Winery compliance systems are very dynamic in their nature. Often the trouble is they are not looked at in this way by those responsible for maintaining them. What is the end result of this? Compliance "weeds" begin to take it over.

The inspiration for this post came to me this weekend as I was diligently pulling the second or third round of weeds from my garden. (Ideas for my business often come to me in the middle of household chores!) I began to think about weeds in general at first, and how unattractive and undesirable they are to a gardener. They take away from the overall visual appeal of the garden and also if allowed to can take over and choke out the plants you want to be able to see.

As I thought about this it came to me, the same holds true for "weeds" in your winery compliance records. They can show up from time to time and if they are not "pulled" can have the same type of effects on your wine records data. That is they can diminish the ability to get at your wine's data effectively (the visual appeal) and if allowed to grow out of control can choke your overall wine records system to a grinding halt.

Some examples of how "weeds" show up in a wine records system are: (1) Missing or incomplete data. This happens when winemaking activities that take place in the cellar are not documented with a work order at the time they happen. The issue here is that work orders which get written up much later after the fact have a high chance of having missing or inaccurate data on them. This missing or inaccurate data then eventually comes back around to haunt the winery's recordkeeper when it suddently mysteriously appears on a future work order. (2) Not having a systematized process for tracking your wine's details. The process I am referring to here is all of the terms used to track the wine's details, such as vineyard names, varietal names, blend numbers assigned to wines, barrel makers, and barrel wood types. (Just to name a few) A winery's records need to have a set protocol for how each of these terms are set up and that protocol needs to always be followed otherwise it makes it difficult to impossible to fully research your wine data.

How can you plan your wine compliance "weed" management? First follow the second step above and create specific protocol and terminology for tracking your wine's throughout their winemaking lives. Second establish with the cellar department a work order system which both of you take ownership of making use of whenever trackable wine activities occur. The cellar and the wine compliance (Or recordkeeping) department are definite allies for each other. Their best relationship is when they work together and collaborate to maintain control of any "weed" issues.

Maintaining winery compliance records does not have to feel like looking at an unattractive garden filled with weeds. Setting and following specific steps is the best form of wine compliance weed control.

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