We recently adopted a 4 month old puppy and are now going through all the interactive learning experiences that come with it. Our guy is a border collie & terrier mix according to the border collie rescue group we found him through, so for anyone familiar with dog breeds that means smart on smart. While we are excited about this in some ways we’re also realizing that our ongoing interaction with him should we want the relationship to be a successful one will need to be very specific, regulated and consistent. There is a direct parallel here with the topics I speak about and promote in my business, as any winery compliance system must also have these same three characteristics in order to be successful.

The first trait, specific relates to the specific items that must exist in any winery compliance system. These include current licenses and permits, bond coverage, work order systems and reporting systems just to name a few. All of the components of a compliance system must be viewed as dynamic, not static ones. All the above mentioned items must be first set up properly to match a winery site and it’s business but then as business and site changes occur over time they must then be updated to continue being in compliance. The specific details of the physical winery site, the business set up, the winemaking activities from start to finish are all parts of what lives in an overall winery compliance system.

The second item on our list is regulated. How this relates when talking about a winery compliance system ties back to our country’s history. Alcohol has been regulated in the US since the early days, post revolutionary war when one of the first taxes was imposed on alcohol with the intent to pay down the debt from that war. And the rest as they say, is our history. So fast forward to today when each US state has its own set of regulations regarding the production and distribution of alcohol. The federal government also still holds an over-arching regulatory role over the alcohol industry, and the local county and city levels are involved as well. So those in the (wine) industry are hit from all these governmental sides on an ongoing basis. (sometimes much to their frustration)

The last item, consistency is key to keeping a winery compliance system on track. (much like it is for maintaining a good dog/dog owner relationship!) You can set up your winery compliance system with the right specifics, be in compliance with the regulatory agencies, but then if it is not maintained consistently it can quickly negate the other two. Consistentcy when it comes to winery compliance means winemaking data is kept up to date regularly, that data is accessible to those who need it, the licenses and permits are kept current, and reports are filed regularly and on-time. If these activities don’t happen a winery’s compliance system can begin to break down, become confusing and a challenge to manage, and worst case scenario licenses are pulled and fines are issued.

We are definetely very glad to have added our puppy to the family. There will very likely be some additional learning curve incidents as we dial in our specific, regulated and consistent system of training. We do know the end result we are looking for, an enjoyable and very interactive relationship for all of us. The same can be said for the desired end result of a well designed, well maintained winery compliance system.

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