Essay about Organic Farming and Frog’s Leap

Submitted By jelemu
Words: 3704
Pages: 15

‘If you can sustain your passion, then you can sustain your business’ states owner John Williams when discussing future challenges facing Frog’s Leap Winery ( The ever-smiling, uber-positive Williams does not hide the fact that there are both challenges and opportunities for the small vineyard going forward. Likely, the number one concern for Frog’s Leap is debt. While assets have increased twofold since the year 2000, the company still holds $22 million in debt. Should they choose to take on another multi-million dollar project, they may find it difficult to obtain financing. Secondary challenges include the fact that the winery is maxed out land-wise. Williams has no plans to increase his holding by purchasing additional land. Therein lies the task of how to increase growth as well as profit with the current acreage. While Frog’s Leap has somewhat of a unique corner on the market with its ‘frog’ theme and environmentally conscious philosophy, there are hundreds of other vineyards in the Napa region. Frog’s Leap must continue to find ways to set themselves apart from the competition. Although the winery has been organic since the late 80’s, the popularity of ‘going green’ has dramatically increased over the last decade for business around the globe. Another challenge for Frog’s Leap is the environment. Climate change can dramatically affect production, including temperature, rainfall and soil composition. The winery has done a phenomenal job of combating such issues by implementing dry farming and biodynamic growing techniques. The introduction of cover crops and compost eliminated the need for traditional fertilizers and herbicides. However, it’s important to note that Global Warming and the dramatic decrease in California water supplies may ultimately impact grape production. When considering the big picture, the Great Recession proved to be quite a challenge for all companies and the winery was not spared. They struggled when the market crashed in 2007-2008. At the time of the case study, they were just beginning to show signs of recovery. Going forward, Frog’s Leap realizes the need to be prepared for economic downturns. An additional area of concern is hiring and retaining high quality, engaged employees. While the company does a great deal for its migrant workers such as providing health care and vacation time, what are they doing to differentiate themselves from other wineries in the area? What makes someone want to go to work for Frog’s Leap for the long haul? How can Williams continue to keep his employees energized about the brand? One of the final concerns for John Williams in particular is his legacy. Will any of his children want to take over the business at some point? Williams has put his blood, sweat and tears into building this business. The foundation of Frog’s Leap is family oriented and likely Williams will want reassurance that it will live on long after he is gone.
Opportunities for Frog’s Leap continue to materialize, though not on a grand scale. While John Williams is a champion for change, those changes must reflect the brand and the true core of what is Frog’s Leap ( One of the opportunities they may want to consider is direct sell to consumers. Frog’s Leap primarily sells to distributors with great success. They haven’t tapped into selling directly to the customer and bypassing the middleman. Taking a small percentage of their product and testing it out could help them gauge how successful this avenue might be. In this modern age of online sales, Frog’s Leap appears to be a little behind the times. With their introduction of cover crops to the vineyard fields, another opportunity exists to grow the bottom line. Produce from these crops could be developed into signature food items such as pickles, jellies, seasonings or even sold ‘fresh off the vine’ to local consumers.
Likely the