Domaine du Grand Mayne
After a successful Seedrs launch in 2015 we offer another chance to be an owner of our company, which in turn owns a boutique, artisan French vineyard, making award-winning white, red, and rosé wines.
Our vineyard, planted with classic Bordeaux grape varieties, is in the Côtes de Duras, 50 miles from Bordeaux. Since 2015 we have invested in the vineyard, the winery and the brand to improve quality and production, making Domaine du Grand Mayne a destination location.
Shareholders become members of an exclusive wine club, and benefit from significant discounts on wine and on renting the vineyard properties. Shareholder events are planned to run in the UK and France.
As far as we know, there are very few wineries making wine available direct from the vineyard on-line for UK delivery. We also run a system that enables customers to benefit from the significantly lower French duty rates, by buying and collecting wines for their personal consumption from either the vineyard or from our warehouse in Calais.
Our aim is to create a commercially successful venture from:
• A product that people enjoy consuming.
• A place that people enjoy visiting.
To achieve this we will need to continue to make sufficient quantities of wine that our consumers enjoy, and we will need to expand further the number of people buying from us. Happily, we think we have been making good progress in both regards.
When we first sold shares through Seedrs, our grape harvest from 2014 had produced the equivalent of 160,000 bottles, although our existing winery is able to process more than 300,000 a year. Our harvest in 2015 was over 170,000 bottles equivalent and in 2016 it was over 220,000 bottles. In time, and as sales grow, we aim to increase production further by supplementing the estate-grown grapes in some of our wines with high quality grapes selected from neighbouring vineyards.
Substantial accomplishments to date
Prior to our Seedrs launch in 2015, we had created financial stability for the business and recruited an excellent team to (1) make fabulous wine, and (2) oversee the business development. Since then we have continued to make excellent progress. Key achievements include:
• With the help of good vintages and effective investment, we have been successful in increasing production in the 2015 and 2016 vintages to in excess of 200,000 bottles equivalent.
• We have become a much-visited vineyard in the area with weekly events and daily tours and tastings. Visitors exceeded 1500 in the last year. In addition, the main house and a one-bedroom apartment have been refurbished for letting throughout the year.
• Substantial improvement to all buildings, gardens, and wine making equipment.
• Hosting events for shareholders in the UK and in France.
• Establishing new markets in other countries, including China.
• Growing sales in France and the UK where direct customer numbers continue to increase.
• Winning medals at a variety of competitions for all wines in 2017.
The most important part of our income is from the sale of our wines. Other sources of income include lettings from the vineyard properties, and fees from using our sophisticated harvesting machine to pick grapes for other vineyards.
Unlike many early stage businesses, we have considerable assets backing our business. The assets we hold include:
• 80 acre vineyard.
• 6-bed/6-bath villa.
• 4-bed manager’s home.
• 1-bed apartment within large stone barn.
• Winery building with 300,000 litre capacity stainless steel tanks.
• Underground wine storage cellar with oak maturation barrels.
• Other buildings (shop, tasting room and office).
• Tractors, harvesting machinery and a full array of vineyard and winery equipment.
• The equivalent of over 300,000 bottles of wine, either in bottle or in tank.
Protecting and enhancing these assets remains a key focus for the management of our business, as they provide an important layer of asset protection and security for our shareholders.
Use of proceeds
The funds we raise now will be used both to continue to enhance the assets that we already own, and to improve the market position of Domaine du Grand Mayne internationally.
Firstly, we will continue with planting of new vines to increase yields and quality. In 2016 we implemented a programme of infilling rows of vines and the next stage will be replacing any low yielding rows entirely.
Secondly, we will invest further in our facilities to create even better wines and to provide an improved customer experience for visitors. Enhancements to the to the barrel cellar are our priority.
Finally, we will invest more in marketing strategies to enhance our brand and to increase vineyard sales. The focus is on export to new markets, and more progress with UK direct. (Timing for this is good: latest global wine production data shows that for the first time in years, global production will no longer exceed demand.) Our activity will focus on social media, PR, and international trade shows.
A key component of our marketing has been to build up a community of individuals in the UK who buy their wine direct from us, either with delivery to their doors or through collection from Calais or the vineyard. We've seen that the community has developed from our base of shareholders, their friends and family, visitors to the vineyard and from people whom we reach through social media.
(Please note: to qualify for full shareholder discounts and entitlements there is a minimum investment through Seedrs of £500.)
From the vineyard in France, we sell our wine through more conventional sales channels, including retailers and restaurants. In addition we have been developing a growing export market, with sales into China.
Characteristics of target market
Domaine du Grand Mayne produces a balanced range of white, red and rosé wines to appeal to the wine-drinking public. By selling direct we can provide excellent value, and even offer personalised labels. We believe our entry-level wines are perfect for everyday drinking. Our oak-aged wines, whilst being affordable for most wine-drinkers, are of sufficient quality to be served on more special occasions. Our wines are in the most popular price points for those not buying wines from the supermarket where the average price has grown from £11.62 to £12.25 over the last year
Wine buying tastes change slowly over time. Yet our grape varieties and wine styles should be broad enough to protect us from such shifts. With Mathieu Crosnier, our talented young French winemaker, and a Wine Director, Martin Meinert, who has many years experience of viticulture and winemaking, we are well placed to adapt to market trends and tastes.
Our board also benefits from the experience of Andrew Gordon and Philip Addis, who have both run successful wine companies in the UK.
Grand Mayne is selling its wine nationally in France as well as in the UK, Belgium, Germany, Scandinavia and China. We plan to add other markets where commercially appropriate via an ever growing contact list and international exhibitions.
Within the UK, we continue to grow our direct sales channel through our network of shareholders, existing customers and their family and friends. Considered use of social media will be part of this development.
Wine tourism provides a further avenue for our marketing development. Alongside the rental of our own vineyard properties, we have been providing winery tours to tourists through the summer months. During July and August 2017, we held weekly BBQs at the vineyard, lifting our profile as a destination within the tourism community locally. (The Lot et Garonne is a popular area for British and northern European tourists.)
Finally, we are committed to quality endorsement for our wines by winning medals in relevant wine competitions.
There are other French vineyards selling direct to the consumer, but we think few have such an effective web based platform and experienced leadership in terms of winemaking, sales and distribution.
We believe we can be one of the best. When the vineyard was first restored over 30 years ago it was a pioneer in involving the consumer directly with the opportunity to participate in a vineyard experience. We have taken it one stage further with full ownership in a vineyard that is easy to visit and enjoy.
We feel that the infrastructure at the vineyard, including the fully equipped winery, barrel cellar and rental properties is excellent. It will give us a base for providing shareholder benefits, entertainment, and specially arranged visits allowing members to stay at the vineyard.
We also hold events in the UK, such as winemaker dinners, designed to add value and enjoyment to the wine buying experience and build sustainable relationships with our shareholders and customers.