Daniel Vineyards, founded in 1990, is a family owned and operated conservation grape farm and estate winery. Their 192 acre property, which is a former golf course, boasts 30 acres of perfectly manicured West Virginia grown grapes.
Daniel Vineyards grows 15 grape varieties known as Cold Climate Cultivars. Daniel Vineyards is the only farm winery and vineyard in the state to place in the top three of 21,000 farms at the West Virginia State Conservation Farm Competition, both in 2008 and 2013.
Chad Daniel, co-owner of Daniel Vineyards in Crab Orchard, West Virginia, talked with Jim Matuga, host of The Positively West Virginia Podcast, about some of the difficulties he faces with distribution, his advice for young entrepreneurs and what he thinks is the best thing about being in business in West Virginia.
What has been the most difficult thing you’ve had to face?
“There are a couple things. Number one for us is the distribution side. We would love to be able to self-distribute throughout the whole state and even be able to distribute to other states. But, for us, we just have too much on our plate to spend our days on the road,” Daniel said.
“The second thing is going to festivals that we know nothing about and don’t know what to expect. Our grandpa would go to these festivals, and he worked out here every day until he was 86. Up until that point, he went to festivals in every state; festivals that we’ve never even heard of.”
“This year, we’ve shown up to a few festivals recently that we’re not really proud of because we didn’t have the right setup, and we didn’t bring the right wine for the people in that region. The booth set-up was embarrassing. It wasn’t appealing. Due to these reasons, we didn’t do well in sales. We couldn’t compete as well as we are accustomed to. But, at this point, all we can do in this situation is adapt and deal with the obstacles in front of us and make the most of what we have.”
What is the best thing about being in business in West Virginia?
“The energy of the people, the culture of West Virginians, the respect and culture they have for farm to table, the work ethic that goes into any kind of farming and the people really do understand the pride and joy and what it takes to have a business like this. I think West Virginia is one of the best states to be in when it comes to small businesses and local product.”
“I was in much larger states and cities with professional teams. I think we just are very different in that aspect, which I really appreciate. It really makes for a fun time.”
“People really stand behind each other and support each other.”
What is one piece of advice you would give a young entrepreneur?
“Number one, you have to have passion for what you do. Our grandpa, if he taught us anything in life, it is that you have to have passion and take risks. Whatever kind of business you are in, you have to try new things; you have to keep up with the times. You can’t be afraid to fail.”
“For example, we have a nine hole disc golf course out here. It’s free to the public. For us, we get a lot of foot traffic out here. They hear about us, and they come. The only downfall to it is we haven’t sold as much canned beer that we hoped for.”
What is one thing you do everyday that contributes to your success?
“We do whatever needs to be done that day. We set daily and weekly goals for ourselves and for the employees. We believe it’s important to focus on the short term goals to reach the long-term goals.”
Daniel was a guest on The Positively West Virginia Podcast. Listen to his full podcast here
- RECOMMENDED RESOURCE: Social Media
- RECOMMENDED BOOK: The Mentor Leader: Secrets to Building People and Teams That Win Consistently by Tony Dungy
- PERSON DANIEL WOULD LIKE TO MEET: Governor Justice