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Melbourne - Napa
CA, 94558
United States
(888) 240-4860
Heather Crawford

Bringing the promise of technology to the wine industry


vintrace is intuitive Cloud winery software, our rapid implementation can get you working in as few as 5 days


vintrace lives, breathes, and works to achieve just one aim: deliver the most impressive digital tool kit to the global wine industry.


Our team's passion for helping winemakers craft great businesses is the secret behind our success, along with vintrace's team values:

  • Building strong enduring relationships
  • Always being responsive to our customer's needs
  • Adding value to the winemaker's craft through digital technology
  • The reliability of our products and support is paramount


Run your winery from anywhere with our iOS and Android Apps

imageSoftware overview


vintrace is sophisticated yet surprisingly intuitive software designed specifically for wine makers.



Say goodbye to double entry forever. vintrace integrates seamlessly with Quickbooks Online, Xero, TankNET, VinWizard, ETS Labs, AgCode, OenoFoss, Wine Scan, ChemWell and Thermo Scientific Gallery as well as your scales.  Quickbooks Enterprise customers can load their data with a few clicks.


Upgrades and Support

With the monthly subscription plan, your vintrace package includes support and product upgrades.



vintrace is available on monthly subscription and works with any mobile device - iOS and Android, and is completely browser based for use from any computer anywhere. vintrace can work with QR codes and barcodes allowing your choice of scanning tools and technology.


Custom Crush customers use vintrace client billing to attach charges based on each customer's fee schedule(s) at the time of the operation eliminating errors and tedious invoice reconciliations.  


Plan and schedule

vintrace makes planning and scheduling your fruit intake and crush pad operations a cinch, keeping your winery running at its optimum capacity right through harvest.


Smart work orders

vintrace will revolutionize your cellar - in just a few keystrokes; allocate work and keep track of additions, what's in the tank, barrel usage and analysis.  All while vintrace tracks lots for FDA compliance, costs for your accountants and wine movements for the TTB.


Sales and purchase

With vintrace, you can raise purchase orders directly with your suppliers and generate sales orders and email invoices directly to your clients.

Tracing every stage of production with ease
Tracing every stage of production with ease
Throw away your paper reports. With vintrace, there’s no more storing and retrieving information from hard copies or spreadsheets.
Track & manage dry goods
Track & manage dry goods
Quickly view your inventory of dry goods and chemicals. Track your stock levels, recieve alerts when they’re running low and order more stock. Track these goods against lots and ensure they’re meeting food safety standards.
Manage bottling logistics
Manage bottling logistics
Gain visibility of the whole process of bottling, storage, wholesale orders, purchases and delivery. Know your current stock levels, ensure they are always in the right place and order stock on time.
Locate stock easily
Locate stock easily
Take advantage of inventory visibility to boost efficiency by locating orders quickly. Manage your inventory seamlessly across multiple warehouses and locations. Now it’s easy to do your monthly stock counts.
Smart work processes
Smart work processes
In just a few keystrokes, create and allocate work orders and keep track of additions, contents of the tank, barrel usage and analysis. Plan and schedule your fruit intake and crush pad operations, so your winery runs at optimum capacity through the harvest period.
Improve communication
Improve communication
vintrace connects all stakeholders in one place. This becomes more and more critical as a winery grows, for messaging and tracking conversations between staff, growers, customers and contract winemaking clients.
Direct purchasing & sales
Direct purchasing & sales
With vintrace, you can raise purchase orders directly with your suppliers, and generate sales orders and email invoices directly to your clients.
Intelligent reporting
Intelligent reporting
vintrace has the smarts to manage your compliance requirements, understand your profit and losses and give you valuable business insights. We support exporting reports into popular formats like PDF and Excel.
Technology meets the art of winemaking
Technology meets the art of winemaking
How technology is making a huge impact in the art of winemaking as told by passionate Napa Valley winemakers at Brasswood Estate and Wheeler Farm.
Take a 2 minute demo
Take a 2 minute demo
In just 2 minutes see how vintrace can help you make better quality wine and run a smarter winery.
Vintrace New Feature - Stock Allocation
Manage your cased good stock allocation to customers and sales regions by using Products - a new way to link bulk and cased goods to supply and demand.
Learn more...
Available in the new vintrace for
 Estate plans or higher.
For the best experience download the app today


Login using your customer code, username and password

News Archive

Free webinar - Lessons from Leading Winemakers! 🍷🖥️
13 July, 2020

Tuesday, July 21 @ 10 AM (US) / Wednesday, July 22 @ 5 PM (AUS) 

Catered specifically towards winery owners & staff members working in the production industry, we will discuss how to get the most out of your technology to supercharge your winemaking process. ⚡

Don’t miss out on this informative webinar!

Follow the link to secure your spot today.

Capture Vineyard Assessments, Notes and Photos using the App
23 June, 2020

Update your app from the App Store or Google Play.
Capture observations about your vines while you're walking the vineyard

We're pleased to introduce this new feature now available on the vintrace App for iOS and Android. Update the app on your device and search for your blocks to start adding observations.

 This feature is perfect for taking photos of pest, disease or other situations and accurately logging pre harvest assessments of your fruit.

 The location of the observations can also be automatically captured so you can refer back to a map for easy reference.
Read the full release notes
For the best experience download the app today


Login using your customer code, username and password

Lessons from Down Under: Navigating Harvest in the Time of COVID-19
10 June, 2020

Australia and New Zealand went into COVID-19 lockdown on March 23, right in the middle of Harvest. This webinar is a rare opportunity to hear, first hand, from three master winemakers who, without warning, had to navigate harvest with the sudden lockdown restrictions. These winemakers share their experience, insights, and lessons learned with Jamie Gilchrist, Co-Founder, vintrace wine production software, based in Melbourne, Australia.

Join us to hear Jeremy Dineen, Nikolai St George, and Dan Buckle reflect on:
•    What they would have done differently if they had time to prepare (COVID restrictions went into place after harvest had begun)
•    How they enacted social distancing and its effect on harvest
•    The role technology played
•    And other questions about the extraordinary circumstances they faced

Vintrace Would Love to See Your Harvest T-Shirt
12 May, 2020


Please follow these steps below to enter in our harvest t-shirt contest to win an iPod. 


How to Enter:

  1. Follow vintrace on Facebook
  2. post a photo of your harvest t-shirt and tag the winery you worked for and us
  3. use hashtag #vintrace in the comments 
  4. last day to post is May 31.
  5. no limit on how many harvest t-shirts you can enter.


Act Now to Ensure a Successful Harvest
08 May, 2020

Now's the time to think about doing things differently this harvest. Times are challenging but the technology is here to take some of the pain away. 

With vintrace our customers can:

-- Work remotely with Cloud technology

-- Work with smaller teams

-- Share information with clients or consultants

-- Stagger shifts and plan cellar work

Read this case study to see how Vineyard 29 reduced the number of harvest interns needed from 5 to 2, giving winemakers more time for their craft, and delivering real-time information.

vintrace Announces Acquisition of - Free Calculator for Winemakers
04 December, 2019

vintrace, the leading Cloud based winery management software solution helping winemakers run simpler and smarter businesses, has acquired, adding to the vintrace portfolio of services for winemakers.

Begun as a spreadsheet for calculations, and passed around various winery labs, has become an indispensable resource for winemakers.  “We are always looking for ways to serve the winemaking community with the best tools to run a simpler winery. is a perfect addition to vintrace’s offerings.” said Joshua Abra, Director at vintrace.  

“I’m happy to see in the hands of the team at vintrace, they have the vision and talent to expand its utility and reach in ways I could not have.” said Stuart Henry, Founder of  Henry remains a friendly advisor to vintrace as a result of the acquisition. by vintrace will continue to be a free service available to all at  Future investment by vintrace will include expanded calculations and free reference guides.  To celebrate the acquisition vintrace is offering new customers a discount on vintrace Boutique when they register at

About vintrace

Since 2007, vintrace has constantly evolved, using innovative technology to help global winemakers meet the challenges and complexities of running their business. With offices in Sonoma, California and Melbourne, Australia, vintrace has helped global winemakers crush, track and process over 3.65 million tons of fruit, making it one of the most trusted solutions for winemakers worldwide. 

For questions please contact Joshua Abra +1-888-240-4860.

Let Vintrace Help You Run Your Winery in a Simpler Way
02 December, 2019

Looking for an easier way to handle TTB and FDA compliance, as well as simpler way to run your winery? Come visit us in booth 333 at the WIN Expo and see how vintrace helps winemakers. Meet the team that answers the phones here in Sonoma, try out the next generation of scanner and check out the latest features in our mobile Apps for both Android and iOS and our modern desktop look and feel. With the recent release of our new Boutique product we have offerings for winemakers producing a few cases or a few million.  We look forward to seeing old friends and making new ones – Happy Holidays and Best Wishes for 2020 to all.

WIN Expo Booth: 333

vintrace’s mission is to provide a simple, mobile enabled, Cloud platform for winemakers. Since 2007, vintrace has helped global winemakers crush, track and process over 3.65 million tons of fruit, making it one of the most trusted solutions for winemakers worldwide. With vintrace you and your team have the choice of using smartphones, tablets and desktops to track and manage:

  • Vineyard Blocks
  • Fruit Intake
  • Lab Analysis
  • Composition
  • Cellar Operations
  • Inventory
  • Costing
  • TTB Compliance Reporting
  • Lot Tracking for FDA Compliance Reporting

And now with by vintrace, we’re offering a free tool to the winemaking community. Working with your current wine panel metrics this free online and app based solution helps winemakers calculate adds and adjustments to reach critical targets for optimal wine chemistry based on your style. Come visit us at the show or in our offices in Sonoma, California and Melbourne, Australia.

vintrace Welcomes Heather Crawford as General Manager for North America
30 October, 2019

vintrace, the leading Cloud based winery management software solution helping winemakers run simpler and smarter businesses, welcomes Heather Crawford to the role of General Manager for North America.  

Crawford will lead North America’s team ensuring customers continue to receive the high touch service they are accustomed to as vintrace enter it’s 13th consecutive year of double-digit growth.

“Heather’s proven blend of wine industry know-how, business leadership, cross industry success and infectious passion for wine reflects our own love of the industry and dedication to the people that make it possible,” said vintrace co-founder and Board Director Joshua Abra.

Crawford brings significant talent to vintrace with more than 20 years leading Business Development, Finance and Technology for leading brands in wine, Beringer, Chateau St. Jean, Stags’ Leap amongst others and is expected to leverage her cross-industry executive experience from food, hi-tech and insurance.  

Crawford also brings to the company a strong focus on ongoing innovation as she is a Former Member of the Band of Angels, and Co-Chair of their Software investment group.  Heather will continue in her role of advising several Venture  funds, serving on innovation boards and as a Milestone Maker at The NASDAQ Entrepreneurial Center.

“I’m thrilled to join this team of talented technologists and winemaking professionals, wholly dedicated to bringing the smartest solution to the market,” said Heather.

Crawford earned her MS in Economics from Caltech including game theory research contributing to the FCC electromagnetic spectrum auction design.  She earned her BA in Economics and Political Science from the University of Arizona, she is an admitted member of Phi Beta Kappa.  In addition to her academic and professional accomplishments Crawford has also served as an intern for the Honourable John McCain, is a trained dancer, amateur baker and holds a WSET level 2 certification.

About vintrace

Since 2007, vintrace has constantly evolved, using innovative technology to help global winemakers meet the challenges and complexities of running their business. With offices in Sonoma, California and Melbourne, Australia, vintrace has helped global winemakers crush, track and process over 3.65 million tons of fruit, making it one of the most trusted solutions for winemakers worldwide.

Cloud-Based Software Company Reaches Out to Boutique Winemakers with New Production Management App
05 August, 2019

Since 2007, Vintrace has been supporting hundreds of estate wineries and custom crush facilities with a state-of-the-art software management system that allows them to accurately track data and manage a multitude of other business issues central to successful winemaking on a medium to large scale.

In a revolutionary new move, the company has announced Vintrace Boutique, a real-time data tracking app built for the small producer and boutique winemaker producing 10,000 or less cases per year.

“A lot of these boutique winemakers are essentially a one-man show, burdened with the same requirements in terms of compliance and harvest as the larger operations,” acknowledges Joshua Abra, Vintrace CEO and Co-Founder. “Vintrace Boutique is designed to capture everything in real time so smaller producers can realize the true benefits of what we do.”

Vintrace’s innovative technology facilitates business management functions for small and large winery production operations on multiple levels at the same time.

For instance, the cloud-based, Vintrace application employs a sophisticated barrel-tracking feature that allows users to seamlessly and quickly print out QR codes to accurately label and follow barrel movement, which can then be scanned and recorded with a smartphone.

Vintrace software also coordinates and simplifies the management of harvest by facilitating intelligent picking decisions and alleviating any capacity or timing issues at crush.

Other key benefits of Vintrace plans include the ability to:

  • Track small and large lots of wine on the go
  • Keep records in real time and avoid tedious spreadsheets
  • Stay compliant with government regulations to avoid costly mistakes
  • Easily manage multiple clients, bonds and APs
  • Cut administrative costs with automatic client billing
  • Gain high level visibility over multiple sites and staff
  • Quickly track bulk wine and brand allocations
  • Level flexible reporting for decision makers
  • Simplify communication at all levels of winemaking and selling operations

Purchase of Vintrace includes ongoing HELP Desk support as well monthly webinars; an integrated part of the company’s stellar customer service commitment.

“Everyone at our company has worked in the wine industry,” Abra attests. “They’ve worked in compliance, in production, in the cellar and in the front of the house … our employees truly understand the wine business.”

Abra points out that any small lot winemakers interested Vintrace Boutique are now eligible for a 14-day free trial, which can be accessed on the company’s website.

For more information go to
Get a 14 day free trial here
See all plans and pricing here



Use This Free Guide to Choose the Right Software to Run Your Winery
05 February, 2019

Not all software solutions are built the same or come with the service and support you’ll need. To help you decide we’ve compiled a checklist of things to consider before making your decision.

References, References, References

  • Speak to at least 3 wineries of a similar size to yours that have been using the software for at least 12 months, including through a harvest
  • Be sure to ask about the support, service and reliability of the software

Training, Setup and Ongoing Support

  • Be properly trained with onsite or online training and free monthly webinars
  • Ensure your data (from your old spreadsheets and systems) is imported for you at no extra charge
  • Ensure the software runs on a tier 1 Cloud provider (such as Amazon) with proven disaster recovery procedures and performance. Read more.
  • Free and regular software updates, all installed for you
  • Free, friendly phone and email support in English and Spanish
  • Detailed online help guides and a dedicated YouTube channel
  • Save time with best-in-class integration partnerships including TankNET, ETS, FOSS, AgCode, VinWizard, Xero, Vend, fruit scales and more.

Custom crush

  • Give your clients online access through the web and the App to access their wines and run their own reports without calling or emailing you
  • Track multiple APs, bonds or facilities in the one convenient database
  • Invoice your customers directly for custom crush work leveraging price lists and automation to make billing as simple as tracking work orders

Real time mobility

  • A robust state of the art App on both iPhone and Android that is easy to use
  • Use the App on your phone to complete work orders, enter lab results, schedule and crush your fruit plus much more
  • Support for industrial hardware with long range scanning capability such as the Android mc33 for harsher cellar and warehouse environments

Winemaking, reports and compliance

  • Be able to schedule work orders in advance of a wine moving into a tank
  • Backdate analysis and additions even after a wine has moved from tank or barrel
  • Print barcodes for your barrels and tanks and scan them easily from your phone to reduce errors in the cellar
  • Be able to customize the layout of your work orders, reports and labels on an as needed basis for you and your management team
  • Track and report on COGs for your wines from fruit through to finished product with the ability to back date costs at a later date. Make sure your accountants have confidence in the numbers
  • Easily run a TTB 5120.17 report that is ready-to-file as often as you need
  • Be compliant with the FDA and FSMA with comprehensive additive lot tracking and tracing
  • Easily correct mistakes with a convenient undo or rollback feature
  • Track and manage dry goods, finished goods and all other inventory without needing to purchase an additional system

If you’d like to see how vintrace can help you get organized and run a simpler winery then contact us now.

Chris Thomas from Dowie Doole with His Top Tips for Aspiring Young Winemakers
16 January, 2019

We sat down with Chris Thomas of Dowie Doole to get his insights on the industry and his top tips for success, technology, work-life balance and an amazing red carpet experience at the Cannes Film Festival. See vintrace at Booth 517 at Unified in Sacramento.

Can you tell us a little about your business and what you’ve been up to lately? 

In the last 2 years we’ve purchased 79 hectares of new vineyard, and have taken control of a new 500 tonne winery. Which has meant we’ve had to implement a lot of new systems to the business, such as Vintrace which has been fantastic.

What are some of the challenges of running a successful business in today’s wine industry? 

The challenge of the wine industry is also what makes it exciting, lots of diversity. Making multiple wines, having to keep your eye on wholesale, direct, and international sales, and meeting all the market demands. To do this you need to have a clear understanding of the process and the costs involved in the business, as without sales and a profit you won’t be an ongoing winery.

You’ve been using vintrace for almost 2 years, how has it benefited your business? 

It’s given us a real time costing and we are now running the winery essentially live day to day at the winery. Everything from using the Vintrace app to scan barrels so I know exactly the parameters of the wine I am looking at any time. It’s allowed us to operate faster with a better understanding of our costs of goods. It gives us a clear picture from grape maturity through to sales analysis at the end. It’s a fantastic central truth for our wine business.

What role do you think technology plays in running a modern winery? 

Technology plays a huge role, the use of smart phones, tablets etc to get data instantly and make real time decisions has allowed us to operate faster and without modern technology we couldn’t do that. I certainly couldn’t spend 4.5 months a year overseas without being able to jump of the cloud and look at all my information back in Australia.

You were a finalist in the Young Gun of Wine awards. What advice can you give to aspiring young winemakers? 

Find a region you really love and want to make wine in. Start working in that region, get to know the community and get involved through community events. One of the first things I did was get involved with the McLaren Vale Wine Show committee, it allowed me to get to know so many people in the region and understand so much about what makes the region tick. It allowed me to become part of the community and better understand how we can promote McLaren Vale wine all across the world.

How do you manage work / life balance? 

I try to mix work with pleasure. A good example is recently when I was overseas for work my wife and my two young kids came a met me in Hong Kong. We had a week’s holiday in Hong Kong then two weeks in Thailand. Work hard but then rest and relax with my family and make them a part of my wine journey as well.

Following your Instagram account we know you travel a lot. What’s been your strangest experience while overseas? 

The most surreal experience was being a guest at Cannes Film Festival. Being able to walk the red carpet with starts such as Susan Sarandon and Claire Danes walking next to me. Definitely something I never thought could happen!

Some of the strangest experiences is eating some of the food across Asia, such as pig brains. Food I’d never thought I’d eat in my life. The scariest thing is that I actually really enjoy most of the crazy food!

Finish this sentence… without vintrace I ….

Couldn’t run my wine business whilst sitting by the pool on a family holiday sipping a cocktail!  



Thanks Chris, we’ll drink to that! You can follow Chris on his Instagram account here.

Tips to Stay Compliant When Adjusting Bottled Wine Inventory on Your TTB 5120.17
19 December, 2018

Guest blog by Olivia Leigh from Compli, Paso Robles. Learn more about vintrace here or visit us at Booth 517 at Unified in Sacramento, CA Jan 30-31 2019.

At first glance, the TTB’s 5120.17 Report of Wine Premises Operations can seem overwhelming and complex, especially when it comes to the various options for bottled wine inventory movements. While standard taxpaid removals, receipts/transfers in bond and bottled inventory are commonplace, there are several options in Section B that are not so straightforward but very useful under certain circumstances.

Adjustments increasing inventory

Line 4 – Taxpaid Wine Returned to Bond

Reference Line 10 and Line 15 for instances when wine is commonly returned to bond.
A claim must be filed (TTB F 5620.8) per 27 CFR 24.66 to request a refund or credit of tax. Situations where a refund of tax credit is requested should be documented within Section X of the 5120.17 form for that reporting period.

Line 5 – Write In Entry: Inventory Gain

Like Section A, Line 9 – Inventory Gain, Section A, Line 30 – Inventory Losses and Section B, Line 19 – Inventory Shortage, this line is only to be used after a full physical inventory is conducted and documented. Should the proprietor determine that there is more bottled inventory on hand than the book record shows, a gain would be reported on this line to reconcile the report.

Helpful Tip: A complete physical inventory is required at least once per year and is typically set for June 30th or December 31st depending upon the proprietor’s filing frequency. It is also possible to have a variance on file with the TTB for another date entirely.
For Inventory Gains, use Section X to reference the physical inventory date and attach the inventory signed under penalty of perjury.

Adjustments Decreasing Inventory

Line 10 – Dumped to Bulk

Proprietors may dump bottled wine to bulk for several reasons:

  • Wine Quality Issues
  • Inaccurate ABV dumped back for blending
  • Unwanted secondary fermentation
  • Problems with the corks (leaking)
  • Unfiltered wine dumped back for filtering
  • Wine needs to be heat or cold stabilized
  • Vessel cap failure (keg wine)
  • Relabelling
  • Altering the wine by creating a new blend

Dumping to bulk may be a three-step process if the inventory is taxpaid; bottled wine is returned to bond (Section B – Line 4), dumped to bulk (Section B – Line 10) and re-entered to the bulk wine section via Section A, Line 8 – Taxpaid Wine Returned to Bond.


Line 11 – Used for Tasting

When a proprietor’s tasting room is included within their bonded premise, they have the option of removing bottled wine as “Used for Tasting”.


Line 12 – Removed for Export

If the proprietor chooses to export bottled wine out of the United States, that wine is eligible for exemption from excise taxes. However, proprietors must submit TTB Export Form 5100.11 and proof of export for each shipment to receive approval to waive these taxes.
Reference your TTB f 5100.00 filing date and method of submission within Section X.


Line 13 – Removed for Family Use

Wine may be removed un-taxpaid for family use by individual owners and partnerships, up to 100 gallons per year for a single adult household or up to 200 gallons for a two-adult household. This privilege does not apply to corporations. In the case of Limited Liability Companies, the privilege applies if the company files taxes and conducts business as a partnership rather than a corporation, so additional research may be required to determine eligibility.


Line 14 – Used for Testing

The amount of wine used for testing may be un-taxpaid regardless of whether the testing occurs on premise or at an offsite laboratory facility. Proprietors will often send bottled wine for testing for:

  • Additional testing required for export
  • Microbial growth
  • Quality control checks for Sulphur levels, Brettanomyces, high volatile acidity (VA), Trichloranisole (TCA), smoke taint, CO2, etc.


Line 15 – Write-In Entry: Destroyed

In some instances, it may be determined that a lot of bottled inventory is unfit for consumption and the only recourse is to have the inventory destroyed. The proprietor must first request approval from the TTB to destroy the inventory before proceeding and reporting the loss here. Some common reasons for this include:

  • Tired wine or wine past its prime pulled from inventory
  • Oxidized wine
  • Corked wine
  • Microbial growth
  • High VA
  • Brettanomyces
  • Unsafe smoke taint levels

Destroying wine is generally a two-step process; bottled wine is returned to bond (Section B – Line 4) and then destroyed after approval (Section B – Line 15).

Helpful tip: It is highly recommended to reference the approval date when the TTB allowed for the destruction of wine in Section X of the 5120.17 form. This information must be included if the proprietor intends to file a claim for allowance of loss (TTB F 5620.8) for wine destroyed in bond.


Line 18 – Breakage

Any bottled, bonded wine destroyed by breakage is reported here. This most often covers general losses from dropped cases, for example.
For extraordinary or unusual losses such as fire, flood, earthquake, loss in transit or theft, the proprietor should document the loss in Section B, Line 15, 16 or 17 as a write-in. Claims for allowance of loss must be filed immediately in this instance, rather than with the proprietor’s annual inventory. Proprietors should take pictures to document extraordinary losses and reference the incident in Section X of the 5120.17 form for the reporting period in which the loss occurred.


Line 19 – Inventory Shortage

The partner line to Line 5 – Inventory Gain, this line item may only be used after a full physical inventory has been conducted and documented.
For Inventory Shortages, use Section X to reference the physical inventory date and attach the inventory signed under penalty of perjury.

A little about me

Olivia Leigh is a Paso Robles native with lifelong involvement in California wine and agriculture. Her first job at 16 was working at a Paso Robles winery (in the office, of course), followed by several work experiences with other local wineries in the area.

Her interest in the local agriculture industry led her to earn an Agricultural Communications degree from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.

After several years working in the fresh produce industry, she returned to her Paso Robles wine roots last year by accepting the position of Director of Alcohol Beverage Licensing at Compli, the industry leader in compliance software and services for the beverage alcohol industry.

Training Workshop and User Group Meeting, June 8th
06 June, 2018

Spend half a day with the vintrace crew and a hugely experienced group of guest speakers in Napa, California for our annual user group meeting. This is an invaluable opportunity to network with other vintrace users, have your questions answered and provide feedback direct to the team. 

We're excited to have some industry superstars this year on our panel as guest speakers: 

  • Jamie Gilchrist, Co-founder, Vintrace
  • Brandon Burk, Data Specialist, The Vintage Report and Fruition Sciences
  • Cara Morrison, Winemaker,  Sonoma-Cutrer
  • Sheri McKenzie, Label and Ribbon Expert, ExtenData
  • Ryan Prichard, Winemaker & Assistant GM, Three Sticks
  • Shane Hastings, Assistant Winemaker, Seghesio Family Vineyards
  • Ron Aviles, Data Capture Hardware Specialist, ExtenData
  • Compli, Paso Robles

You'll meet co-founder Jamie Gilchrist and the whole US vintrace team. Brandon Burk from The Vintage Report will present a seasonal brief on the first stages of the Napa growing year and the team from Compli will be helping you become TTB Audit ready. We're going to have a valuable panel discussion on how to get the most from vintrace featuring Cara Morrison, Ryan Prichard and Shange Hastings. 

We can't wait to show you how you can save a heap of time this harvest by using the latest vintrace App and we'll have a tour of the brand new vintrace User Interface.

As in previous years we'll be subsidizing this event in order to keep the cost low. We'll have some lucky door prizes on the day and everyone that attends will get their very own vintrace trucker cap. 

The event will run from 8.45am until 1pm with light refreshments and lunch included.

Click here for tickets

Vintrace: An Easy to Use, Powerful Software for Winemakers
21 March, 2018

Vintrace is a sophisticated yet surprisingly intuitive business software designed specifically for winemakers. Easy to use and powerful, vintrace takes the guesswork out of making great wines and building a great business.

Avoid Costly Mistakes by Managing Your Barrel Inventory Using a Bar Code System
20 December, 2017

Barrel management systems (BMS) including tracking, maintenance and history have traditionally been adjunct functionality to many winery management systems.  Perhaps simple systems are overwhelmed by the added complexity of mobile vessels versus larger tanks that usually live in one location. It’s no wonder then that many of us still track barrels via spreadsheets, clipboards and placards at row ends.

Barrels can be difficult to track and mistakes are costly

I’ve worked with many popular integrated systems that were terrible at managing barrel groups, breaking apart barrel groups, specifying which barrels got topped with what and how much KMBS to add to each barrel. Those systems couldn’t handle different size/capacity of barrels or other breakdown vessels, let alone keeping track of where they were moved to in the cellar. I’ve personally seen all this complexity lead to costly mistakes including:

  • incorrect blends
  • white juice into previously red barrels
  • maintenance additions out of proportion with allowable amounts, i.e. damaged wines
  • lost barrels

Purpose built scanners versus iPhone, iPad and Android devices

The better systems include the ability to work with a bar code scanner for ultimate efficiency, less opportunity for errors, and ease of input for individual vessel tracking. Bar code scanning can be done by a purpose built device, much like those you see at grocery stores and Costco. Other systems allow users to scan with their personal mobile devices, like iPhone, iPad and Android devices, etc. The purpose built scanners utilized are generally rugged, moisture resistant and can focus a laser beam scanner up to barrels stacked six high. Smartphones and tablets can’t be relied on to perform as ruggedly or from such distances, but their constant presence in the cellar is undeniable. Ideally having the flexibility to work with both kinds of devices will fit just about any workplace.

My experience suggests that rugged purpose built (read expensive) bar code scanners, usually present a return on investment (ROI) at 1,500 or more barrels, ie larger operations. Otherwise the flexibility of smartphones is paramount in any system but especially for small to mid sized operations. Having the flexibility in a system as you grow or expand is a huge benefit.

Choosing the right type of label and size

The larger the bar code, the further away you can scan it. If you have small bar codes your crew will need to get really close in order to scan that barrel as part of any cellar work. In my experience there is a trade off between bar code size and aesthetics within the barrel hall that many businesses need to manage. A common label size is approximately 2 x 4 inches in size (50mm x 100mm) but you can print smaller ones for the rings.

I recommend putting a primary and secondary label on each barrel. The primary bar code is more like a VIN number that is more permanent, should be placed on the head and have a larger bar code. The secondary label should be in a different position, on the crown ring at the two and four o-clock placement for ease of scanning from both below and at eye level.

You want your labels to be robust and to stay on during routine filling, emptying and cleaning. I recommend a high-tac adhesive label stock that’s chemical resistant and made from polyester. High-tac adhesive is key so they don’t come off after the first wash. I also recommend staying away from thermal labels such as those printed by Dymo or Brother printers as can either fade or if placed on the ring, turn black in the sun! Instead consider the Zebra series of printers.

What about RFID?

I’m often asked about the possibility of RFID as an alternative to bar coding barrels and in my experience being able to scan a barrel from a distance and using line of sight rather than waving an RFID wand past the barrel is much more efficient and costs less to maintain. You also get the flexibility to add more information to your labels. RFID is generally not compatible with out-of-the box smartphones either and so you get the added advantage of lower hardware costs.

How does vintrace stack up?

vintrace has once again set the bar in our industry by offering all the capabilities as well as including being the first to offer a free App for both iOS and Android personal devices. The best thing about the App is the functionality included is part of the base module of vintrace. For larger operations, you can purchase the rugged scanners which work on WIFI or have the capability to work offline and sync back to vintrace at a later date. This is particularly useful in a barrel cave with no signal. vintrace also incorporates bar code scanning for more common winery operations, including; work orders, labs, harvest scheduling, tank and stock bar code tagging.

Check your system against vintrace to see how it stacks up to these features:

  • No more double entry, scan the work order and then the barrels for the job
  • Scan barrels to easily update their location
  • Check the latest composition and analysis all from the handheld device
  • Compatible with a range of robust Motorola scanners
  • Barrels can still be scanned when outside of wireless range
  • Prevent lost barrels and other costly cellar mistakes
  • Print your own robust and cost effective Zebra bar code labels

A little about me

After a successful career in corporate America, I transitioned to the wine industry and have become an industry veteran with 10+ years experience as a grower, winemaker, and winery General Manager.

My role as former General Manager for Carneros Vintners custom crush facility and sister facility Lodi Vintners, was the impetus for my investigation of winery production software options. My work with a variety of wineries exposed me to an array of winery software before deciding on the vintrace platform to run the custom crush facilities and since, a few small and larger boutique wineries. My hands on winery experience and real life use of vintrace are the foundation of my success representing the vintrace software platform in North America.

Click here for more information. 

vintrace Is Now Available for Android on Google Play
01 December, 2017


Got an Android device? Get the new vintrace app

We’re pleased to announce the first release of our app for all those customers using Android powered devices. This first release has the following features with additional features coming very soon:

Search for bulk wines

  • See latest lab results for wines, status information, composition
  • Quickly add analysis to your wines
  • Scan barcodes on barrels, tanks etc to get quick access to wines
  • Edit basic status information
  • Add notes on your wines

We’ll be adding support for Submitting Jobs in the very next version and moving forward the features will then be in-sync with those released on the iOS version of the App.

How much does it cost?

It’s free for vintrace customers with an active vintrace subscription to the web app.

How do I login?

Once you’ve installed the App, use the same username and password that you use to login to the web version of vintrace. You will also need your client code and if you don’t know what this is it’s under Help > About after logging into the web version of vintrace. If you need assistance, contact us.

Do you have an iOS app?

Yes! Download it here.

Why a Winemaking Review Now Is Critical for Learning and Planning for Next Year
02 November, 2017

By Patrick Baker

After all the harvest scheduling, logistics, and chaos come to completion with fruit nice and safely tucked into the nooks and crannies of wineries, the real winemaking magic happens.

If you were in or near the California wildfires this season as we were, our hat’s off to you. The business of winemaking has been made even more dangerous and in some instances disastrous than any other year in recent memory. Like many, we were working to support our customers remotely as our office and homes were evacuated.

Donations can be made to wildfire relief here.

Most of us involved in the dayâtoâday winemaking process recognize now as the critical time to focus, skills honed, on the winemaking “season”. All the logistics, preâplanning for barrels, equipment and perhaps some technical experimentation are in action and full throttle. It’s a little daunting and there are still many risks at hand, namely; equipment failures, stuck fermentations, supply shortages, staff scheduling and a host of other potentials. You’re expecting some of these because you used last year’s team wrap up meeting to mitigate in prep for this year.

I’m guessing few of us were expecting wildfires and natural disaster declarations, so our wrap up meetings this year will definitely include some not so often discussed topics.

I’m a big fan of a full team meeting around the conclusion of the last pressings/barrel down, to
brainstorm what went right, what broke or needs attention before use again. It’s a time for everyone’s ego to be checked at the door so we can get a full candid report. This meeting usually precludes a sigh of relief as we near the holiday season and enjoy a brief respite before the new year and new growing season. This conclusionary meeting also provides a backdrop for winemaking and senior staff to consider what makes the cut for a potential shopping list for the next Unified Wine & Grape Show at the end of January annually.

As a winery GM I’ve always sorted the winery shopping list into two categories; things that make better wine, and things that improve efficiency and/or safety. It’s a balance to be sure, and with limited dollars I tend to research the heck out of options before I enter the tradeshow floor in January. The recent wildfires in California and past natural disasters (read, earthquakes) are an excellent reminder for emergency contingency planning to make the list. Grapes, wines and the winemaking season don’t pause for natural disasters, so having a good plan in place BEFORE an event is key. That means premeditated access to critical systems, equipment and data.

At vintrace we are helping customers daily with insurance claim wine asset information and reports, as well as assisting where we can with any customers and colleagues directly affected by the fires. We hope you’re safe and well this harvest and we look forward to working together as an industry to rebuild.

Donations can be made to wildfire relief here.


A little about me

After a successful career in corporate America, I transitioned to the wine industry and have become an industry veteran with 10+ years experience as a grower, winemaker, and winery General Manager.

My role as former General Manager for Carneros Vintners custom crush facility and sister facility Lodi Vintners, was the impetus for my investigation of winery production software options. My work with a variety of wineries exposed me to an array of winery software before deciding on the vintrace platform to run the custom crush facilities and since, a few small and larger boutique wineries. My hands on winery experience and real life use of vintrace are the foundation of my success representing the vintrace software platform in North America.

Vintrace UGM and Training Workshop on May 19th in Napa, CA
15 May, 2017

The Vintrace UGM and Training Workshop will be held on May 19, 2017 from 9am - 1pm at the SpringHill Suites Napa Valley.

Spend half a day with the vintrace crew in Napa, California for our annual user group meeting and training workshops. You'll have an invaluable opportunity to network with other vintrace users, have your questions answered and provide feedback direct to the vintrace team.

Meet co-founder Jamie Gilchrist, consult with Hillary Silva and AJ Garzoli at our very own 'Genius bar' and learn practical tricks of the trade from Patrick Baker, Sonoma local and industry veteran.

In celebration of the release of the vintrace iOS App, we have 3 x iPod touches to give-away on the day. And the first 100 attendees will each receive a free vintrace t-shirt.

To purchase tickets, please click here


Why Cheap or ‘Do-It-Yourself’ Software Costs You More in the Long Run
28 November, 2016

I’m aware of some vendors advertising fantastically low pricing supported by a ‘do-it-yourself’ setup and recorded video training, essentially leaving it up to you to figure out how their system fits your operations…or doesn’t. Let’s be honest, winery operations are not rocket science, but the reality is that things get complex quickly when working with growers & vineyard management, multiple lots, multiple protocols, logistics and LOTS of really important reporting and record keeping. Therefore, when we go through the effort to analyze a production software to help us with the onerous tasks of running a winery, it’s critical to determine the following:

  • Do they offer solid training on the specifics of software as it directly pertains to my winery operations – how we do work orders, labs, reports, and organize our workflow?
  • Do they assist with transitioning our current system (e.g. paper, excel, other vendor) to the new system?
  • What are their support options/times of service/can I call, email, text, etc., and if there is a charge for support, how much does it cost?
  • Do they have experienced winery staff that prevents me from explaining the wine business to them just to answer my seemingly simple question?
  • Is there a community of other users that I can also tap for peer reference on how to accomplish certain aspects of my particular nuanced operations?
  • ‘Easy’ and ‘intuitive’ are great marketing terms, but does the system reflect a real knowledge of the wine industry, or are they simply another software company trying to learn from me to fit their square peg into our round hole?
  • Lastly, are they building for the future as well, to stay ahead of the curve and offer the capabilities and interfaces that I haven’t thought to ask yet, e.g. new mobile platforms, new wine technology vendor integrations, etc.?

You can think of Vintrace as a partner in your business

Our setup process starts with our very first conversation with you. We discuss all the nuances of your business, e.g. multiple bonds/AP02’s, how the winery works with data currently, understanding lab work flow, grower interactions and logistics, bottling vendor procurement, and numerous other idiosyncrasies of how you run your winery.  Vintrace is dedicated to making sure there is a fit in both directions.  We don’t do a ton of advertising per-se, because our customers speak for us with their positive remarks and recommendations to colleagues to try it out.  Therefore, our marketing approach is to ensure a mutually good fit.

The vintrace setup process is extensive and rigorous but not onerous

We understand how much potential there is for disruption in your business – moving from one system to another. Our staff gets it too.  That’s why we take the time to get to know you, then setup a project plan that includes who/what/when that is realistic and comprehensive. Our trainers are former winery staff, and often provide on-site training using familiar terms – not software geek speak. We train on a database that is a copy of your new production database so your staff is familiar with the lot names, tank numbers and layout, etc.

Before we load a database with your data, we subject the data to vigorous data integrity tests to assure everything passes the ‘reasonable test’.  During training the support team is introduced and you’re encouraged to contact us. We make sure you are content with the training and offer follow up training to be sure, as well post -install training that’s accessible when it’s convenient for you. We actually encourage contacting our support staff… there is no charge to do so and we want you to ask us a question when it occurs instead of struggling unnecessarily.  Most importantly, our staff are from the wine business, so we really understand your point of view and make the best use of your time by getting you an answer as fast as possible.

Experience counts and our staff have it in spades

The bottom line is experience counts and Vintrace is there for you from the beginning and at every turn!  See a sample of some of our staff bios below:

Patrick – Management, – More than fourteen years as a grower, winemaker and GM for a few small and larger wineries.  His prior corporate business acumen, wine industry experience and also teaching wine business at Sonoma State University, provide a backdrop to closely relate to the real life needs and practical applications of vintrace customers, now and in the future.

A.J. – Account management – A.J. started in the wine business back in his high school days packing wine club shipments on the weekends for a fulfillment company. Since then he has been a bulk wine broker, worked in Direct-to-Consumer sales and software, and as a harvest intern at a custom crush facility, providing a full spectrum of experience from grape to DTC when assisting customers exploring vintrace options.

Hillary – Support/Marketing – Hillary has worked 7 harvests, bouncing between Marlborough, NZ and California; working primarily in the cellar she became well acquainted with using Vintrace, she also worked in tasting rooms to expand her experience. Her degree from Cal Poly’s Agricultural Business department, with a concentration in enology, allows her to dive deep into the world of winemaking with new vintrace clients.

Janet – Support – With a background in customer service management, database design, computer-based training and 5+ years in the wine industry (including production admin in a custom crush facility), she brings knowledge and experience together to assist our vintrace customers with day-to-day questions about working in the vintrace environment.

The Vintrace App – Available on the App Store
14 November, 2016

Winemaking is an ancient art, with many historians believing its existence predates even water (historians are known to over-imbibe, however). For thousands of years, we’ve been finding ways to improve our ability to make and consume wine, such as the wine industry pushing advances in biodynamic farming, movements from traditional glass bottles to boxes and cans, and of course use of divine intervention to turn water into something eminently more drinkable.

The team at Vintrace are passionate about both wine and technology. Forming in 2006, and drawing on their extensive experience in IT and winemaking, they’ve pursued their goal of delivering the most impressive digital tool kit to the global wine industry. Vintrace has successfully moved thousands of winemakers from away from a paper-based systems so they can docus more time on making great wine.

Vintrace has continued this evolution with the introduction of the Vintrace iOS mobile app – now available on the App store. With all the power of Vintrace in-hand, winemakers have everything they need to make timely decisions while roaming the cellar, walking the rows or raconteuring at the next wine dinner.

With the App, winemakers can quickly scan bar-coded tanks and barrels to look up current labs, composition and status. Recording lab data, such as Brix/Temp during fermentation, can be done while in the cellar, no more clipboards, no more spreadsheets.

To experience Vintrace and the new App fist hand contact us here at for a demonstration.

The Business of Wine. Cost of Goods Sold.
10 October, 2016

Only 10% of our time is spent actually making wine…

The reality of winemaking generally conforms to the 60/30/10 percent rule. Where 60% of our time is selling & marketing, 30% is paper work, and finally just 10% is what could be termed actual winemaking.  Depending on the size of your winery, a good portion of that paper work is to determine Cost Of Goods Sold (COGS) or reporting to finance so they can work it out. They need this of course so they can offset revenue to get to some form of gross profit (hopefully not ‘loss’). Quite often we apply a simple basic formula of total costs divided by total number of cases produced, and sometimes we even go so far as to break out some differentiation between red and white wines (e.g. barrel/storage costs) but not much more complex than that.

Why traditional cost tracking is difficult.

The challenge is tracking applicable costs in the first place and applying them in a consistent system that reflects all the costs involved in producing a case of your wine.  The most tedious tasks of cost tracking are generally at the lot/bulk wine level before it goes to bottle.  It begins with tracking fruit costs by weigh tag relative to actual grower contracts or accumulated estate farming costs by area, and is conceivably a little easier to apply when making bulk wine purchases…but then you get that trucking invoice thirty days after the bulk wine is received and you’ve already blended that bulk into three or more separate lots, making the application of retroactive costs harder to ascertain.  Then there are the consumables like KMBS or tartaric acid, or oak chips, etc. that conceivably are trackable by which lots we apply those too, but that’s a lot of paperwork and logistics to keep straight.  Of course the more finite the method for tracking and applying costs, the more conceivable time consumed and potentially even more costs for staff to administer the process – there has to be a better way.

Therefore, any system to establish COGS has to have at least three methods for applying costs to satisfy the real situations we encounter at the winery:

  • Apportioned costing spread over many applicable lots that apply to our ‘search’ for certain attributes, e.g. labor costs associated with wines in the cellar during a specific period – last month, or
  • Transactional costs that are accumulated as we perform certain functions in the winery, e.g. lab costs, additions and treatments like filtration or cold stabilization, etc., or
  • Ad hoc costs that apply only to certain instances like the bulk wine shipping cost mentioned above.

A better, faster way.

Starting with grower/estate fruit costs, Vintrace winery production software utilizes a console to maintain contractual costs tied to a grower/vineyard/block on a weigh tag, applied as fruit comes in with additional logic available to hit bonus payments for yield, quality, brix, etc. – automatically!  Those fruit costs are immediately available in the ‘Costs’ tab, Fruit category (with appropriate login permissions), displayed in the Block Overview, Seasonal tab, and via standard reports in Excel for reporting or additional analysis.  The main concept is this category of costs are applied AS the fruit arrives, i.e. instantly – no weigh tag tracking, no searching through paper contracts, and easily available in report format for management with a few clicks as often as needed WITHOUT additional production crew involvement.  I don’t know about you, but for some of the wineries I’ve worked at/run prior to Vintrace, this was an onerous task, often performed daily, that we likely saved until  the end of the day when all fruit receivals are in and we’re dog tired but looking for numbers and data equaling significant opportunities for errors,

Likewise, tracking consumables and transactional expenses has just been so onerous that we’ve left it up to accounting to do some gross allocations of costs, and in some instances allocating costs is completely justifiable.  So a tool to spread costs has to be accurate, refine-able, intuitive so we lessen opportunities to make mistakes, and easily discernible as ‘allocated’.   Vintrace’s Cost Allocation console does that and more.  This tool is so robust it deserves an article unto itself, but some key features are:

  • Apportioning by volume a) end of period, or b) times number of days to more accurately apply costs
  • Utilizes a strong filter search to get at just the applicable lots, and check-off for single lots for further refinement
  • Defaults to weighting by gallons or exportable to apply your own weighting methodology and upload with those weightings
  • Applicable to stock/finished goods, e.g. to apply offsite case good storage costs, etc.
  • Any many more attributes…

We also have to have the ability to apply costs as they attribute to a wine, e.g. trucking costs for a bulk wine purchase.  These ‘one off’ or ad-hoc costs usually show up in AP after the actual transaction has occurred.  It’s usually easy enough to find which lot of wine the cost applies too, but the real tricky part is now factoring how much of that cost applies to which wines that you’ve blended that bulk wine into.  In reality this scenario applies to all the above scenarios – which we need these costs to apply as of a specific date and for them to ‘follow’ the gallons to their current destination from the date incurred.  Fortunately, all COGS in Vintrace is set to a specific date, and the relevant costs apply to the gallons as of that date and ‘trickle’ into the current blend for an accurate COGS per gallon.  E.g. 1,000 gallons of bulk wine receipt on May 1 via Cherokee trucking costs $750, but the invoice from Cherokee arrives May 18.  We have since blended that bulk wine into three lots, with 500 gallons to blend A lot, and 250 gallons each to two other lots, blend B & C.  Accordingly, vintrace will apply $375 or $0.75 per gallon to the 500 gallon portion of blend A, and $187.50 total each or $0.75 per gallon to blends B & C as well – AUTOMATICALLY.  To be clear, this applies to apportioned and date specific transactional costs as well.  This manner of date specific cost application is a huge efficiency gain for your accounting staff and easily tracked vie the costs tab in Vintrace.

As we hone the granularity of bulk wine COGS tracking, you start to see how those costs roll up to case good COGS.  Both bulk wine (Professional Base Module) and packaging costs (Advanced Inventory Module) COGS can be tracked depending on the modules you have activated in Vintrace.  You can also add the case good/Advanced Inventory module at a later date to extend bulk wine COGS tracking after the fact with retro dated costs.  The Advanced Inventory Module has many other beneficial aspects for building and tracking finished case goods, but as a GM in charge of Gross Profit, the ability to easily track COGS by case good for different bottling runs, or manufactured lots with different components, e.g. different glass, label or closure components, was such a huge time saver that didn’t require more of my time or production staff time to track.

The practical merit of a COGS tacking system is its ability to report out and sync with your accounting/ERP system.  Vintrace currently synchronizes with Xero accounting, and is easily exportable for asset and transaction costing tracking to other systems via spreadsheet format, with inclusion of your accounting systems account names and numbers

Final thoughts

Lastly, since this level of COGS detail has thus far been painful at best and impossible at worst to track, we always recommend that you initially implement Vintrace COGS abilities in a manner that you currently track COGS so you can easily discern ‘reasonability’ from COGS outputs.  After a period of time, perhaps a calendar or fiscal period to evaluate and compare COGS figures to establish a comfort level with the Vintrace produced COGS output, then you can increase the granularity of COGS tracking to include finer delineation of your costs down to a kilogram for additives, or separate cost tracking for filtration methods between in-house plate & frame pad filtration versus mobile cross flow filtration, etc.  With better data comes better analysis capability and true Return On Investment (ROI) capabilities to possibly justify or negate that future expensive crossflow filtration capital expense, i.e. unleash some Business Intelligence data for improved profitability.

A little about me

After a successful career in corporate America, I transitioned to the wine industry and have become an industry veteran with 10+ years experience as a grower, winemaker, and winery General Manager.

My role as former General Manager for Carneros Vintners custom crush facility and sister facility Lodi Vintners, was the impetus for my investigation of winery production software options. My work with a variety of wineries exposed me to an array of winery software before deciding on the vintrace platform to run the custom crush facilities and since, a few small and larger boutique wineries. My hands on winery experience and real life use of vintrace are the foundation of my success representing the vintrace software platform in North America.


The Business of Wine. Reporting and Compliance
21 September, 2016

In The Business of Wine Part 1 and Part 2 we reviewed benefits and concerns using MS Excel and traditional software to track your winery operations before exploring the benefits of having fast access to key information.

A particular aspect that we touched on was the efficiency of having single data entry touch point with multiple use output for different departments within your wine business. Keeping data up to date is key if we need to pull that data back out into meaningful reports. Lab data during fermentation for example, or tracking bulk and packaging inventory for an impending bottling are key data elements crucial to effective resource planning, e.g. tank turns, equipment utilization, crushpad capacity/throughput and bottling scheduling.

A little about me

After a successful career in corporate America, I transitioned to the wine industry and have become an industry veteran with 10+ years experience as a grower, winemaker, and winery General Manager.

My role as former General Manager for Carneros Vintners custom crush facility and sister facility Lodi Vintners, was the impetus for my investigation of winery production software options. My work with a variety of wineries exposed me to an array of winery software before deciding on the vintrace platform to run the custom crush facilities and since, a few small and larger boutique wineries. My hands on winery experience and real life use of vintrace are the foundation of my success representing the vintrace software platform in North America.

Meaningful reporting

Like any other business, we also need to generate more usual reports for inventory, movement and dispatch recording.  Ideally these reports be pre-formatted as PDF or exportable to Excel and easily reproducible for crew to generate and conduct physical audits from without having IT or Accounting staff involved.  vintrace has a bevy of standard winery reports organized by categories that can be downloaded or emailed to anyone you choose.

The real test of a comprehensive reporting system though is reportable AND actionable access to data not necessarily pre-configured, commonly called ‘ad hoc’ reporting.  Some might remember the old Boolean (true/false) search parameters to query older database back-ends with archaic verbiage and characters, and if you didn’t know how, you had to request a special report from the IT or other department that generally took a period of time to get for you…and it was usually not quite what you wanted but close enough.  That was then, but I’m still surprised at the limited ability for ad hoc reporting from the majority of current winery specific software.  Perhaps that’s why so many of us resolve to endure Excel.


Ease of custom searching

vintrace’s approach to complex ad hoc searches is to utilize key field filters with easy drop downs or wildcard text fields.  Since there are so many fields/data to search on, vintrace segregates searches by type; Lots, Inventory, Vineyard, Barrel, Tank & Dispatches for a more reasonable selection of filters to create your report.  Each search screen is displayed in 3 sections – filters on top, results of those filters in the body, and options for what you can do with the results at the bottom.  If you’ve endeared as many data management systems as I have, vintrace’s approach is magical in its forethought and simplicity, to easily produce and/or/between/and not, searches.  A great example is a search for all lots that S02 hasn’t been tested greater than one month.  From the search results you can print a spreadsheet, or order labs, or add the lab request to a work order, copy results to add back to other results, and most significantly Save Search.

Saving a search to easily reproduce the conditions of an ad hoc report is super smart, but vintrace goes a step further by giving you the option to share those saved searches with other staff and most significantly, to add it to the ‘My Searches’ dashboard box that is always available on your home screen.  Now you can monitor that ad hoc report without even running it, since the My Searches list constantly tabulates.

As an added bonus, you can set conditional logic to change the search text if the results exceed a threshold; e.g. If I’m responsible for the bottling line and I have a saved search monitoring stock of a certain glass mold and that stock dips below 30,000 bottles, I set the text to color orange, and below 15,000 it changes to red – for a visual indicator that I need to order more, pronto!


Of course winery reporting is particularly different from traditional business relative to the numerous compliance reports for various regulatory and tax bodies.  We spent some time on TTB reporting ease via vintrace in the previous article The Business of Wine Part 1.

While some other systems provide adequate ‘702’ data reporting (albeit arduous to get to), Vintrace goes a step further to easily and simply ‘mass declare’ your wines on a specific ‘702’, e.g. December/4th Quarter.  For those of us that do the ‘702’ reporting and keeping track of what needs to be declared, and when, this particular tool is a boon for compliance ease and once again exemplifies the theme of a single data element (gains/losses) being smartly accessed to make winery staff that much more efficient.  If you’re the person responsible for ‘702’ reporting you have to see this tool in action!

Other compliance reporting for harvest/crush report and excise tax gallons delineated by tax class, are also key reports that usually take considerable time to collect and compile from a mass of Excel worksheets, and then reconfigure to paste into the required reports.  These are standard reports in vintrace that compile the data for you to simply copy into the regulatory Excel report/forms.

The last couple of necessary reports we constantly work ‘around’ are composition and audit report.  These aren’t usual reports per se, so different than all of above, but yet are significantly important to maintaining our bond and peace of mind.  We’ll spend more time on these report topics in future articles, but relative to our current topic, these are reports critical reports that vintrace produces that keep us out of hot water and provide credence during an audit.

The Business of Wine. Accessing Key Information.
17 November, 2015

In The Business of Wine Part 1 we reviewed benefits and concerns using MS Excel to track your winery operations.  We also laid out some attributes to compare systems focusing on working smarter for the things we have to do, so we can get back to the things we want to do, namely, make and sell wine.

A little about me

After a successful career in corporate America, I transitioned to the wine industry and have become an industry veteran with 10+ years experience as a grower, winemaker, and winery General Manager.

My role as former General Manager for Carneros Vintners custom crush facility and sister facility Lodi Vintners, was the impetus for my investigation of winery production software options. My work with a variety of wineries exposed me to an array of winery software before deciding on the VINX2 platform to run the custom crush facilities and since, a few small and larger boutique wineries. My hands on winery experience and real life use of VINX2 are the foundation of my success representing the VINX2 software platform in North America.

Access key information to make more informed decisions

DashboardIn this article we are reviewing how VINX2 provides immediate access to key information.  Our focus again is realizing efficiency gains from a system that is intuitive and easy to use. In comparison if you are a slightly advanced Excel user, you may have linked data from several tabs or even several workbooks to amalgamate information in a snapshot or ‘dashboard’ view, e.g. to see all fermenting vessels brix between 18 & 22 so you can make yeast nutrient additions.  While Excel can be relatively good at displaying multiple key data, it’s often challenging to setup and the data is usually suspect if a particular linked sheet or workbook hasn’t been updated recently…or correctly.

VINX2’s desktop dashboard (Professional version) is specific to a user and simple to setup for the items you want to see most often in data or graphical formats. Having reliable data available in a number of formats that are easily configured is key to helping you work smarter, and perhaps faster, e.g. getting the right additions done at the right time. It’s all in the Cloud as well so you can access your information from anywhere. 2015-11-17_15-48-03

Additionally your system should work for you – your preferences, related to your job roll.  If you are in charge of the bottling line for example, you’re unlikely to want a quick view of fermenters, but willappreciate knowing if a certain glass bottle supply dips below a preset level you set.  If you’re the Cellar Master you may want to easily see all outstanding work orders listed by assigned staff name, or if you’re the Winemaker/Assistant, perhaps all available remaining new oak by cooper/nationality to select for a series of barrel down work orders, or maybe you’re responsible for finances and want to have your thumb on the pulse of current COGS/costs by vintage, varietal or program in real time. Indeed, the VINX2 dashboard is a powerful tool to unlock the data you’re already capturing to help you work smarter right from the login screen.


The other predominant reasons we access key information is to;

  • answer a question,
  • make a decision or
  • prepare/record work to be done to a wine.

Conceivably you should be able to access everything you want to know about a certain wine lot, including what tank(s)/barrel/group a wine lot is in regardless of where it’s stored or even offsite. That’s a tall order for any system and even more complex with Excel depending on how you’ve set it up.

VINX2’s overview screens for wine lots, inventory and sources of fruit, provide an amazing amount of detail organized in narrative tabs. The tabs concisely show information for labs, composition, additions, fruit sources and history, as well as costs and bottling information. The Product Overview (pictured) is the screen I see up most on wineries using VINX2 as it not only shows culminated data, but is also an intuitive interface to do everything from creating work orders to dispatching case goods with BOL’s.  And when/if that audit team shows up at your winery door, you’re confident that every step of every wine is completely detailed and available for review with an audit trail report.


Lastly, the two potential log jams at varying times seem to be scheduling the crush pad pre/during harvest and managing flow in the lab.  Even if you’re not running a 6,000 ton custom crush facility, it’s reassuring to easily review scheduled and processed fruit in VINX2’s Fruit Console. With the totals auto calculated at the bottom of the screen you can immediately see if one more 10 ton lot next Saturday is doable while you’re on the phone with the grower/winemaker. Similarly for the lab you are able to gauge your day based on what’s been ordered via work orders, monthly maintenance or pending results from ETS.

Doing what we love all day, then heading into the office to ‘beat up excel’ is not ideal. To be fair, you still have to get the data into the system, but it is ideal when you can quickly access accurate data at any moment to keep your winery operations efficient.

Author: Patrick Baker, VINX2 North American Sales Director

The Business of Wine. Moving beyond Excel.
07 October, 2015

Wine production sounds more glamorous than it really is. The day to day functions, logistics, monitoring and maintenance are constant and intensive at times. Harvest, especially, is not for the faint of heart. Therefore a great system for handling the ‘business of wine’ is paramount to maintain sanity and keep the business functioning. You can then focus on the wine business: the wine making and sales passion that compels us vintage after vintage.

A little about me

After a successful career in corporate America, I transitioned to the wine industry and have become an industry veteran with 10+ years experience as a grower, winemaker, and winery General Manager.

My role as former General Manager for Carneros Vintners custom crush facility and sister facility Lodi Vintners, was the impetus for my investigation of winery production software options. My work with a variety of wineries exposed me to an array of winery software before deciding on the VINX2 platform to run the custom crush facilities and since, a few small and larger boutique wineries. My hands on winery experience and real life use of VINX2 are the foundation of my success representing the VINX2 software platform in North America.

Working smarter

The key ingredient to tackling the business of wine is working smarter where we can. The way to do that is to

  • reduce paperwork
  • minimize processing and logistics time
  • preparedness for TTB audits
  • avoiding bond/capacity challenges
  • ensuring COLA label compliance; and
  • maintaining backups of everything... just in case.

Fortunately we have software tools at our disposal, some of them great, some good, and some are potentially disastrous.


In all fairness, Microsoft Excel has been the workhorse of our industry to track and report at a minimum. For small ‘Mom & Pop’ to large industrial complex wineries. It works well most of the time and depending on complexity of your records and Excel familiarity, you can keep a lot of info organized in the manner that you like to see it in and maybe organized enough to report for compliance.

I’ve run a 150,000 case winery on Excel but I wouldn’t recommend that for anyone. The problem(s) with Excel start with backup/redundancy and worsen quickly if multiple users need to enter/extract data from the same files. Cloud sharing of Excel files has helped a little bit, but the integrity of the data and often disparate multiple worksheets become ominous to work in and the opposite direction of working smarter. Let alone, some people just aren’t versed in excel and don’t want to start with a blank spreadsheet to track what’s necessary just to comply with compliance requirements.

Beyond Excel

So some of the key attributes of a system that maximizes efficiency and reduces effort must include:

  • Ease of Use/Intuitive (easy to find functions and fast input)
  • Immediate access to key information (faster and more reliable than log books or spreadsheets, and has to be accurate)
  • Easy reporting (both internally and external compliance requirements)
  • Scalability (capability and capacity that grows with you)
  • Dependability (time proven development, backup servers, support staff)
  • Affordability (comparably - how much winemaker salary am I paying to enter lab info from ETS?)

We’ll go into each of the above attributes in future articles with further detail and examples. The focus for each analysis point is real efficiency gains versus amount of effort or simply ‘working smarter’, and added value or bonus potential keeping the ‘business of wine’ in check so we can focus on the wine business. This edition will focus on Ease of Use/Intuitiveness.

Ease of Use

Intuitive systems have one thing in common – they just make sense.

I’ve worked with every popular winery production system available in one capacity or another as a winemaker, cellar master or GM of some small wineries and also very large custom crush facilities.  As mentioned previously I am rather skilled at making Excel work wondrous calculations in addition to creating/tracking work orders, labs and 702/TTB/ABC reports, but the challenge with most of these systems, and especially Excel is usability, or lack thereof.

Tracking Lab Work


Using labs as an example, you should be able to easily add lab metrics for a lot or barrel with a simple search or visual of the lot/vessel. A good system will display the last metric value so you can easily compare ‘reasonableness’ of your most recent entry, e.g. does the latest Alcohol entry unintentionally change the lots tax class? Perhaps the wrong lot was selected – good thing the last value gave some indication.

An even better system will allow skipping the lab results data entry process entirely by importing them from an offsite lab such as ETS or lab equipment, directly into the system. This concept is truly an efficiency gain, and also alleviates occasional typographic mistakes. A bonus to the download method is a system that allows for download and the ability to ‘verify’ results IF you so choose, even those downloaded from ETS.

VINX2's Lab Console is a great example of efficient and thoughtful design to enter/download labs. VINX2 has been working with ETS since 2007 for a seamless integration and links to many other systems including OenoFoss, Wine Scan and Thermo Scientific Gallery.

TTB Compliance

2015-09-28_13-56-03Having a single point of entry for all wine gains and losses is paramount to every winery. Total gollonage, head space and composition should all be updated in real time with necessary movements fed directly into the 5120.17 ('702') TTB compliance report.

As the incoming General Manager to several wineries I have inherited 'systems' where there are at least two disjoint spreadsheets– one for tracking lots, and another for the monthly/quarterly TTB reports. I’ve spent countless hours reformatting and maintaining links between these spreadsheets only to have the file corrupted and one one occasion, my winemaker's laptop was stolen with the only copy of the previous year’s TTB reports on it! As the DirecTV ad goes, ‘don’t be that me’.

Every off the shelf system should be able to at least dual role a loss/gain entry, but that’s not the case even with some of the expensive ones. The issue emanates from the original design and data architecture and some popular systems still treat loss/gains separately from tracking and compliance reporting. The issue is even muddier when considering composition and COLA compliance but we’ll address that when discussing Scalability.  A properly engineered system will exploit the efficiency of a single data entry for multiple uses. The bonus comes with a system that also can easily report all those loss/gains for easy review AND audit track who/when/what-why they occurred – when the TTB asks you during an audit.

VINX2's work orders have an inbuilt fail safe to ensure losses and gains are recorded appropriately, regardless of your login permissions.

There are an abundance of additional specific examples we could explore, like; easy corrections/undo/reverse options without calling tech support, creating custom searches/reports and saving them for one click access, clickable dashboard displays, export of nearly everything to Excel (we can’t fully wean ourselves from it), produce a completely filled in TTB report with 1-click AND see the individual lots that totaled on the report AND be able to fix and redo on the fly, and much more...

I'd be happy to talk to you about your specific needs and how I can help, just request a free demo and let's get started.

Introducing VINX2 Version 5.1
13 August, 2015

Version 5.1

The roll out starts next week

We're excited to announce our latest major release of VINX2 with some terrific new features.

This release has improved Product, Stock and Block overviews and a raft of fixes and performance improvements.

This release also adds support for the much requested multiple tab support in VINX2.This was the Number 1 feature request on our feature request forum. It goes to show the more you vote the more impact you have on the future direction of VINX2! If you haven't already make sure you navigate to that forum and subscribe.

For those customers currently in North American harvest, this release will be delayed unless you opt-in by requesting the upgrade early.

Click here for the full list of changes

New Product, Stock and Block overviews

The most widely used screens in VINX2 have been completely overhauled to provide you with even more information at your fingertips.Explore these amazing changes to the Product, Stock and Block overview.

Import and Export your setup data

Now you can import and export your own data either as part of our new Setup wizard or by using the Import/Export options in Winery setup. This new feature is great if you regularly need to import new barrels or other data. You can also use this feature to export existing entries, make changes in bulk in Excel and upload those changes back in. More details.

TTB Compliance can be simpler. Here's how.
09 February, 2015

Government compliance is a necessary part of every winery operation whether you are producing 500 cases or 5,000,000 cases. The requirements do not change based on the size of your operation which makes adhering to the myriad rules somewhat daunting for the small producer. And since the government collects taxes based on the information supplied by wineries, they have an incentive to make sure things are reported correctly.

30 years ago there were limited options for all but the largest wineries, leaving smaller businesses tracking everything on paper. This made it difficult to provide a detailed audit trail to the government of all cellar activities in the event of audit. In many cases the justifiable response of the winery was that there just weren’t enough hands on deck to work in the cellar and maintain a paper trail.

Now though, all the government agencies involved in compliance are well aware that detailed records can be tracked and they expect wineries to comply with their rules in a timely manner. This usually means using an outside compliance agency, a specialized software package, or general purpose software like spreadsheets to track your wine production. It is a very rare winery that isn’t taking advantage of one of these three options, and usually it means that the winery hasn’t yet had a discussion with the TTB!

OK – you decide to start tracking things, where do you begin? What are the most important pieces of the production puzzle to track?

Let’s start with the grapes themselves. You need to be able to account for all the grapes coming into the winery and where they ended up. You need to record when they arrived, what varietal they were and from what vineyard and appellation. If you kept each batch completely separate and then bottled that as its own product, then proving the validity of the information on your label is a piece of cake. However, if you do any blending or topping between batches it can start to get messy because you need to account for where all the grapes went regardless of how many products it went into, even if it’s a tiny percentage of the final product. Here’s where things start getting difficult in using spreadsheets. It’s difficult to track tiny percentages of wine moving around from barrel to barrel when blending or topping. Yet this is just the tip of the iceberg in compliance.

Then there’s the reporting requirements that must be met that account for any gains or losses, wine used for or produced by other processes, and you must do this by tax class, which can change over time or because you blended two wines together from different classes. And if you are adding any sugar, or spirits, that too must be tracked. Oh yeah, and if you are producing fruit wines, that must be tracked separately from grape product.

So now you’re thinking – I’m going to get my accountant to track and report all this stuff, which is great. Except that you probably aren’t sending him every work order you’re writing to see what wines are used for topping other wines and what wine volume changes are happening at each step of production. All this can have an impact on how you report your gains and losses and how your varietal percentages are changing. So when they go to reconcile by doing a physical inventory, invariably numbers don’t add up and now someone has to figure out why. And that someone will probably be you.

This isn’t a horror story, this is the typical process that every winery deals with at some point when they say “Isn’t there anything out there that can help me manage this without costing me a full time person to track what’s going on”. The answer is, yes. You need a powerful tool in your arsenal to allow you to satisfy the government compliance requirements. And there are a whole host of requirements you need to satisfy including:

Wine Composition by Variety, Vintage and Appellation (and usually Vineyard) and is it Produced by you or just Prepared by you

Inventory tracking by Tax Class and type of product (Grapes, Fruit, etc.) - gains and losses, used and produced

Finished Goods Inventory tracking - breakdown of adjustments (breakage, used for testing, used for tasting)

Additives - tracking by lot number and what are the allowable levels

Barrels - which barrels have been used in which lots?

Special processes – accounting for de-Alc processes, sugar additions, spirit additions and water additions

Finally, there have been discussions about furthering the requirements to include full ingredient tracking like most food products do already. And there’s the concern about allergens in wine and should there be more stringent requirements for record-keeping when using certain products in wine production. Government Compliance rules don’t usually move very quickly, but they do change over time and it’s not likely that they’ll get looser in the process.

The good news is that there’s already a solution that covers every one of these issues – VinX2. A software solution that is already doing this for hundreds of wineries throughout the world. Backed by our stellar support team, we concentrate on the things that makes your life crazy to free you up to get back to the cellar.

Author, Doug Campbell is an Advisory Board Member of VINx2 Winery Software. Doug has over 25 years of experience in the wine industry as a software designer and developer. He was the creator of PC Blend, one of the first network-capable PC-based software systems for the wine industry that focused on wine production. With the expansion of his customer base across the US and Internationally, he became a valued consultant and speaker on many topics at industry symposiums focusing on government compliance, cost accounting and software integration.

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Top reasons it makes dollars and sense to move your systems to the Cloud
22 December, 2014

It took us some time to move to the Cloud for our own internal systems but we're glad we did. Now we're helping wineries of all sizes make the transition to VINx2.

For a number of years we used accounting software configured on a PC within our own network.  When travelling we weren't able to get access to key accounting information to answer even the simplest of billing inquiries. All requests had to go via the office and tied up another staff members time.

You may have the same problem when visiting a distributor, customer or custom crush client. It's often critical to get your hand on account status, inventory levels, wine composition and analysis in order to make decisions and close deals. The Cloud gives you that advantage.

When Xero, a Cloud based accounting package, was launched we didn’t take too much convincing to move all our accounting needs over to their platform. Now we have anytime access to our information and can effortlessly link accounts with our CRM and Quoting tools all of which are Cloud based. A quote can now be delivered to a customer in minutes instead of half an hour. It was one of the best decisions we made.

Imagine getting the same results with your TTB/compliance filings, management reports or sales and purchase orders. You too can leverage the Cloud for simpler compliance and traceability and here are the top reasons to make the switch:


Zero capital costs

Cloud applications are typically pay as you go instead of traditional capital intensive software purchases. Businesses get a lower start-up cost and predictable operating expenses.

According to a 2013 US study by Microsoft Trustworthy Computing, 70 percent of SMBs have reinvested money saved as a result of moving to the Cloud in areas such as product development, innovation, marketing and expanding into new markets.


Disaster prevention and recovery

There are thousands of non-descript and secure office buildings around the country housing data centres with teams of people in place to ensure uptime, reliability and redundancy. Your risk of data loss from a computer crash is practically zero. By leveraging the Cloud you no longer need complex disaster recovery plans.

The Aberdeen Group found that businesses which used the cloud were able to resolve issues in an average of 2.1 hours, nearly four times faster than businesses that didn’t use the cloud (8 hours).


Work from anywhere

In the wine industry its common to have staff on the road at small tasting events and meetings with large distributors. Imagine being able to quickly and easily check your bulk and bottle inventory levels from your tablet or enter a sales order on the spot with confirmation emailed directly to the customer. With the Cloud all you need is a device like a tablet and Internet access and your staff can work from anywhere.

This flexibility improves productivity and empowers your road warriors to find information themselves without needing to call into the office.



Over 8,000 laptops are left in just 7 of the largest US airports each year. That can have a huge financial impact but when everything is stored in the Cloud you'll only have to replace the device and not the data. 

According to a Microsoft study, 91 percent of SMBs said the security of their organization had been positively impacted as a result of Cloud adoption.


Environmental benefits

Cloud computing uses less electricity and reduces your carbon footprint. By using the Cloud and sharing infrastructure instead of managing your own you get fantastic economies of scale while also saving on energy use.

According to Google, a switch to Cloud computing for office applications alone will save between 68-87% on energy use, compared to managing the applications internally, while also reducing a company's carbon footprint by a similar amount.


Automatic and regular software updates

Cloud computing vendors such as VINx2 provide all the server and backend maintenance themselves including security and regular software updates. This frees up your reliance on IT staff to manage traditional computer infrastructure.

Updates to VINx2 for example are all part of the subscription, don't cost any extra and are installed for you.


Lower people costs

Good IT people are expensive. According to the Microsoft study, SMBs that leverage the Cloud spend half the time managing IT and a saw 50 percent reduction in internal IT resources. With staffing costs always a large item on your balance sheet this saving can be better invested into your marketing budget.


Better collaboration between staff, vendors and customers

Using VINx2 as an example, winemakers are able to communicate in real time to growers using email alerts as fruit is weighed at the winery. Sales orders can instantly be emailed to customers confirming their purchase and purchase orders centrally managed for any vendor inquiries. Custom crush clients can log-in and view their own winemaking history instead of phoning or emailing your staff freeing up valuable time.



Author, Joshua Abra is Managing Director of VINx2 Winery Software and has more than 10 years' experience helping wineries transition to the Cloud using VINx2.

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Trade Show Booth # Information
WiVi Central Coast Wine Industry Conference and Tradeshow 2020
31 Mar, 2021 to 31 Mar, 2021
Paso Robles, CA
500 Come by our booth and meet the team that answers the phones here in Sonoma as well as our Leadership Team from Australia, stop by our offices or find us at to book a demo or just say hello.
Title Name Email Phone
General Manager North America Heather Crawford 888-240-4860
Operations Director Joshua Abra 888-240-4860
Sales Director Jamie Gilchrist 888-240-4860