Kingston Family Vineyards (A)

By Alyssa Rapp, Kaitlin Malloy
2016 | Case No. SM266A | Length 30 pgs.

In 1998, Courtney Kingston persuaded her family to expand their ranch in Chile from dairy and cattle into wine. By March 2016, Kingston Family Vineyards had a strong international brand for its small-production wines and successfully sold the remaining top-tier grapes to other Chilean winemakers. But they faced key choices regarding focus and growth. As Courtney packed her bags for Chile to attend the  annual meeting of the family business, she considered three diverging paths.

One option was to increase production of their highly rated, handcrafted wines, which had established the vineyard’s reputation for quality, pursuing sufficient scale to turn a profit on the winery. Alternatively, the Kingstons could refocus on the vineyard, as they had originally planned, playing to their strengths in farming expertise and leveraging their primary asset – the land. A third possibility was to Invest in Chile’s burgeoning tourism market, and open a boutique hotel in Casablanca’s wine country. Courtney wondered how best to preserve the family’s land for the next generation while contributing to the greater Casablanca Valley community.

This case explores these three strategic possibilities and their potential economic impact.

Kingston Family Vineyards - Trade and Education video provides an overview of their history and approach to winemaking in Casablanca Valley, Chile. (TRT: 04:38)

Also see: SM266 (B): Kingston Family Vineyards (B)

Learning Objective

The case highlights challenges and pricing dynamics at each tier of the supply chain for wines produced in new and growing wine regions and imported into the United States. The case explores the changing landscape of wine production, export and tourism in Chile in 2016 and illustrates the tradeoffs of strategic choices as a grower, producer, importer, burgeoning epicenter for eco-tourism, and brand marketer.

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