이희상 동아원회장은 나파밸리 와이너리 투자와 관련, 손익계산서를 완전히 집어던진 사람이라고 다나에스테이트 부사장이
한 와인전문지와의 인터뷰에서 밝혔습니다
다나에스테이트는 동아원이 미국 캘피포니아 나파밸리에 설립한 와이너리관련 법인으로 온다도로라는 와인을 G20 정상회의
만찬주로 무상공급했으며 전두환의 삼남 전재만이 현지 책임을 맡고 있습니다
와인전문지인 WINES AND VINES은 지난해 1월호에서 특이한 와이너리투자 케이스로 은행융자를 받지 않고 다른 소소를 통해 와이너리를 매입한 동아원 계열사인 다나에스테이트의 사례를 소개했습니다
피터 페리 다나에스테이트 부사장은 이 잡지와의 인터뷰에서 한국기업인인 오너 이희상은 와이너리 프로젝트에 대한 돈
걱정이 없으며 이희상 동아원회장은 손익계산서를 완전히 집어던진 사람, 즉 손익을 따지지 않는 사람이라고 평가했습니다
한마디로 골치 아픈 손익계산은 하지 않고 투자를 한다, 즉 주판을 엎었다는 이야기가 될 것 같습니다
이회장이 주판을 엎고 투자할 수 있는 이유에 대해서도 '오너 이희상은 돈 걱정이 없다, 돈에 대해서는 편안하다'는 말로 설명하고 있습니다
다시 말하면 돈이 많아서 손익 안따지고 그냥 투자한다 이런 말입니다
페리 부사장은 또 다나는 첫 5년내에 양호한 현금흐름이 기대된다고 말한뒤 와이너리비지니스에서 투자금 환수[ROI]를 수학적으로 따진다면 오래, 아주 오래 [LONG LONG TIME] 걸릴 것이라고 말했습니다
이희상이 운영중인 다나에스테이트의 부사장은 이희상의 투자스타일을 젊쟎게 설명하는 것 같지만
한편으로는 '빅 스펜더'라는 나파밸리의 이희상에 대한 소문대로, 무분별한 투자를 보여주는 것으로도 생각됩니다
이 잡지가 기사에서 밝혔듯 이희상의 투자행태는 은행융자를 받는 일반적인 [COMMON] 투자패턴과는 다른 융자없이
다른 소스에서 돈을 조달, 융자없이 와이너리를 사들인 특이한 케이스로서 동아원 와이너리를 소개했습니다
이 잡지가 보기에도 이희상 동아원회장이 융자도 없이 돈을 척척 갖다대는 것이 신기했던 모양입니다
특히 문제되는 것은 이희상이 다나에스테이트라는 와이너리에 투자한 돈이 자신의 개인 돈이 아니라
표면적으로는 동아원이라는 회사의 돈이라는 것이며 특히 동아원은 상장회사로 동아원의 돈은 곧 주주들의 돈임을 생각하면
이같은 투자행태는 적지 않은 문제가 있는 것으로 보입니다
페리 부사장의 지적대로 이희상은 대차대조표, 손익계산에 전혀 신경쓰지 않고 마음편하게 와이너리에 돈을 넣고
있다는 것은 주주들의 이익을 심각하게 침해하는 것입니다
과연 자신의 돈이라면 손익계산도 없이 돈을 퍼부을수 있을까요. 주주들의 적극적인 권리행사가 절실합니다
전재만씨가 현지 책임자로 있다고 하니 연희동 전두환씨도 이런 내용은 좀 알아두셔야 하는게 아닌가 싶습니다
이 기사는 와이너리 운영과 관련한 건축비용과 융자등 보편적인 와이너리 투자패턴도 잘 설명하고 있습니다
와이너리융자를 전문으로 하는 은행관계자는 대부분의 와이너리가 전체 건축자금의 65%-70% 정도를 은행융자로 충당하고 있으며 와이너리 신축비용이 건물 스퀘어 피트당 최소 3백달러에서 최대 5백달러 정도라고 전하고 있습니다
다른 은행관계자도 와이너리건축에는 절대로 백% 융자해 줄 수 없으며 대부분 50%에서 65%정도를 융자한다고 설명했습니다
건축전문가는 이 비용도 와이너리를 멋있게 꾸미기 위한 설계비가 많이 계상된 비용이라며 와이너리는 사실상 건축회사에서
볼때 와이너리공사는 비교적 단순한 것으로 장비나 가구 그리고 진입로 조경비용등을 별도로 한다면 스퀘어피트당 비용은 이보다 낮다고 말했습니다
이 기사 내용을 잘 살펴보면 의미심장한 내용을 파악할 수 있습니다
또 전문가들의 와이너리 건축비용 추산치보다 몇배씩 많이 계상된 회사가 있다면 문제가 아닐 수 없습니다
동아원은 2004년부터 2008년까지 5개년간 투자신고를 거쳐 와이너리에 최소 7천7백만달러를 투입했다고 합니다
동아원이 3백80억원씩 적자가 나는 해에도 와이너리로 보내는 돈은 꼬박꼬박 보냈습니다
합법적으로 반출됐다는 그돈은 잘 투자됐는지 살펴볼 필요가 있을 겁니다
January 2009 Issue of Wines & Vines
Architecture and the Bottom Line
How much--and in what ways--do the aesthetics of a winery design pay off?
by Suzanne Gannon
In November 1995, after the wines of Christian Wolffer's Sagpond Vineyards began popping up in five-star restaurants throughout the New York metropolitan area, he decided that the old metal barn that housed his winery adjacent to his horse farm in Sagaponack, Long Island, was due for an upgrade.
He hired Marren and Newman, a New York architecture firm, and Bob Walker, an interior designer whose work he had encountered in Aspen, Colo. By 1997, the winery was freshly installed in a gracious ocher-colored edifice reminiscent of the wineries of Europe--and Tuscany in particular. At the same time, the winery rebranded itself as Wolffer Estate Vineyard."It starts with opening the 200-pound door," said Roman Roth, Wolffer's winemaker since 1992. "You can't just make a tooty-fruity wine behind that door. It would be an empty shell if the quality of the vineyard and the wine did not match that building."
After entering the winery through the dramatic doorway, visitors move to a tasting room with vaulted ceilings supported by massive reclaimed beams, terracotta tiles, chandeliers and sconces, 24-inch-thick walls and commodius tables for tasting wine. A collection of ornate 18th century steins, some of them valued at as much as $12,000, decorates one wall, and large pieces of art accent the space throughout.
"If you know you want to achieve a certain style, then you must take every step toward that style," Roth said. He added that the winery began purchasing most of its mechanical equipment for the new winery prior to the start of construction. "There's no point in coming up with a dream idea if it's not practical."
A large glass window overlooks the vinification tanks, symbolizing Wolffer's taste for transparency. "We have no secrets," Roth said.
French doors open onto a generous canopied terrace where guests can taste wine at large wooden tables overlooking rows of Chardonnay and Merlot vines. Plates of cheese and charcouterie are available to accompany wine flights.
"We would not have been able to go to 22,000 cases if we had not planned for it," Roth added, alluding to the winery's production growth from 12,000 cases in the early 1990s.
In winemaking communities across the continent, vintners and winery owners are keying into the appeal of a winery that is designed both to function well and be aesthetically pleasing. Not only does such a structure facilitate a memorable experience in hospitality, but if the architecture is notable enough, it can serve as a draw to consumers with an appetite for design as well as wine, subtly communicating a message of quality on behalf of the brand.
Building a Napa landmark
It could be said that Craig and Kathryn Hall of Hall Napa Valley in Rutherford and St. Helena have placed some substantial bets on architecture as a driver for a discerning set of wine consumers.
When developing the concept for the Rutherford winery, Kathryn Hall, who served as the U.S. ambassador to Austria during the Clinton administration, sought to make a connection between the winery and the country of her diplomatic posting. She hired renowned Austrian mason Friederich Gruber and his team to hand-build 14,000 square feet of vault-like cellars. They worked meticulously for five months, finishing it with reclaimed Austrian brick. A dramatic chandelier by New York artist Donald Lipski evokes an elaborately rooted tree laden with Swarovski crystals.
While in the final stages of completing the Rutherford winery, the Halls purchased the old Napa Valley Co-op in St. Helena, which dates to 1885 and reached its peak in the 1930s and 1940s, when it produced as much as 40% of the wines from Napa Valley growers.
Almost immediately the Halls, who are collectors of contemporary art and admirers of modern architecture, commissioned internationally renowned architect Frank Gehry to design a hospitality center on the historic site, and the Lail Design Group of St. Helena to design the production facilities. Though the winery does not disclose the value of its investment in the project, it has been reported at more than $100 million.
"We are trying to create a place that includes a spectacular winemaking facility, and to develop a unique and memorable experience in art, architecture and wine," said Hall Napa Valley president Mike Reynolds, who has been intimately involved in the design and construction of both facilities since joining the company six years ago.
Describing the process as "constant and relentless," Reynolds said the key to the success of the projects has been the interactive, collaborative relationship the winery team shares with the architects and engineers involved.
Design and permitting on the St. Helena site took about three years, and the Halls broke ground last summer, first constructing the two production buildings. In August they received their certificate of occupancy, enabling them to produce their first vin tage in the facility with the 2008 harvest. Solar panels have been incorporated into the production facilities, and the project currently is designed to qualify for LEED certification at the gold level.
Gehry's hospitality center, the later phase of the project, is currently under construction and slated for completion some time in 2011. An undulating wood trellis will float above the glass building.
"The trellis is meant to tie the agricultural nature of wine to the more modern architecture of Frank Gehry," Reynolds said.
Funding ambitious architecture
With marquee architectural names like Frank Gehry entering the mix, raising funds for design and construction is no small feat. And while many of the vintners interviewed for this article are loath to disclose the details of how they budget and finance such capital-intensive projects--particularly in the volatile economic climate we have witnessed in recent months--Rob McMillan, founder of Silicon Valley Bank's wine division in St. Helena, advised wineries to develop contingencies and to secure committed debt financing--even when they don't believe they will need it.
"It's foolhardy to predict that which is unpredictable," McMillan said. "You don't want to get halfway to the finish line and run out of gas."
McMillan, who in the last three years has seen his division finance 25 new winery builds and expansions on the West Coast, with annual production volumes ranging from 4,000 to 3 million cases, said that almost all of the projects have come in at least 20% over budget. He said that in most cases, the partnerships or individuals who own the winery seek financing for between 50% and 65% of the value of the completed project and raise the rest from their own resources. On a $10 million project, for example, a vintner could raise $6.5 million in financing on the high end, and with a 20-year loan based on current matching Treasury bond rates of 4.73%, would wind up paying an interest rate of 8.73%.
"Winery owners need to think hard about returns and consider the possibility of building in phases," he said, citing the fact that the downturn has resulted in a drop in commodities costs such as wood and stainless. Contractors also have more time on their hands, meaning that bids are more competitive.
In addition, McMillan pointed out that sales growth and profitability factor into financing, because a winery has to support a certain level of sales to justify the loan.
"Just as a person wanting to buy a home without a job shouldn't get a mortgage, a winery shouldn't get 100% financing without the sales," he said.
The sentiment is echoed by Peter Sitov, senior vice president of San Francisco-based Union Bank of California. Its wine industry services division currently has a collective $200 million in credit commitments to about a dozen winery clients that have borrowed between $2 million and $45 million for winery projects with volumes from 10,000 cases to a few million.
"The first thing we look at is cash flow," Sitov said. "How much foot traffic will go through the space, and how much cash will that generate? Then we look at the asset value. Other lenders may look at asset value first."
Construction costs fall between roughly $300 and $500 per square foot. Sitov and his colleague James Barrett, who is the senior relationship manager in the bank's newly opened St. Helena office, estimated that architectural fees typically are between 12% and 16% of construction costs.
In the right model with the right client, the division, which has been active since the 1980s, will finance as much as 65%-70% of the completed project cost.
Investing in your project
An increasingly common scenario among vintners interviewed for this article, though, is the individual who embarks on a project with capital from other sources that he is willing to invest and write off.
Such was the case in the early-stage financial planning for the new Dana Estates in Rutherford, designed by Howard Backen, one of the reigning statesmen of winery architecture throughout Northern California. According to winery vice president Pete Perry, the owner, Korean entrepreneur Hi Sang Lee, was comfortable financing the project, taking it off the balance sheet completely.
As a result, Perry said, the winery expects to reach positive cash flow within the first five years. He added that retail pricing on the largely direct-sale production was not even determined until after the budget for construction was completed. "If you did the math on the ROI, it would be a long, long time."
At Opus One, one of the Napa Valley's more iconic wineries, the hospitality team has determined that a substantial portion of visitors to the winery, which was completed in 1991, are as interested in its setting within a sweeping, graded berm, its Texas limestone exterior and its heart redwood accents, as they are in its wines. The winery, designed by the Los Angeles-based architect Scott Johnson, whose credits include working as a protégé to William Pereira, designer of the Transamerica Pyramid in San Francisco, will soon introduce a 45-minute architecturally themed tour.
Architects connect the dots
For Howard Backen, it was the Robert Mondavi Winery, across the street from Opus and completed in 1966, that was the first to make the architecture-wine connection.
"There were a lot of beautiful old buildings like BV and Inglenook that were doing a great job of selling their wines," Backen said. "But they weren't promoting their wines to the world to the extent that Mondavi did. He changed the whole valley."
After Mondavi, Backen said, there was "a lull," and then small wineries began establishing cult followings on a worldwide basis.
"For many years, people in the business of producing the best wine possible would find the best piece of land, hire the best vineyard manager and the best winemaker," Backen said. "Now they are looking for the person in architecture who knows the most about it."
The site on which a winery is to be constructed plays a paramount role in what it will ultimately look like and how it will function according to Backen, a founding partner in Backen Gillam Architects of S t. Helena and Sausalito, who has also designed wineries including Harlan, Sterling, Cliff Lede, Gallo of Sonoma, Napa Valley Reserve, Bond and Spottswoode, among others.
A vintner whose winery is set on a hillside, for example, can take a different approach to the location of his crush pad than the owner of a winery situated on a flatland, Backen said. The site also dictates whether gravity can be used or whether lifts or conveyor belts must be designed and incorporated into the schematic design.
"The first thing I'm interested to know from the winemaker is the size and style of the fermentation tank. Wood, concrete, stainless steel--that sets the tone," he said.
He then works with a designated team of mechanical consultants and contractors who install the tanks and provide the catwalks.
"Consumers really appreciate the architecture of a winery--almost more than they do in a house," Backen said. "There's some mystique about them, especially the private ones, so that it becomes quite special just to get to go to them."
Creating something special
Working with San Francisco architects Michael Guthrie & Associates, Gunkelman designed custom finishes and furniture including Italian plaster ceilings, stained concrete floors, custom rugs and Kosta stone from O'Shaughnessy's native Minnesota. Greg Stevens of Minneapolis built all of the furniture--much of it from 100-year-old reclaimed red birch from Lake Superior.
O'Shaughnessy does not question whether her investment in the winery at top of the hill at the end of a long road has been worthwhile.
"When visitors come to the valley and tour several wineries, they go home remembering ours and how attractive it was. That translates into sales," she said.
Roman Roth of Wolffer said that Christian Wolffer, like Hi Sang Lee, wrote off the cost of his winery as a one-time investment. "If you put it into the budget," he said, "the winery cannot make money."