Good Fruit Grower

December 2012

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Washington Wines. (Bob served as the 2012 co-chair.) "We could have hired a general man- ager and continued on for several more years," he said. "But that's what made Steve and Bridgit Griessel so appealing." The Griessels shared their core beliefs of wanting to produce quality Washington wine, the importance of paying attention to details, and had a familial attitude about business. "They even wanted to live in our house at the winery. It was a marriage with Steve and Bridgit." The Griessels are new to the wine industry. Steve grew up in South Africa, starting his first business at age 25 with $2,000. He's developed companies in the United States and South Africa, mostly involved in the hospitality, sports market- ing, real estate, and investment industries. After his last sell-off of a public company, he took a year off to try to realize a long- time dream of owning a West Coast win- ery. They enlisted an investment bank to help in their winery search. Becoming family Part of the sale of the Woodinville win- ery, which closed in June 2011, was a five- year transition period with Betz as winemaker. Steve explained that five years allows enough time to truly under- stand and document the DNA of the busi- ness and reflect it back to Bob and Cathy to make sure they have it right. Steve said the winery is all about the Betz family, and he and Bridgit want to keep it that way. "It's all about the legacy of Bob, his great winemaking skills, and his dedication and ambassadorship to Wash- ington wines." When children take over a family busi- ness, they have the family DNA and busi- ness culture already imprinted, Steve said. "Bob and Cathy have had to turn us into their family and imprint us with the busi- ness DNA." To do so, Steve said that they've documented what the business is about and the partners talk about it all the time so that he and Bridgit know what they're aiming for and what they still need to learn. "We want to get there by design not by default." He notes that the winery is not just about Bob and Cathy, but the Betz winery has a host of stakeholders, from growers producing the grapes to distributors to wine club members, consumers, and even volunteers who help during winery events. "You need to understand the key stakeholders in the business because they, too, have interest in the business's future and continuity." Steve shared that when he and Bridgit learned of the Betzes' succession plan— Bob's desire to continue making wine without all the other management duties—it was a perfect fit. "We wanted to be their kids," he said. "We loved the idea of stepping into their family." They moved into the Betzes' house, fully embracing the family winery envi- ronment. Steve and Bridgit are raising their last child, Trent, a ten-year-old, in the family business environment. 1615 W. Ahtanum • Yakima, WA 98903 • 509-248-8785, ext. 612 For the representative nearest you, visit our Web site: GOOD FRUIT GROWER DECEMBER 2012 15 "Who knows, maybe he'll grow up to be a winemaker", Steve mused. "It will always be the Betz Family Win- ery," he said. "We have no problem with keeping the Betz legacy intact. Changing the name would be like changing the name of Disneyland if it sold. Why would you want to do that?" Steve likens his relationship with Betz to being an owner/intern. "And I'm very Orchard-Rite® happy to be that intern, learning from the ground up. By being in the winery every day, next to Bob, I am learning his winemaking protocols and his personal signature to making wine." With Bridgit and Steve taking over other business aspects of the winery, Betz can concentrate solely on winemaking. Bridgit brings information technology and digital skills to the winery and is working to manage and improve customer service. "I've told this to Bob a hundred times, and I keep telling him, he's not going any- where," said Steve. "My hope is that after five years, we'll be having so much fun that he'll want to stay involved longer." • Wind Machines • "Orchard Rite Service is second to none." "We're real believers in the Auto Start option." acreage in apples and pears. From November to February, we can deal with arctic events that will take our temperature into the single digits—and even subzero. A I really don't think it's possible to grow stone fruit economically in the Yakima Valley without wind machines. This last year, we would not have even had an apricot crop without them. All of our wind machine purchases since 1982 have been Orchard-Rite. In the wintertime, when we're starting these machines, the temperatures are usually single digits to subzero. We depend on—and have complete confidence in—our Orchard-Rite® Wind Machines and the service we receive. We still have the first Orchard-Rite® Wind Machine we ever bought! We're real believers in the Auto Start option. We order Auto Start on all our new machines. To date, we've retrofitted about 50% of our old machines, and plan to put the Auto Start on the remaining machines. Steve Nunley, Farming Operations Manager Pride Packing, Wapato, Washington Get the Orchard-Rite® story from your nearest representative: Steve Nunley s the operations manager for Pride Packing, I am responsible for managing 2,800 acres of orchard under 260 wind machines. Of that, approximately 1,000 acres are in stone fruit with the remaining

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