The Chalice Wine Group (CWG) is a wine producer has a prestigious reputation for producing consistently elegant wines. The CWG owns two vineyards (Chalice and Cimarron) and half of a third (Delta), and also owns three wineries (Chalice, Cimarron, and Alicia) and half of a fourth (Opera Valley). Chalice winery is the flagship of the four wineries, and founded in 1969.
In June 1993, Chalice was the only publicly-held company in the United States whose principal business is the production and sale of premium wines. The four California wineries are located in different place. Each of them has their own president, typically the winemaker, and separate profit center separately.
The Chalice Wine Group has long story with a prestigious reputation for producing great wine. From the information that from the article, I calculated the price that the retailer will sell to the end consumer is $141.88, which means their target customers are the people who has some purchasing power. So, the CWG is a strong competitor in the mid-high end wine market. Because as we read from the article, CWG keeps lose money from 1992, but the other market competitor named Lyford Winery has good profit margin, and ROA ratio.
According to the financial report of CWG, at 1992 and 1993, the group had a net loss of $741,000 and $700,000 separately. In order to find out why the company is losing money, and where did this money lost, and how can the other similar industry companies make money, I will trace the paths followed by the 1991 Cimarron Meritage White from the vinery, winery, distributor to retailor to analysis the numbers in this value chain and find out the reason why the company lost their money.
In order to produce the Cimarron Meritage White, the Cimarron winery needs to buy two kinds of grapes for total 89.17 tonnages at $812.36/ton. Because these two kinds of grapes are grown outside of the Cimarron Vineyard, so they need to pay the hauling cost for $1,463. And the total cost for the grape per case is $13.26.
Assuming the Cimarron winery will buy a 30 acre vineyard in Sonoma County where can grow the required quality grapes to produce Cimarron Meritage White, the price for the land is $525,000, and once the vineyard matured, normally needs more than 5 years, the operating cost will be $9.59/case, and the selling price will be $12.99/case. And the assets allocated into the case is $94.71/case.
Based on the data, I got the some numbers in the Vineyard step. The profit margin in this process is 26.17%, the Assets turnover ratio is 13.7%, and the ROA is 3.59%. The profit is O.K., and the Assets turnover ratio is too low, and the ROA even lower. So I do not recommend the Cimarron Winery to invest new land. In addition, this data is not including the other costs such as price of the land, clear and replanted fee for phylloxeral which 30-acre land has, and the operating costs that happens before the vineyard mature. If we include those costs into calculation, the ratios will be lower.
In the Winery process, the price is $76/case for sell, the carried cost is $25.73, the SG&A expenses is $19.31/case, and the assets allocate cost is $263. So, we got some numbers of the profit is $3.98/case, which is very low, the profit margin is 5.24%, the assets turnover ratio is 29.23%, and the ROA is 1.53%. From these numbers and ratios, I knew that even though for every $1 assets investment, the company generates $0.29 revenue and only $0.0153 profit.
In other words, in this process, the CWG is not utilizing their assets well, or they invest much more in the assets than necessary, or the cost control is poor. When analysis wine’s carry cost, we see the winemaking cost is 40% of the total carry costs, and this is cost too much. The profit margin tells us that for every $1 sale, the company only gets profit at $0.054. So CWG can either reduce it’s costs, or increase it’s selling prices.
All the numbers shows us that in this Winery process, the performance is poor. The Cimarron spends too much in it’s assets investment. Because the overall utilization of the depreciable assets less than 10% annual capacity, the CWG can learn from the Lyford winery to lease the equipment and spaces to reduce it’s assets usage costs.
In this process, the sale cost is $79.81/case, the operating cost is $15.08, and the assets cost is $41.06/case. In order to achieve a gross margin of 25%, the distributor has a 1/3 mark-up over cost, and the final price is $106.41/case. In this process, the distributor got the profit margin at 10.83%. And for every $1 assets investment, the company gets $2.59 revenue, but only $0.28 profit. The problem here is still the sale cost control. It’s looks like the distributor has great sales revenue, but the actual profit is very low. The difference is a big number of sale costs.
The retailer marks up the wine to achieve a 25% gross margin at the process too, and make the price of the wine is $141.88/case. The cost of sales is $106.41/case, the operating cost is $5.82/case, and the assets cost is $48.68/case. So, we get the profit margin ratio at 4.1%, which is the lowest ration among four process, the assets turnover ratio is $291.45%, and the ROA is 11.9%. The issue in this process is even worse than the distributor process. The assets turnover ratio looks great at 2.9145, however, the ROA only at 0.119. The cost of wine, which is $106.41, is playing a big role in this process, so the profit will not be very high.
Collecting all the information in the case, I got the numbers of the Lyford’s are: the revenue is $45/case, the costs of sales is $25.41, the marketing expenses and the leasing space and equipment fee is $6.09, and the assets cost is $13.50/case. And the profit margin ratio is 30%, the assets turnover ratio is 333.33%, and the ROA is 100%.
For every $1 invest in assets, the Lyford get $1 profit !!!, and the cost in assets only 30% of the sales, because the Lyford leased all of its equipment and spaces, and purchased the services of bring the wine from the bulk wine market to the distribution from wineries with surplus capacity, which they will charge for less, or from the custom winemaking operations. In other words, the Lyford winery will not spend large resources into some depreciable assets that idling most of the year. And the Lyford may more flexible plan to bring the product from the bulk to the distributor, which also means they spend much less than Cimarron do.
All above all, comparing the ratios among the 4 processes of the Cimarron Meritage White and the Lyford winery, I recommend the Cimarron that: 1) skip the distributor process. So there will not be two times 1/3 mark-up over cost, then the final price of the Cimarron Meritage White will be lower and some potential customers might be turn to CWG, and the sales will increase; 2) rent the assets to other wineries when the equipment or spaces set aside for nothing to do; 3) stop invest in assets/land; 4) learn from the Lyford.
Outsourcing the services that required brining the wine to the distributor. The last, even though the Lyford’s financial number looks great in this industry, but they still need to be careful about their risk-cost, because all the assets are rented, and the process that bringing the wine to the final customers are more like depending on the others, so if there is really something happens, such as the leaser stop their lease unexpected, or no more wineries with surplus capacity available, the Lyford might have some problem at some extent.