In 2004, Jeff O’Neill founded O’Neill Vintners and Distillers with a purpose: to create unrivaled relationships that successfully build brands and businesses. Since then, they’ve become a company that strives for continuous improvement and a culture focused on teamwork and problem-solving.
Today, they are one of the fastest-growing wineries in California and have a reputation as one of the top premium wine and spirits producers in the industry.
As a company, they’ve produced more than 15 million gallons of wine, crushing nearly 200,000 tons of grapes a year. With more than 700 tanks of various sizes and capabilities, including the Robert Hall winery in Paso Robles, they are focused on making the variety and quality of wines their customers want.
Winemakers are always challenged to develop the best qualities from the fruit they have and construct blends that both satisfy the consumer and meet financial targets. This is certainly the challenge for Steven DeCosta, Director of Winemaking at O’Neill Vintners and Distillers.
Steven was also facing a common challenge to innovation:
In California, many winemakers are sourcing wine from the same areas. How do you differentiate your blend from the others who are sourcing fruit from the same terroir? How do you quantify what extra element a competitor may have analytically that you can’t taste?
Steven found a solution in Tastry’s CompuBlend®, which he now uses as his “guiding light” for winemaking. Using CompuBlend, he recently created a top-performing blend and reduced cost by $27,000.
CompuBlend analyzed thousands of possible combinations of tank samples to ultimately suggest a winning formula for a ’21 vintage Cabernet Sauvignon blend that not only tastes great but will also be top market performer. Steven had originally intended to use a more expensive blend until CompuBlend identified a novel approach. That insight illuminated a new potential he wouldn’t have considered otherwise. Additionally, the new recommended blend cost nine cents per gallon less to produce. This generated a $27,000 savings over the 300k gallon production.
At a Glance
- Market performance
- Product optimization
- Revenue targets
- Mitigating risk
- Tastry’s CompuBlend allowed O’Neill to create a top-performing blend that was $27,000 cheaper than the original blend candidate
- Tastry affords O’Neill powerful insights into their wine chemistry and predictive market performance to make data-driven decisions
of time saved
Steven estimates CompuBlend reduced man-hours for the blend by about 15%.
in product costs saved
O’neill optimized based on both market performance and product cost.
“For me it [CompuBlend] means safety…a sense of knowing I’m going in the right direction. Looking at this ’21 vintage Cabernet, seeing cost per gallon, having our target; I have a way to spot check. There may be a sample I really like, but I’ve noticed that my palate is not necessarily representative of our consumers. So it pointed me away from a costly piece and that’s a big savings when you add up dollars per gallon.”