B Cellars Celebrates Milestone 20th Anniversary

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B Cellars Celebrates Milestone 20th Anniversary

B Cellars Celebrates Milestone 20th Anniversary

B Cellars Celebrates Milestone 20th Anniversary

B Cellars, the Oakville estate known for its diverse portfolio of food-friendly wines from Napa Valley’s most celebrated vineyard sites and for setting a new standard of excellence for wine pairing experiences, is celebrating the 20th anniversary of its first vintage. Founded in 2003 by Duffy Keys and Jim Borsack, B Cellars has become a benchmark for wine making expertise, customer loyalty, and unparalleled culinary programming.

Co-founders Borsack and Keys describe themselves as two guys who set out to create food centric, world-class wines showcased by a winery experience that didn’t exist in Napa Valley 20 years ago. Without any wine industry background, their instincts told them it was time to fill a void with a reimagined approach to wine production and tasting.  “While many wineries promote pairings, few do it with the commitment to excellence that we do,” noted Keys.

“Our first 10 years solidified B Cellars reputation for producing best-in-class wines from Napa Valley and neighboring Sonoma,” said Borsack. “During the second 10 years of our journey, our vision expanded to include our desire to change the way visitors to Napa Valley engage with a winery.”

B Cellars released its first two labels in 2003, two namesake blends that are still produced today: Blend 24, inspired by the Super-Tuscan wines of Italy and comprising Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Syrah, and Blend 25, a food-friendly blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. Under the watchful eye of second-generation master winemaker Kirk Venge, B Cellars current portfolio includes on average 20-plus wines comprising 15-plus varietals produced from grapes grown in Napa Valley and Sonoma’s most desirable vineyard properties.

“If the number of labels we make seems over the top, they are made in small lot quantities to satisfy the palates of the loyal customer base we have built over two decades,” said Keys. According to B Cellars advanced analytics, the last five years have shown that, not only are 25 percent of their customers purchasing B Cellars wines year-over-year, but they are also spending 3.2 times more per year than their first-year purchases – a clear signal of the unusual level of loyalty B Cellars enjoys with its customers.

Borsack and Keys credit their decision to turn away from selling through third-party distributors to focus on selling exclusively direct to consumers as a major turning point in the B Cellars success story.  It was a decision affirmed by early use of AI.

In 2018, B Cellars was the first winery to seek consumer feedback through the aid of artificial intelligence, emphasizing emotion and data analytics. Eschewing star or numeric ratings, Borsack and Keys instead wanted to determine the depth and durability of their customer relationships, especially in comparison to other high-end Napa wineries. They retained a prominent San Francisco-based management consulting firm that developed Metis, a propriety, cutting-edge AI and behavioral research program.  B Cellars became the first winery to deploy Metis. One the program’s top objective is to provide insights into the emotional connection a business is making with its customers – arguably the most coveted attribute a brand seeks to understand.

“One of the great things about the B Cellars study was including non-winery businesses,” said Kyle Richey, co-founder of Metis.  The study included restaurants, hotels and even retailers.  “This was a counter-intuitive approach to figure out how to build a wine business — very revolutionary,” added Richey.  The result was the discovery that B Cellars customers’ primary motivation was their belief in the integrity of the brand.  “They wanted to go on a journey of enrichment,” said Richey, “with B Cellars as the guide.”

In 2012, Keys and Borsack conceived and developed from the ground-up their vision for a reimagined, experience-driven winery.  Situated on the Oakville Cross Road, this state-of-the-art wine production facility includes an extensive cave network for barrel storage and several entertainment areas for wine tasting. The property also features a dedicated Hospitality House; it serves as the focal point supporting the winery’s expansive wine and food pairing programs. Complete with an interactive, open-hearth kitchen, the Hospitality House is surrounded by estate vineyards providing indoor and outdoor seating creating its own ineffable energy.

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