“It feels good to have that help because I know I can lean on the SBDC for advice. It’s hard when you are just starting out, you don’t have money to hire consultants. So it has been a really big help.”
Returning to Roots:
Maria Martinson Revives Family Winemaking Legacy at Testa Vineyards
Testa Vineyards is a winemaking and vineyard operation in Mendocino County, California. It was established in 1912 by Gaetona and Maria Testa, and it has been growing grapes for other wineries for many years. Maria Martinson, the current owner, and her family have returned to their winemaking roots in recent years and have been producing their own vintages and offering wine club and wedding venue services.
CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES
Testa Vineyards faces several challenges in its operations, including a lack of storage for their wines and limitations in employee safety, which is preventing them from hiring more people. The vineyard is also waiting for county permits to start new construction to increase production. Despite these challenges, Testa Vineyards has several opportunities for growth and recognition, including being selected as a producer of Coro Mendocino wine and winning multiple awards, such as double gold in the 39th Annual Mendocino County Fair Wine Competition and silver in the 2017 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.
Maria reached out to the West Business Development Center for help with marketing, accounting, and hiring of employees. The SBDC has provided invaluable support and advice, helping to build Maria’s confidence in running the business. Maria recommends the SBDC to anyone starting a business as it provides a valuable resource for advice and consultation.
RESULTS AND FUTURE PLANS
Testa Vineyards is currently doing more production and keeping 10% of the grapes harvested for their own crushing, while selling 90% to other wineries. The vineyard partners with local festivals and businesses to showcase the area and promote their business. Maria and her family are intentionally measuring their growth to avoid overextending themselves and hope to increase production once they have the necessary permits and construction. They are also working on a website that showcases wineries, hotels, restaurants, and other attractions along Highway 101 in Mendocino County. The goal is to make it easier for people to find their way around and discover local businesses.