, and your financial statements are current are just some of the things a great bookkeeper does.

While you may think that doing your own bookkeeping saves you money and allows you to better understand your business’s finances, every bit of time you spend crunching numbers is time away from building, managing, or expanding your business.

You didn’t get into the winery business because you enjoy accounting and administrative work. Your time is better spent working on producing wine.

Bringing in a professional to help with your bookkeeping can prevent you from being spread too thin and burnout. Stay focused on what you really love doing and leave it to the financial expert to handle the numbers.

 

A Bookkeeper Will Help You Better Understand Your Business

 

You know a lot about wine grapes, harvesting, and selling wine. Chances are you aren’t a skilled accountant.

You may know how much your grapes cost but do you know you receive a 10% discount if you pay your vendor a few days early? A bookkeeper will help you manage cash flow to ensure your business takes advantage of any money-saving opportunities.

As your winery grows, knowing how much cash you have in the bank isn’t enough. You’ll need to know how much money you have coming in and going out in the future. Keeping track of it in your head can lead to cash flow struggles.

A great bookkeeper will manage your accounts receivable and accounts payable to keep cash moving.

Having a bookkeeper who’s devoted to your winery’s books allows them to be able to spot irregularities early. Maybe a vendor is charging more or you are selling more than in the past, but you aren’t  collecting more sales tax. Addressing any inconsistencies from the start will save money and time in the long run.

An experienced bookkeeper can help streamline procedures too. They can help standardize how documents are retained or create a calendar to manage due dates of bills.

Tax Preparation Enablement

We provide your organization a true end to end solution to all of your tax needs. Tax season is year round to Protea – if you aren’t preparing daily, it’s too easy to get behind. We are always working with your organization to streamline your businesses tax management.

A Bookkeeper Will Help Keep Your Business Compliant

 

Taxes come in many shapes and sizes. Federal payroll and excise taxes. State payroll and income taxes. Sales taxes and business licensing.

Bookkeepers excel at organizing, recording, and filing. Experienced winery bookkeepers know the ins and outs of the various taxes your winery will need to pay. They will ensure processes are in place so that your taxes are filed and paid on time, preventing you from incurring penalties and reducing your anxiety.

State regulations govern the winery industry. Keeping on top of your winegrower’s license, wholesaler license, and your on or off-premise retail license is another area an experience bookkeeper can assist. They can ensure your licenses are renewed before they expire and can provide any necessary reports. 

If you have loan covenants to maintain or investor reporting to prepare, an experienced bookkeeper can manage this to ensure you don’t miss a deadline.

With a dedicated bookkeeper, year-end tax time can be less stressful. Your bookkeeper has kept your financial house in order throughout the year. This makes it easy to hand over your tax records to your tax professional.

 

A Bookkeeper Can Save Your Business Money

 

In addition to the compliance aspect of tax time, your bookkeeper is probably less expensive than your tax professional. Having a bookkeeper on staff who timely records your transactions decreases the amount of work your accountant has to do to prepare your tax return.

A high-quality, experienced bookkeeper will have a general idea of how much things costs. While they may not know specifics about the winery industry, they will know prices for office supplies, telephone service, and bank fees. This wealth of knowledge will prevent you from paying more than you should.

A bookkeeper will ensure your bills are paid on time so you avoid late payment fees or interest. These unnecessary expenses reduce your profits and may harm your business’s credit score.

Bookkeepers can also monitor your budget. They can provide reports comparing your budget with actual expenditures and will be able to zero in on any differences. With enough experience with your winery, they can also assist in developing future years’ budgets.

Even if you’re just starting on your business journey, hiring a bookkeeper early will prevent the stress and struggle that comes from DIY bookkeeping. And those further along the business path, now’s the time to consider the benefits a bookkeeper can provide.

Whether you’re looking to hire a bookkeeper as an employee or outsource it, having a professional in your corner makes sense. You’ll be able to focus on taking your winery to new heights.   

Cut Your Winery’s Operating Costs with a Winery Bookkeeper

Operating a winery is a challenging job. It requires an in-depth knowledge of many aspects of growing produce. You need to understand your plants, keep your soil healthy, watch for signs of infection or pests, and know when your plants are ready to harvest. Then you...

Starting with a Budget Can Help New Wineries Succeed

Starting your own winery may be a dream, but you must understand, with that dream comes expenses. Many who enjoy a glass of wine have thought about what it would be like to start their own winery. Starting any business is a challenge, and this is especially true in...

How Can Bill.Com Reduce Your Processing Time?

Staying ahead of the times in a constantly evolving world is not always easy. For both small businesses and major companies, processing times are crucial for their long-term success. The general rule of thumb is that the faster your processing is, the more efficient...

Small Producers Tax Credits for Everyone!

Small Producers Tax Credits for Everyone!

‘Small Producers Tax Credits for Everyone!’ (Said in my best globally famous talk show host voice.)

So you’ve heard that the Craft Beverage Modernization Act was made permanent. And you operate a winery or you support operational reporting for a winery.  Now what?

 

Let’s Begin at the Beginning – Tax Class for Still Wine

Before you can figure out how to take a tax credit, you need to check the tax class.  The rates of tax for still wine can be found in 26 U.S. Code SECTION 5041 (c) or by clicking here if you really want to read tax code.  Effective January 1, 2021, still wine that is not more than 16% alcohol by volume (‘ABV’) is taxed at $1.07USD per gallon and still wine between 16% ABV and not more than 21% ABV is taxed at $1.57USD per gallon.  That means that while the tax rate has not changed, the ABV for still wines in a specific tax class did change.

If you produce still wine and you have removed it tax paid from the winery’s bond, the excise taxes owed are based on the rates listed above.  Still wine that is transferred from the winery’s bond to another bond (typically for storage or order fulfillment) and tax paid later is still eligible for the tax credit.  In short, if you pay tax on still wine of your own production you are eligible for the tax credit described below.

 

Side Note – Labelling Rules

TTB labeling rules for listing the ABV on wine labels did not change.  I received questions about this over the past two years and the listing requirements along with permitted tolerances, can be found HERE.

 

Tax Credit?  What Tax Credit?

Effective January 1, 2021, among other changes, the words ‘For Small Domestic Producers’ is removed from that same 26 U.S. Code SECTION 5041(c) mentioned above. This permanently establishes that the following tax credits are available to all wine producers and importers:

  • $1.00USD/gallon on the first 30,000 gallons produced in the United States or imported into the United States in a single calendar year
  • $.90USD/gallon on the next 100,000 gallons
  • $.535USD/gallon on the next 620,000 gallons

Up to 750,000 gallons of wine are eligible for some form of tax credit in a single calendar year.  Note that while the tax class changes only applied to still wine, the tax credits apply to all types of wine.

Excise Tax Class? Check.  Tax Credit? Check.  Where Do I Claim the Credit?

Before you can claim the tax credits listed above, you need to first tell the Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (‘TTB’) that you have removed the wine from bond to tax paid status.  If you work on the winemaking side of the business or support winery operations, you’ve probably heard the terms ‘702’ or ‘5120’, depending on your vintage in the industry.  Those terms apply to the TTB Report of Wine Premises Operations, found HERE on the TTB’s website. This report is where a wine producer declares how much wine they have produced, what winemaking activity (including bottling) occurs and, among other things, what wine is removed from bond during a given reporting period.  (Reporting periods vary based on production volume.) Just in case you’ve looked up the form and you’ve never filled one of these out before, there are two rows on the form where you list wine removed tax paid – Section A (Bulk Wines) on row 14 and Section B (Bottled Wines) row eight. Both rows have multiple cell options depending on the tax class and type of wine or hard cider that was removed, but those rows are where you specify what has been removed tax paid. Once wine has been reported as ‘removed taxpaid’, excise tax is owed on that wine.  After the operations report is filed, it is time to file and pay the excise tax for the wine removed from bond along with claiming available tax credits.

The TTB Excise Tax Return or TTB F 5000.24sm, is where you declare the taxes you owe and credits allowed.

 

Updated Forms Available

There are now forms available for winemaking activity prior to January 1, 2018 and activity from January 1, 2018 to present.  You can find the most common TTB forms HERE.

 

A Permanent Tax Credit is Not a Change in Tax Rate

Making these two changes permanent is great news for producers large and small.  What needs to be clear is that these are two different changes – one to the up to 16% ABV tax rate and the other allowing all producers to claim a tax credit that had previously been reserved for small producers.  While the net impact may be a reduction in taxes paid, it is not a reduction in a tax rate across the board.

For anyone who has read the relevant section of the 5,000 plus page document where these changes were made permanent, you will notice something missing from this post.  This post is directed at domestic wine producers and does not explain how it may apply to importers of wine in the United States.

 

Need More Information?

Cronbach Law Group PC is a law firm located in Napa, California.  Our focus is helping our clients understand the complex world of alcoholic beverage regulation –  50 states, 51 sets of rules. Let us be your guide and keep your busines priorities top of mind on along the way.  www.winedeal.law

 

 

 

 

Protea Conversations: Yuko Tsuchida

Protea Financial was founded in 2014 to provide high quality out-sourced accounting at an affordable price.  Given Protea’s flexible work environment, the Company especially appealed to accountants who wanted to re-enter the work force after taking time off to start a...

Cut Your Winery’s Operating Costs with a Winery Bookkeeper

Operating a winery is a challenging job. It requires an in-depth knowledge of many aspects of growing produce. You need to understand your plants, keep your soil healthy, watch for signs of infection or pests, and know when your plants are ready to harvest. Then you...

Starting with a Budget Can Help New Wineries Succeed

Starting your own winery may be a dream, but you must understand, with that dream comes expenses. Many who enjoy a glass of wine have thought about what it would be like to start their own winery. Starting any business is a challenge, and this is especially true in...

Don’t Let Accounting Problems Sour Your Wines: Avoiding Common Accounting Issues

Wineries need to pay attention to every detail when it comes to accounting. You need to keep an accurate record of the total amount of wine made during the year. Even a simple mistake can cost money and time. There are two mechanisms that ultimately decide whether you...

Accounting Tips to Improve Your Knowledge

At Protea, our mission is to help as many people as possible have a better understanding of accounting and hopefully understand the value good information adds to the success of their business. Better accounting for everyone! With this in mind, for the last 3 months I...

How Can Bill.Com Reduce Your Processing Time?

Staying ahead of the times in a constantly evolving world is not always easy. For both small businesses and major companies, processing times are crucial for their long-term success. The general rule of thumb is that the faster your processing is, the more efficient...

Protea Conversations: Carolyn Sweeney

Protea Financial was founded in 2014 to provide high quality out-sourced accounting at an affordable price.  Given Protea’s flexible work environment, the Company especially appealed to accountants who wanted to re-enter the work force after taking time off to start a...

Taking Care of Business: Hiring the Right Accounting Bookkeeping Service

In this fast-paced world, keeping track of your company’s finances is a 24/7 job. That important balance between paying attention to the business aspects and the people aspect can easily get lost in the mix. Hiring the right staff will bridge the gap and make it...

Tips To Avoid A Cash Crunch: 3 Ideas For Cash Flow Management

Cash flow is an important element of any small business. To effectively manage your cash flow, you need to be aware of all the aspects that can affect it and how they impact your business. The best way to achieve this is by understanding what might cause fluctuations...

De-Risking a Business to Drive Enterprise Value

As an appraiser of every type and size business, my experience and training has helped me develop several key defaults to value, the biggest of which is as follows;   Value is driven by three key inputs; risk, growth and cash flows   In other online forums...

Accounting Software: Control Your Finances With Confidence and Ease

An accounting software system is a valuable tool for any business. It allows for more accurate record keeping, which in turn means less work and lower risk of mistakes. It enables you to automate labor-intensive accounting tasks and accelerates tax preparation. There...

Get a Full Picture of Your Business with Accrual Accounting

The cash basis of accounting is the method of recording revenue when cash is received and recording expenses when cash has been paid out. This method is easy and enables the business to legally manipulate taxable income. Paying less in taxes is as easy as spending...

Outsourcing Accounting Services: Increase Your Bottom Line

Outsourcing accounting services is a great way to save time, money, and your sanity. It can be difficult for many business owners to find the time or expertise necessary to keep up with all the paperwork that comes from running a successful company. We will examine...

Protea Conversations: Tracey Welch

Protea Financial was founded in 2014 to provide high quality out-sourced accounting at an affordable price.  Given Protea’s flexible work environment, the Company especially appealed to accountants who wanted to re-enter the work force after taking time off to start a...

Property Insurance in the Wine Industry

As things begin to open back up with COVID-19 getting more under control, we find that it is “fire season” in Wine Country.  With fire season front and center, we find ourselves saying that “it’s not if there is another fire in our area, it’s when will the fire occur...

How to understand your balance sheet: A beginner’s guide

A balance sheet is a financial statement that provides an overview of the company's assets, liabilities, and equity at a specific point in time. It is important to know what each one means in order to understand how well you're doing. It can be difficult to understand...

Protea Conversations: Alicia Cronbach

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...

Your Account Reconciliation is Now a Fun Activity

You may think reconciling your books is a tedious process, but it doesn't have to be. In this blog post we'll go over the steps needed to prepare a reconciliation and how you can streamline the process so that it's as painless as possible.   What is a general...

QuickBooks Beginner Mistakes You Must Avoid

If you’re familiar with QuickBooks Online, you know how spectacular it is in maintaining financial records for small and medium businesses. Whether you’re a business owner or an individual looking for reliable bookmaking software, QuickBooks is a great option....

Winery Adaptation

How smaller, independent wineries can sell more wine in a hypercompetitive marketplace   State of Industry – Lots of winners but many “silent” losers   It’s amazing how the world can change in a year! Even before the COVID-19 pandemic made its global impact,...

Financial Forecasting 101

If you’re a business owner or been thinking about opening up a new venture, the thought of improving its performance must have crossed your mind. And that’s where financial forecasting comes into play.  It’s simply the process of looking into the future of your...

Protea Conversations – Rachel Martin

Protea Financial was founded in 2014 to provide high quality out-sourced accounting at an affordable price.  Given Protea’s flexible work environment, the Company especially appealed to accountants who wanted to re-enter the work force after taking time off to start a...

5 Financial Reports You Should be Running

There’s an assortment of financial reports involved in business accounting and bookkeeping. Each one contains the information you need to form an accurate and holistic view of your company’s financial health. There are five reports you should be running on a...

Protea Conversations: April Gargiulo

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...

7 thoughts for 7 years

In the month of March we as a company, Protea Financial, are celebrating seven years of guiding small businesses with high quality and cost-effective accounting. This is truly a surreal moment for us here at Protea Financial, as we celebrate our success. What started...

The Basics of Financial Statements

A key aspect and skill in managing a company is the ability to understand financial statements. Because we operate in a competitive business environment, it is important to be able to identify a company’s financial position/health, business trends and risks at an...

Protea Conversations: Destiny Burns

Protea Financial was founded in 2014 to provide high quality out-sourced accounting at an affordable price.  Given Protea’s flexible work environment, the Company especially appealed to accountants who wanted to re-enter the work force after taking time off to start a...

5 Key Elements Influencing the Accounting and Finance Hiring Environment in 2021

  In my first 19 years of recruiting Accounting and Finance Talent, the number 1 job benefit Professionals wanted was the flexibility to work from home- at least partially.  This was always desired more than it was available.  Employers cited security, teamwork,...

Thank You From Protea Financial: This Is Just the Beginning

This is truly a surreal moment for us here at Protea Financial as we celebrate our seventh year in business. What started out as a mere extension of a business has since morphed and grown into something much bigger - the dream of better accounting for everyone. The...

Protea Conversations: Nastassia Lopez

Protea Financial was founded in 2014 to provide high-quality out-sourced 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...

Accrual Accounting vs. Cash Accounting – What’s the Difference?

The primary difference between these two is the timing of when transactions get recorded.

Why You Should Hire a Bookkeeper

Running a successful winery requires you to manage numerous departments—production, processing, sales, and administration, to name a few. Often bookkeeping and accounting are some of the first areas neglected when there's not enough of you to go around. When you find...

Small Producers Tax Credits for Everyone!

‘Small Producers Tax Credits for Everyone!’ (Said in my best globally famous talk show host voice.) So you’ve heard that the Craft Beverage Modernization Act was made permanent. And you operate a winery or you support operational reporting for a winery.  Now what?...

Protea Conversations: Suzanne Briel

Protea Financial was founded in 2014 to provide high-quality out-sourced 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...

How to Calculate the Cost of Making Wine

To run a profitable winery, it is vital to understand how much profit you are making per bottle of wine sold. You will need to be able to determine and understand what you can sell your wine for and how much that wine costs to produce. While the market will dictate...

Financial Forecasting and Cash Flow Planning

While extremely rewarding, getting a winery up and running can be very difficult to do. Not only does it require a large amount of capital and resources to start with, but you also won’t even start selling wine until a few years down the line. It’s a large investment...

The Property Insurance Marketplace for Wineries

The state of the Property insurance market for wineries is experiencing some severe difficulties and there is no relief in sight for the foreseeable future.  We are experiencing what the insurance industry calls a Hard Insurance Market.  It is hard to get to coverage...

Businesses Need to Do These Four Things Before 2021

Many of us are looking forward to putting 2020 behind us and welcoming in a new year. The idea of a fresh start is refreshing and business owners are looking to prepare their businesses for 2021 and beyond. Looking back on 2020 and acknowledging what worked and didn't...

How to Grow Your Business Through Accounting Outsourcing

Outsourcing routine tasks is an easy way to simplify and grow your business. Accounting, customer service, and marketing are easy places to start when it comes to outsourcing. None of these tasks are unique to your business but all are necessary for a successful...

Bookkeeping Basics for Small Business – Why Bookkeeping Matters

Few of us like to think about bookkeeping and accounting. Without it though, you’ll find yourself in the dark about how your winery is performing. Bookkeeping is the backbone of all businesses. To know what’s happening at the most basic financial level, you’ll need to...

Request An Evaluation

If you are ready for real change in how you use your most valuable assets - time & money, fill out the form and an account manager will reach out to you right away.

10 + 11 =

How to Calculate the Cost of Making Wine

How to Calculate the Cost of Making Wine

To run a profitable winery, it is vital to understand how much profit you are making per bottle of wine sold. You will need to be able to determine and understand what you can sell your wine for and how much that wine costs to produce.

While the market will dictate how much you charge for your wine, you control how much it costs to make it, as long as you understand what is included in the costs and have a mechanism to track it.

An accurate calculation of the costs to make your wine increases the likelihood of operating a profitable winery. Although this sounds like a simple endeavor, there are challenges. From determining which costs to include, to tracking all expenses through the production process, getting to a final dollar value takes time and careful consideration.

The Basic Terminology

Before we can start discussing how to value your winery inventory, let’s define two key accounting terms.

Cost of Goods Produced (COGP) 

Commonly known as wine in process or cost of inventory, all costs involved in the process of making wine are included. This includes things like:

Raw materials
• Services
• Labor
Overhead allocations

Whether direct or indirect, all costs from planting through to bottling the finished wine are included in COGP.

Cost of Goods Sold (COGS)

The COGS is the cost of the wine sold in a specific period. You’ll need to match the cost of the inventory you sold to your revenue. A simple way to put it, for each bottle of wine sold, how much did it cost to make and get it into the hands of the customer.

Now that you understand the two primary accounting terms related to production, we need to dig deeper into the different ways to develop a value for your COGP, starting with the groups of costs involved.

Inventory Costs

Winemaking generally involves three main types of costs.

Direct materials
Direct labor
• Overhead allocations

Direct Materials in Winemaking

Calculating materials cost is reasonably straightforward. It is the cost, including tax and delivery fees, to acquire your materials and get them to your production area. This includes raw materials like grapes and packaging materials like bottles and boxes.

Segregating these costs makes the allocation of overhead (which we’ll discuss a little later) a little easier and more accurate. And it makes sense for blended wines. You’ll be better able to track the component costs.

While you may initially record the cost of grapes separately (if you are farming, this will be more complex than if you are buying grapes), it will be added to the other expenses, such as fermentation and cellar costs, to get to your bulk wine cost.

Direct materials don’t include materials consumed in production. For example, light bulbs or air filters in your production facility are manufacturing overhead.

Labor in Winemaking

Labor required to turn your raw grapes into a finished bottle of wine should be included in inventory costs. You’ll want to include not only salary and wages but also benefits and payroll taxes.

Owner or executive compensation is difficult to classify. While they are involved in the winemaking process, they also work in other areas, like administration and finance. For these individuals, determine how much of their time is involved in the winemaking process and apply the percentage to their total payroll costs. Using reasonable estimates is acceptable.

Overhead in Winemaking

Costs incurred to keep your winery operating but aren’t direct materials or labor are overhead. Overhead costs are usually aggregated into cost pools and allocated based upon the number of bottles produced.

Examples of overhead include property insurance and taxes, building repairs and maintenance, utilities, and administrative staff wages.

With your bulk wine value, adding expenses for your direct labor and overhead gets you to the total cost of the finished, ready-to-sell wine.

After you’ve tabulated the total inventory costs, you’ll need to consider how your wine inventory moves. This cost-flow is your inventory valuation method and impacts your COGS, income taxes, and balance sheet ratios for lending requirements. Choose the other that best suits your production process.

COGP/Inventory Valuation Methods

Specific Identification

This method involves tracking each item from the time of purchase through to when the wine is bottled. Meticulous record-keeping, data collection, and data segregation make specific identification highly accurate.

Starting with the calculation of exact juice or wine yields for each varietal vintage, even getting detailed down to which vineyard or vineyard block, you then track the juice into the individual barrels for each lot, parsing and combining as barrels get blended.

Weighted or Average Cost

When costs are intermingled and difficult to specifically identify, using the average cost method may work best. Using the average or weighted average for consumable supplies like yeast and sulfur or general costs like storage is appropriate.

First-In First-Out (FIFO)

Another valuation method is the FIFO method, which assumes that inventory moves such that the oldest stock (the first in) is the first sold (the first out).

Last-In First-Out (LIFO)

As you might guess, the LIFO method assumes the newest inventory items (the last in) are the first to be sold (the first out). This is unlikely the case in the wine industry since older vintages are typically sold before newer ones.

Specific identification and FIFO are the most commonly used valuation methods for wineries.

Using LIFO for tax purposes requires you to use it for financial reporting purposes. This can be achieved while still using the specific identification or FIFO method by recording a LIFO reserve on your books.

Recent changes in the tax code for expensing of certain winemaking costs make consulting with your CPA very helpful.

Regardless of which inventory valuation method you use, use it consistently. Consistency is required for U.S. GAAP reporting and makes spotting an error easier.

Valuing winery inventory is challenging and unique. It requires specialized knowledge acquired through years of experience. The professionals at Protea have decades of experience helping winery owners with complex accounting and tax issues. Reach out today to see how we can help you.

The Property Insurance Marketplace for Wineries

The Property Insurance Marketplace for Wineries

The state of the Property insurance market for wineries is experiencing some severe difficulties and there is no relief in sight for the foreseeable future.  We are experiencing what the insurance industry calls a Hard Insurance Market.  It is hard to get to coverage and hard to tolerate the coverage reductions, lack of available insurance limits and increased prices.

“For the larger wineries, it is extremely difficult to purchase enough limits of insurance to adequately cover all of the exposures to loss of buildings, machinery and equipment, inventory and business income in the event of a loss.”

How did we get here and why is this happening?  It started in California with the 2017 fires followed by the 2018 floods and then the 2019 fires.  Insurers took substantial fire losses in 2017, an extremely large flood loss in Northern California and bourbon plant fire in Kentucky in 2018 followed by large fire losses in 2019.  These compounded losses caused several insurers to withdraw their interest in the wine industry altogether while others have dramatically reduced the coverage offerings available while substantially increasing rates / prices.  

A winery was previously able to be able to purchase an extremely broad Property coverage through what is called a Stock Throughput policy which was offered by Lloyd’s of London syndicates.  This form has been dramatically modified to reduce the insurance coverage offered.  A Lloyd’s syndicate is still looking to offer Property insurance, however primarily to the largest of the large wineries.  There have recently been new insurer entrants into the marketplace, while their true interest in offering terms is yet to be fully determined.  

For the larger wineries, it is extremely difficult to purchase enough limits of insurance to adequately cover all of the exposures to loss of buildings, machinery and equipment, inventory and business income in the event of a loss.  Previous to 2018-2019, limits of liability of 100’s of millions of dollars were readily available.  Today, it is a laborious process to layer enough limits in order to build an adequate insurance program to cover the full exposure to loss or damage.  Oftentimes loss limits or stop loss limits of insurance protection are purchased to cover the largest foreseeable loss at a single location.  Increased property deductibles are also being required in order to obtain coverage.  However, the fires have shown us that there is no easy way to determine what could possibly be lost, damaged or destroyed so insuring to 100% replacement value is a good practice to employ.  Building replacement costs have gone up dramatically and a true assessment of the true current replacement cost is essential.  

What can you do?  Work with your finance team, CPA, banker and insurance broker to determine accurate values to substantiate the limits of liability you are desiring to purchase.  Know the true replacement value of your buildings, machinery and equipment.  Insurers are oftentimes asking for limits equal to 100% of replacement cost, in lieu of previously allowed lower limits of insurance.  Have a firm understanding of your stock valuation for inventory in all phases of production, from fruit just picked to and through the entire process of bottling and warehousing finished inventory.  In advance of approaching the insurance marketplace, have all of your information professionally and concisely documented.  

There is currently no relief in sight for property insurance in the wine industry.  What used to be a relatively easy process for an insurance brokerage to approach the insurer marketplace now is a process that requires oftentimes several months.  By working 120 or more days in advance of a property insurance renewal, unexpected requests by the insurers and delays in getting physical inspections and additional details of insured locations may be avoided.  It is important to work with a team of individuals and firms that understand the wine industry and have strong relationships within the insurer marketplace.  Patience and frequent communication are key to a successful property insurance placement.

What inext? If your current insurance brokerage is currently working with wineries, you may be in good shape as they should be familiar with the scenarios above.  If they do not, ask your other professional relationships such as CPA or banker who they would recommend that work in the wine space.  Reach out to your friends and colleagues at other wineries your size and ask how their renewal process is going/went and who they are using.  Local “business journal” type of publications have lists of property and casualty insurance brokers in the wine space.  Protea Financial team also have insurance brokerage relationships they will introduce you to or contact Chet Laws of InterWest Insurance at claws@iwins.com / 707-657-4505.

 

Tax Preparation Enablement

We provide your organization a true end to end solution to all of your tax needs. Tax season is year round to Protea – if you aren’t preparing daily, it’s too easy to get behind. We are always working with your organization to streamline your businesses tax management.

5 Key Elements Influencing the Accounting and Finance Hiring Environment in 2021

  In my first 19 years of recruiting Accounting and Finance Talent, the number 1 job benefit Professionals wanted was the flexibility to work from home- at least partially.  This was always desired more than it was available.  Employers cited security, teamwork,...

Financial Forecasting and Cash Flow Planning

While extremely rewarding, getting a winery up and running can be very difficult to do. Not only does it require a large amount of capital and resources to start with, but you also won’t even start selling wine until a few years down the line. It’s a large investment...

Financial Forecasting 101

If you’re a business owner or been thinking about opening up a new venture, the thought of improving its performance must have crossed your mind. And that’s where financial forecasting comes into play.  It’s simply the process of looking into the future of your...

Accrual Accounting vs. Cash Accounting – What’s the Difference?

The primary difference between these two is the timing of when transactions get recorded.

How Can Bill.Com Reduce Your Processing Time?

Staying ahead of the times in a constantly evolving world is not always easy. For both small businesses and major companies, processing times are crucial for their long-term success. The general rule of thumb is that the faster your processing is, the more efficient...

Protea Conversations: Destiny Burns

Protea Financial was founded in 2014 to provide high quality out-sourced accounting at an affordable price.  Given Protea’s flexible work environment, the Company especially appealed to accountants who wanted to re-enter the work force after taking time off to start a...

Protea Conversations: Tracey Welch

Protea Financial was founded in 2014 to provide high quality out-sourced accounting at an affordable price.  Given Protea’s flexible work environment, the Company especially appealed to accountants who wanted to re-enter the work force after taking time off to start a...

Protea Conversations: Yuko Tsuchida

Protea Financial was founded in 2014 to provide high quality out-sourced accounting at an affordable price.  Given Protea’s flexible work environment, the Company especially appealed to accountants who wanted to re-enter the work force after taking time off to start a...

Cut Your Winery’s Operating Costs with a Winery Bookkeeper

Operating a winery is a challenging job. It requires an in-depth knowledge of many aspects of growing produce. You need to understand your plants, keep your soil healthy, watch for signs of infection or pests, and know when your plants are ready to harvest. Then you...

Starting with a Budget Can Help New Wineries Succeed

Starting your own winery may be a dream, but you must understand, with that dream comes expenses. Many who enjoy a glass of wine have thought about what it would be like to start their own winery. Starting any business is a challenge, and this is especially true in...

Don’t Let Accounting Problems Sour Your Wines: Avoiding Common Accounting Issues

Wineries need to pay attention to every detail when it comes to accounting. You need to keep an accurate record of the total amount of wine made during the year. Even a simple mistake can cost money and time. There are two mechanisms that ultimately decide whether you...

Accounting Tips to Improve Your Knowledge

At Protea, our mission is to help as many people as possible have a better understanding of accounting and hopefully understand the value good information adds to the success of their business. Better accounting for everyone! With this in mind, for the last 3 months I...

Protea Conversations: Carolyn Sweeney

Protea Financial was founded in 2014 to provide high quality out-sourced accounting at an affordable price.  Given Protea’s flexible work environment, the Company especially appealed to accountants who wanted to re-enter the work force after taking time off to start a...

Taking Care of Business: Hiring the Right Accounting Bookkeeping Service

In this fast-paced world, keeping track of your company’s finances is a 24/7 job. That important balance between paying attention to the business aspects and the people aspect can easily get lost in the mix. Hiring the right staff will bridge the gap and make it...

Tips To Avoid A Cash Crunch: 3 Ideas For Cash Flow Management

Cash flow is an important element of any small business. To effectively manage your cash flow, you need to be aware of all the aspects that can affect it and how they impact your business. The best way to achieve this is by understanding what might cause fluctuations...

De-Risking a Business to Drive Enterprise Value

As an appraiser of every type and size business, my experience and training has helped me develop several key defaults to value, the biggest of which is as follows;   Value is driven by three key inputs; risk, growth and cash flows   In other online forums...

Accounting Software: Control Your Finances With Confidence and Ease

An accounting software system is a valuable tool for any business. It allows for more accurate record keeping, which in turn means less work and lower risk of mistakes. It enables you to automate labor-intensive accounting tasks and accelerates tax preparation. There...

Get a Full Picture of Your Business with Accrual Accounting

The cash basis of accounting is the method of recording revenue when cash is received and recording expenses when cash has been paid out. This method is easy and enables the business to legally manipulate taxable income. Paying less in taxes is as easy as spending...

Outsourcing Accounting Services: Increase Your Bottom Line

Outsourcing accounting services is a great way to save time, money, and your sanity. It can be difficult for many business owners to find the time or expertise necessary to keep up with all the paperwork that comes from running a successful company. We will examine...

Property Insurance in the Wine Industry

As things begin to open back up with COVID-19 getting more under control, we find that it is “fire season” in Wine Country.  With fire season front and center, we find ourselves saying that “it’s not if there is another fire in our area, it’s when will the fire occur...

How to understand your balance sheet: A beginner’s guide

A balance sheet is a financial statement that provides an overview of the company's assets, liabilities, and equity at a specific point in time. It is important to know what each one means in order to understand how well you're doing. It can be difficult to understand...

Protea Conversations: Alicia Cronbach

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...

Your Account Reconciliation is Now a Fun Activity

You may think reconciling your books is a tedious process, but it doesn't have to be. In this blog post we'll go over the steps needed to prepare a reconciliation and how you can streamline the process so that it's as painless as possible.   What is a general...

QuickBooks Beginner Mistakes You Must Avoid

If you’re familiar with QuickBooks Online, you know how spectacular it is in maintaining financial records for small and medium businesses. Whether you’re a business owner or an individual looking for reliable bookmaking software, QuickBooks is a great option....

Winery Adaptation

How smaller, independent wineries can sell more wine in a hypercompetitive marketplace   State of Industry – Lots of winners but many “silent” losers   It’s amazing how the world can change in a year! Even before the COVID-19 pandemic made its global impact,...

Protea Conversations – Rachel Martin

Protea Financial was founded in 2014 to provide high quality out-sourced accounting at an affordable price.  Given Protea’s flexible work environment, the Company especially appealed to accountants who wanted to re-enter the work force after taking time off to start a...

5 Financial Reports You Should be Running

There’s an assortment of financial reports involved in business accounting and bookkeeping. Each one contains the information you need to form an accurate and holistic view of your company’s financial health. There are five reports you should be running on a...

Protea Conversations: April Gargiulo

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...

7 thoughts for 7 years

In the month of March we as a company, Protea Financial, are celebrating seven years of guiding small businesses with high quality and cost-effective accounting. This is truly a surreal moment for us here at Protea Financial, as we celebrate our success. What started...

The Basics of Financial Statements

A key aspect and skill in managing a company is the ability to understand financial statements. Because we operate in a competitive business environment, it is important to be able to identify a company’s financial position/health, business trends and risks at an...

Thank You From Protea Financial: This Is Just the Beginning

This is truly a surreal moment for us here at Protea Financial as we celebrate our seventh year in business. What started out as a mere extension of a business has since morphed and grown into something much bigger - the dream of better accounting for everyone. The...

Protea Conversations: Nastassia Lopez

Protea Financial was founded in 2014 to provide high-quality out-sourced 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...

Why You Should Hire a Bookkeeper

Running a successful winery requires you to manage numerous departments—production, processing, sales, and administration, to name a few. Often bookkeeping and accounting are some of the first areas neglected when there's not enough of you to go around. When you find...

Small Producers Tax Credits for Everyone!

‘Small Producers Tax Credits for Everyone!’ (Said in my best globally famous talk show host voice.) So you’ve heard that the Craft Beverage Modernization Act was made permanent. And you operate a winery or you support operational reporting for a winery.  Now what?...

Protea Conversations: Suzanne Briel

Protea Financial was founded in 2014 to provide high-quality out-sourced 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...

How to Calculate the Cost of Making Wine

To run a profitable winery, it is vital to understand how much profit you are making per bottle of wine sold. You will need to be able to determine and understand what you can sell your wine for and how much that wine costs to produce. While the market will dictate...

The Property Insurance Marketplace for Wineries

The state of the Property insurance market for wineries is experiencing some severe difficulties and there is no relief in sight for the foreseeable future.  We are experiencing what the insurance industry calls a Hard Insurance Market.  It is hard to get to coverage...

Businesses Need to Do These Four Things Before 2021

Many of us are looking forward to putting 2020 behind us and welcoming in a new year. The idea of a fresh start is refreshing and business owners are looking to prepare their businesses for 2021 and beyond. Looking back on 2020 and acknowledging what worked and didn't...

How to Grow Your Business Through Accounting Outsourcing

Outsourcing routine tasks is an easy way to simplify and grow your business. Accounting, customer service, and marketing are easy places to start when it comes to outsourcing. None of these tasks are unique to your business but all are necessary for a successful...

Bookkeeping Basics for Small Business – Why Bookkeeping Matters

Few of us like to think about bookkeeping and accounting. Without it though, you’ll find yourself in the dark about how your winery is performing. Bookkeeping is the backbone of all businesses. To know what’s happening at the most basic financial level, you’ll need to...

Preparing Your Winery for Natural Disasters

It’s been a tough summer. First, the COVID pandemic slowed down commerce, and most recently the massive wildfires are burning throughout Northern California. This year’s fires came earlier than they historically have and this early arrival means grape harvesting is...

Why Customer Retention is Imperative For a Winery

The primary goal of many wineries is to develop, cultivate and produce products that promote repeat business and retain customers. Wineries exist to satisfy customers’ needs through products or services and it’s important for a winery to retain these customers. Since...

5 Things to Know about R&D Tax Credits for Vineyards and Wineries

R&D is often associated with technology and life science companies from Silicon Valley and San Francisco, but head less than 100 miles north into wine country, or any other appellation across the United States

Preparing Your Winery for Natural Disasters

Preparing Your Winery for Natural Disasters

It’s been a tough summer. First, the COVID pandemic slowed down commerce, and most recently the massive wildfires are burning throughout Northern California. This year’s fires came earlier than they historically have and this early arrival means grape harvesting is caught in the crossfire. 

Many winery owners are rightfully nervous about what the future holds and are thinking about what they can do to protect their business. Fortunately, the government has stepped in to help businesses impacted by the wildfires and there are numerous action steps you can take today to help prepare you and your business for future natural disasters.

Extended Tax Deadlines

The IRS recently granted some relief to taxpayers impacted by the California wildfires.  It extended the filing deadline for all tax returns and payments that were due starting on August 14 through December 15. The new deadline for these returns and payments is December 15. The California Franchise Tax Board followed suit and issued a similar extension.

So, C-corporations that timely filed for an extension to file their annual tax return would have had to file by October 15. The new deadline is now December 15.

Likewise, S-corps, partnerships, and sole proprietors would have had to file by September 15 but now have until December 15 to do so.

Any estimated income tax payments that would have been due on September 15 are now bumped back until December 15.

Those 3rd quarter payroll tax returns and any payment that would have been due on October 31 are now due by December 15.

If your county has been declared a federal disaster area by FEMA, you will receive this automatic extension. This new extended deadline is automatically applied by the IRS and there is no need to file any paperwork.  As of September 2020, FEMA has declared the following counties federal disaster areas: Sonoma, Napa, Lake, Yolo, Butte, Solano, San Mateo, Santa Cruz, and Monterey.

All penalties and interest will be waived so long as you file all your returns and pay all your tax by December 15. 

Disasters and Insurance

Most wineries have multiple layers of insurance protection. Property, business interruption, and viticulture policies just to name a few. 

Now might be that time you need to make use of your insurance. If you’ve suffered damage from the wildfires, contact your insurance agent right away. Many property insurance policies cover natural disasters like wildfires. And some policies will cover a portion of lost revenue and increased expenses due to business interruptions.

Reviewing your insurance needs should be a regular occurrence. And if you haven’t had that conversation with your agent in a while, now is a good time. Talk through all your business needs to craft the coverage that’s right for your winery. 

Disaster Preparation

It’s never a fun topic to discuss but disaster preparation and plans should be an important part of your winery’s business strategy. With a proper plan and early preparation, you can lessen the chance of being negatively impacted by a natural disaster.

Regular Maintenance Is a Must

Winery owners should make sure their property is in the best possible shape to withstand any natural disaster. Repairs and maintenance should be made regularly, including clearing fallen debris and removing dead or dying landscaping. 

Create a Continuity Plan

Have a plan in place to communicate with winery staff in the event of an emergency. Create a contact list with all employee’s names and phone numbers and establish procedures about how communication will happen in the event of a disaster. Don’t forget to consider how you’ll communicate with customers and suppliers. 

Have a point person at your winery who is responsible for monitoring natural disasters. This person should have clear authority to make decisions about the safety of your crop, inventory, and staff. 

Ensure your plan includes how you’ll protect your equipment, buildings, and inventory.

Protect Your Electronic Data

With so much of your business data stored electronically, be sure that it’s backed up regularly. The backup should happen off-site so that in the event your computers and servers are damaged, you’ll still have access to all your records.

If you’ve been hesitant to use the cloud to store your data, consider making the switch. Most cloud storage providers make multiple backups each day and access is easy from anywhere you have an internet connection. Cloud storage could help your employees to continue working even if your winery has been evacuated or damaged from a natural disaster.

Document, Document, Document.

Keep thorough and complete records of all your business assets and keeping pictures of all your assets will help if you have to make a claim to your insurance carrier. 

You’ll want to document:

  1. The type of asset, including model number and serial number, if applicable
  2. The year it was placed in service
  3. The price you paid for it
  4. Any customizations made to the asset

A good place to start would be using a fixed asset schedule or report. If you don’t keep this schedule, your tax accountant should have a copy. 

Keep in mind all your assets might not be on the fixed asset schedule. Inexpensive equipment like computers or office furniture may not be on the fixed asset schedule, but you’ll want to keep track of those, too. 

Managing and Protecting Inventory Before a Disaster

Inventory is one of the largest assets a winery owns. With a robust inventory management system, you’ll know exactly what you have, and protecting your inventory from a natural disaster should be included in your contingency plan. 

Your wine racks should be sturdy enough to withstand the shaking of an earthquake or strong winds from storms and your wine inventory should be well organized and labeled correctly. 

Keeping your inventory system up to date and organized will be helpful in the event you need to file an insurance claim. 

Your inventory management system should know the exact dollar value of all your inventory at any given moment.  And if you hold a large amount of inventory, ensure your insurance policy covers all of it.  A report with your costs and quantities can be created quickly.

If your business has been affected by the wildfires in California or you could use a helping hand with your business strategy or accounting, get in touch with Protea now.  Our professionals are experts at bookkeeping for wineries and work tirelessly to ensure your financial goals are met. Learn how outsourced accounting and bookkeeping can save your winery time and money.