"We want our people presenting in the most polished way they can, and the functionality of the iPhone makes that possible. It adds a level of elegance."
Director of Marketing
Elegant technology for a Napa Valley vineyard.
At Quintessa winery in Napa Valley, California, rows of green vines roll over gentle hills, warming in the afternoon sun and cooling in the evening fog. It’s an elegant landscape, where Quintessa’s winemaker works closely with the soil, wind, and weather to grow unique, intensely flavored grapes.
“Our philosophy is that wine is a reflection of place,” says President Jim Harris. “The way we approach winemaking is to make it as best an expression of this place as possible.”
Terroir, or the particular character of the vineyard, is what customers taste in Quintessa’s wine. Behind the scenes, helping Quintessa’s staff track vineyard data, craft elegant presentations, and bring the beauty of the estate to their customers, is iPhone.
Connecting with customers
Director of Marketing Gwen McGill finds that iPhone is a great tool for sharing the seasons of the vineyard.
“Right now, we’re harvesting, so there’s all kinds of activity in the vineyard,” she says. “I go out with my iPhone and film the crew at work, and take lots of photos. Then I use apps on iPhone—Echofon and Facebook—to post directly to Twitter and Facebook, which we use to communicate with our customers, distributors, and resellers. It helps them connect with the vineyard during a really exciting time of year.”
In other words, iPhone allows McGill to harness the beauty of the Quintessa vineyard and bring that to customers, no matter where they are. “When we’re traveling and presenting, the iPhone allows us to show our brand at its very best,” she says. “We can pull up beautiful, clear-quality video that shows the harvest and our estate. And those things bring the romance of our story to life.”
McGill can also capture images from resellers and relay them back to the vineyard. “Recently, we took a photo of a big display of our wines,” she says. “We circulated that among our salespeople, and Quintessa’s owner sent an email to the account immediately, thanking them. Having that flow happen so quickly is a great way to stay connected with our customers.”
Erin Lynch, Head of Consumer Sales, uses iPhone to track sales generated by Quintessa’s Web site. “With Safari on iPhone, I can log into our web-based e-commerce application,” she says. “It’s simple, and I can see everything: who signed up for our mailing list that day, what purchases were made, and through what channels.”
Using Safari on iPhone to access Quintessa’s e-commerce software, Lynch can also make changes to Quintessa’s Web site—for instance, adding or editing an event announcement or a product listing. And when Quintessa is hosting an event at a local restaurant, Lynch searches the company database to find all local customers and send them an invitation, all with iPhone.
“The reason I wanted to switch to iPhone is very simple. Quintessa represents the best of its business, and the iPhone does as well.”
Jim Harris, President
Lynch credits the fidelity of HTML displayed on iPhone with making her job much easier.
“On the iPhone, every email looks exactly like it would on a computer,” she says. “And that helps tremendously. With my old smartphone, everything was so choppy, and I had trouble viewing emails. With iPhone, I can send HTML emails to myself when I’m working on campaigns, to see what they’ll look like, and that is extremely important.”
iPhone in the vineyard
As Quintessa Winemaker Charles Thomas points out, vintners have been walking vineyards for thousands of years, inspecting vines and tasting grapes for ripeness. But with iPhone in hand, Thomas can summon tools that early winemakers could never have imagined.
Thomas uses Voice Memos to make notes to himself about particular sections of the vineyard, and he takes video to help convey his impressions to people on his staff. “And,” he says, “the GPS is accurate enough that I can mark a spot, take a picture, and send an email with a note saying what I think needs to be done with this particular section of the vineyard—or even this particular vine.”
And if a section of the vineyard is ripe and ready for picking, Thomas can get the word out instantly, without even returning to the winery. “With the maps we have access to on iPhone, plus the ones we develop ourselves,” he says, “it’s very easy to relay to everyone on the team what subsections of the vineyard are ready to pick. And I can send that email out on a moment’s notice. So we don’t have to have a meeting about it an hour later.”
The team at Quintessa has been so pleased with the third-party apps on iPhone that they’ve decided to develop one of their own. “We’re just beginning the project to develop our own app,” Jim Harris says. “We believe that it’ll give us a competitive advantage in the winemaking industry.”
Always in your hand
“The funny thing about iPhone is that it’s always in your hand,” Harris says. “Because there are so many different things you can do with it. You can be more productive at work.”
With iPhone, Harris says, the entire team at Quintessa functions more smoothly. “Our employees are far more engaged. And they’re much more productive.”
They’re also happier. “Compared to my last smartphone,” Charles Thomas says, “iPhone is a lot smarter.”
- 40 employees
- Rutherford, California
- Quintessa’s 280-acre Napa Valley estate includes a valley, lake, river, five hills, four microclimates, and numerous soil types.
A good fit for the brand
For Quintessa, iPhone is not just a technology choice: It’s a branding choice. “The property is beautiful, and the aesthetics are graceful and elegant,” says Director of Marketing Gwen McGill. “And iPhone fits in with that.” When McGill sends salespeople into the field, she’s glad that they have iPhone. “We want our people presenting in the most polished way they can, and the functionality of the iPhone makes that possible. And we can show clients videos and presentations on a beautiful iPhone. It adds a level of elegance.”
Add call, on call
“The cool thing with the iPhone,” says President Jim Harris, “is that you find new stuff all the time.” Case in point: multiline conferencing. “The other day, I was adding somebody to my conference call, and I realized that it was the fourth person. I’d never been able to do that on a phone. So I just kept going. And I added several more lines. It’s a great feature.”
In the vineyard, Quintessa Winemaker Charles Thomas has found a unique use for the Compass app: determining vine direction. “The direction that vines go down the row matters a fair amount,” he says, “both in warmer areas, like the northern parts of Napa Valley, and the cooler areas, where you have wind direction issues. And being able to use the iPhone to say, ‘This is true north’ is a very useful thing. Otherwise, you have three people in the vineyard talking about it, and one’s pointing five degrees away, and another is pointing fifteen degrees away. With Compass on iPhone, we know exactly which direction the vines are pointing.”