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Opportunity comes knocking at Meinhardt
Biz moore-cam
Jan Moore
    There is no better feeling than when a salesperson "calls" on you, and you end up selling their company your product or service. What makes it even better is if that salesperson is representing a company owned by the largest retailer in the world, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
    The "nirvana" of sales happened to local wine producer and retailer, Meinhardt Vineyards & Winery. One day out of the blue, a representative of Sam's Clubs (owned by Wal-Mart) called Meinhardt attempting to sell them a Sam's Club membership.
    After a little bit of chit-chat, an appointment was set up, and the manager of the Sam's Club in Pooler made a sales call on our local winery. If you know Ken Meinhardt,  co-founder of the winery, then you know the Sam's guy didn't have a chance.
    Meinhardt bought a membership, but when all was said and done, the process had been started to have Meinhardt's wines sold in all of the Sam's Club locations in the state of Georgia.
    That was about three months ago. The winery's other co-founders, Ken Meinhardt, II and his mother, Jan Meinhardt, said they should begin delivering wine to Sam's in the next two to three weeks.
    I know you are wondering just how much wine they anticipate selling to Sam's. Meinhardt, II, estimates delivering 180 cases of wine per store initially replenishing as warranted. That is 3760 cases of wine right out of the shoot.
    When the Meinhardts planted their grape vines in 2000, sewing the seeds of what is now a truly beautiful operation in southern Bulloch County, few could have imagined how much they would accomplish in such a short period of time.
    The winery now produces ten different types of wine totaling 9,000 gallons per year. Meinhardt, II, said the operation is in the process of expanding to meet the increasing demand.
    "This year, we are installing three new 6,000 gallon tanks which will bring our production capacity up to 27,000 gallons," he said. "Also, we will be introducing two new wines which will bring our offering up to 12 different wines."
    Opened in 2004, the winery has 17 acres of producing grapes, with 15 more acres "in the works." A deal is being finalized to supply their wine to Harvey's Grocery Stores within a one hundred mile radius of the vineyard.
    Ken Meinhardt said the expansion of their production facilities and plan to build a bread and breakfast inn will enhance the retail business that they are doing. "Our courtyard, grounds, and wine tasting room are always available for weddings, business meetings, seminars, and family gatherings. We have a number of people that join us at sunset to enjoy a cheese platter and a chilled bottle of wine."
    Everything aside, I know there is still one burning question that hasn't been answered. How deep of a discount did the Meinhardts have to give Sam's to sell them product? Therein lies the beauty of the whole deal.
    They didn't. "We just showed them our wholesale price list, which gives pre-determined discounts at certain levels," Meinhardt, II, said. "They said 'okay', and that was that." Nirvana again.
    In case you are interested, Meinhardt, II said if you buy 50 cases, you can have the same price that Sam's Club is paying.
    Until next week, I bid adieu.
    Got a scoop for Jan? Call her at (912) 489-9463 or e-mail her at jmoore@statesboroherald.net