My recent article in the HBR Case Solutions Series brought the writing of this essay to a crescendo. After reflecting on the topic, and discussing it with fellow Master Gardeners, I realized that a brief review of my case would help other readers understand the subject better. Let’s take a look at what this essay is all about.

Historically, the winery was established by French immigrants from Normandy who traveled to California and the Napa Valley to make wine from their vineyards. In the beginning, the winery in France was started by an entrepreneur named Adam Croizier. While he did not use the surname Croizier, he did begin the Winery Abbeies in his home town of Bordeaux. Eventually, as wine drinking became more popular, the name was changed to Freemark Abbey Winery (or perhaps Freemark Abbey).

Shortly after the founding of the Winery Abbeies, a nephew of Adam Croizier, named Joseph Mackay, came to the United States to establish the Winery in Napa Valley. Joseph started out making sparkling wines with various grape varieties and came to be known for using organic grape juice in his products.

As the name suggests, Joseph Mackay was not a descendant of the original Croizier brothers. Nevertheless, he blended the winemaking of the two brothers and eventually added California grapes to his blending.

It is a simple process to blend grapes to come up with sparkling wines. The Croiziers chose a variety of grape called the Syrah and fortified it with varying amounts of alcohol to ensure that it would provide the same taste as champagne.

CombinationWinery has a worldwide reputation for the quality of its wines. Many wines of this blend are sold for four to five times the price of other vineyards’ sparkling wines.

The vineyards of Freemark Abbey are located in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Their property includes a ski area and hundreds of acres of vines. During the fall, they harvest their grapes so that the grapes can continue to produce and make the best products possible.

The vineyards of Freemark Abbey, including their grapes, are covered with a layer of sage. During their first year, they crop the vines only once or twice to keep the plants growing at optimum levels. By the second year, the vines are covered with a thick layer of sage and planted with alternate rows of different selections of grapes.

At the end of each year, when they harvest their grapes, the Freemark Abbey Winery employs a process called a vine maturation in which they fill buckets with freshly picked grapes. The grapes remain in these buckets for eight to ten weeks. The grapes ferment in the barrels and then go through another process called smoldering, where they burn the excess sugar content in the grapes.

At the end of the process, the Freemark Abbey Winery has the choice of either sending their wines to a bottling facility or to a retailer. They sell their wines throughout the U.S. and internationally.

Every year, a few selected bottles are taken to wineries in England to select some of the most flavorful wines and provide them to the Freemark Abbey Winery. Some wineries send their own vineyard managers to the winery to sample the wines and decide which they would like to have included in their own offerings.

As you can see, I used an abbreviated version of my essay in my HBR Case Study Solution to explain the “Freemark Abbey Winery” story. Of course, we discussed the controversy, the history of the winery, and then pointed out that it is the culture of the winery that is the most important and the one that makes all the difference.

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