Last Updated on December 30, 2021 by rise25
Brad Warner is the Founder and Co-owner of Rutherford Equipment Rental, a business that provides production equipment for commercial wineries, breweries, and beverage producers in Northern California. He is the Owner of Warner Winery Consulting, North Bay Air Purification, and Leto Cellars, Inc. He began his enduring career working at the Charles Krug Winery. He served as the Vice President of Production and then Director of Property and Facilities at the Robert Mondavi Winery. Before creating his own winery equipment rental company, Brad became the Winemaker and Director of Operations at Sawyer Cellars and then Winemaker and General Manager at Foley Johnson Winery.
Lisa Warner is the Co-owner and Director of Operations at Rutherford Equipment Rental and Co-founder and Vintner at Leto Cellars, Inc. She has over three decades of experience working in winery production and is the Co-Owner of Warner Winery Consulting and North Bay Air Purification. Her career began as the Facilities Coordinator and Purchaser for Robert Mondavi Winery. She previously worked as the Production Buyer for Diageo, Procurement and Brand Manager for Hambrecht Vineyards and Winery, and National Accounts Director for Hahn Family Wines.
Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:
- Brad and Lisa Warner share their expedition into the wine industry
- An in-depth look into the purification process of wine tanks
- How Brad and Lisa filled an educational void around cellar procedures
- Brad’s unique marketing approach to capture a client’s attention
- How can a new business scale and better communicate with customers?
- Lisa talks about the power of authenticity to connect with consumers and wineries
- What is on the horizon for Rutherford Equipment Rental?
- The importance of micron filtration for bottling wine
In this episode with Brad and Lisa Warner
How do you overcome the challenges of beverage production? Are you wondering how your small or large company will reach its full potential?
When producing wine, it is essential to consider all aspects — and Brad and Lisa Warner created a solution by providing portable small tank operations to aid in small batch productions. Brad and Lisa bring passion and empathy to the industry to figure out the best solution to your wine-making needs.
On this episode of Legends Behind the Craft, Drew Hendricks sits down with Brad and Lisa Warner, Owners of Rutherford Equipment Rental, to discuss what makes them different in the specialty-equipment rental beverage industry. They discuss cultivating an authentic and trustworthy business, building a strong connection with consumers, and the importance of barrel filtration education.
Resources Mentioned in this episode
- Barrels Ahead
- Drew Hendricks on LinkedIn
- Rutherford Equipment Rental
- Lisa Warner on LinkedIn
- Warner Winery Consulting
- Leto Cellars
- Cheryl Murphy Durzy on Legends Behind the Craft
Sponsor for this episode…
This episode is brought to you by Barrels Ahead.
At Barrels Ahead, we know that your business is unique. That’s why we work with you to create a one-of-a-kind marketing strategy that highlights your authenticity, tells your story, and makes your business stand out from your competitors.
Our team at Barrels Ahead helps you leverage your knowledge so you can enjoy the results and revenue your business deserves.
So, what are you waiting for? Unlock your results today!
Welcome to the Legends Behind the Craft podcast where we feature top leaders in the wine and craft beverage industry with your host Drew Hendricks. Now let’s get started with the show
Drew Hendricks 0:19
Drew Hendricks here. I’m the host of the Legends Behind the Craft podcast where I talk with leaders in the wine and craft beverage industry. Last week I talked with Cheryl Murphy Durzy founder and CEO of LibDib. Five years ago, Cheryl had the vision of empowering small wineries and craft distilleries to take control of their own destiny when navigating the three tier system. We talked about the challenges it took to build out this system from zero products to over 10,000 Today, surrounding yourself with a proper team was one. The other was forming strategic partnerships. If you’re a maker looking to expand your footprint, this is one episode you cannot miss. Today is a special treat. I’m talking with Brad and Lisa Warner. They are true wine industry legends. We recently launched their new website Rutherford Equipment Rental and working on the site we dove deep into their background story, and I cannot wait to have them on the show today. Today’s episode is sponsored by Barrels Ahead. At Barrels Ahead we work with you to implement a one of a kind marketing strategy. One that highlights your authenticity, tells your story and connects you with your ideal customers. In short, we help wineries and craft beverage producers unlock their story to unleash their revenue. Go to barrelsahead.com today to learn more. Now, I’m super excited today to talk with Brad and Lisa Warner. Brad and Lisa, their founders of Rutherford Equipment rental, which started as a side hustle back in 1991. Today Rutherford Equipment rental. It’s the winemakers choice for wine production rentals in Northern California. Welcome to the show, Brad and Lisa.
Lisa Warner 1:48
Thanks for having us Drew. We’re excited to be here.
Drew Hendricks 1:51
Oh, thank you so much for being on. Yeah, we usually I don’t. Usually I’m talking to guests. For the first time on the show. We’ve had we’ve had quite a quite a history over the past few months launching the site. So yeah, I know your story. And I can’t wait to have all of our listeners hear it as well. So just give it give us a little brief background about yourself.
Brad Warner 2:13
You start about Rutherford Equipment.
Drew Hendricks 2:15
Brad, how did how did you get into the wine industry?
Brad Warner 2:18
Oh, well, it was actually a job that paid more than the job I had previous.
Drew Hendricks 2:27
What was your previous job? I got to know that. Think about that. Yeah. So
Brad Warner 2:31
I was a manager as a saintliness Chevron and Santa Lena, and my neighbor where I rented a house in St. Lena worked at Charles Krug winery, and very friendly guy kept saying I should come down to cruise and apply for a job. And I finally asked myself, well, what do they pay down there? And he told me, so it was more than what I was making at the service station. In those days is 1967 There was only one new winery in Napa Valley. Since prohibition that was Robert Mondavi Winery, I worked at Charles Krug, which was founded in 1858, or 1859. So they had a lot of old equipment, Redwood tanks, so tanks, and the tops of these tanks would leak wine. So somebody needed to clean the tops of the tanks. And as I tell people, I started off at the top cleaning tops of the tanks, and work my way down.
Drew Hendricks 3:32
Like that. And Lisa, how did you get your phone? How did you work your way into the wine industry?
Lisa Warner 3:37
Well, I grew up in Sonoma County did not grow up with wine on the table. But my siblings and I, my parents noticed we were all leaving the area, you know, for work in Petaluma. You know, there wasn’t career paths available. And I remember my dad said to me, you know, there’s this wine business, this wine industry thing around here. And, you know, people actually come to visit our area, like you know, from other parts of the country, that might be something you want to look into. So my first job, believe my title was purchasing secretary at Robert Mondavi, and one of my first jobs was to type up purchase orders on a typewriter. If you made a mistake, you needed whiteout. And I would fax core quarters to Portugal on a fax machine that was almost as tall as I am. So I’m five foot two. So that thing had to be like four and a half feet tall. But I started out with an interest in food. And thought I wanted to be a chef actually went to the Culinary Academy orientation and was ready to pump my money down and do that. But I didn’t see how that lifestyle would mesh with my other long term goals. So that’s how I got started in the wine business.
Drew Hendricks 5:00
That’s amazing. So, from the from a purchasing secretary to the master the top of the barrel it’s been a long journey. Let’s give us like the two minute, two minute elevator version of it. So you went from crib and give us
Brad Warner 5:18
give us a oh, I went from Charles Krug and then went to Robert Mondavi in 1970. And
Lisa Warner 5:28
you have to tell them how you met Mr.
Brad Warner 5:31
So, at Charles Krug, I was full time employee 40 hours a week, but I supplemented my income with working at the service station. So and of course in those days all the vintners, Joe heights, Louie martini, Berman, Davi Peter, Mondavi, all of them, had to get gas they did not have drivers in so they actually would come in and the majority of were very friendly. Robert was always very friendly. It was August of 1970, that Robert came in to get gas. And I asked him, I said, what do you what do you got going on down at that new winery years? He said, we’ll come on down and I’ll show you around. So I said, Okay, so I went down there. And of course, it was like a dream come true and modern, well lit, no tank tops to clean. And he said, Would you like work for me during harvest? You can work for me at nighttime. And I said, Well, I work for your brother, you know, and he said, That’s all right. And so I worked day shift to Charles Krug winery, a full shift eight hours and then I would go down to Robert Davi and then work a full eight hour shift at nighttime. And it wasn’t that long. It was seven days week. Started in actually September, went through October, November. Until about the 10th of December. It was when I started getting one day off a week or two days off the week. After that stamp, Robert had offered me a seller former position at Robert Mondavi Winery. So I gave my notice to Charles Krueger and went Manabi.
Lisa Warner 7:15
Okay, so he’s probably the only person in wine industry history that worked both those sellers at the same time, especially given the background, you know, between those four others? No, that’s a big, it’s a big deal. And then, the other thing is that you were there for almost 30 years. Yeah.
Drew Hendricks 7:37
How did that? How did your grow through the those last those 30 years? manavi?
Brad Warner 7:43
Well, it started Charles Krug. So I’m not sure how long they claim tops. It wasn’t that long. The Charles Creek was a union winery. So I became very fascinated about the process of winemaking. And there wasn’t a lot of training or teaching back then was mostly, you know, just doing your job. And then going home at the end of the day, there wasn’t a lot of talk about quality or what we were doing with the lines. But if you you know, kept your eyes open and your ears open, you could see the process of winemaking. And so I learned a lot just through through that. And then I think actually I think it was the first harvest after that, that they put me in charge of the fermentation room wineries used to have fermentation rooms that were separate from the main winery. So they would just use it during harvest for fermentation. That’s not true anymore. But in those days, it was so you had a whole different sellers for just grape receiving, permitting the wines or the grapes.
Drew Hendricks 8:55
Was that for just the for cleanliness, or was there a reason for that?
Brad Warner 9:01
Well, back in the day, the bigger wineries would bottle pretty much year round. Okay. So they’re getting wines ready for bottling and you really didn’t want the, the yeast from the new fermentation to to carry over into the finished wines. So that’s why they were set up that way, years and years ago. And now what happens basically, you know, we don’t bottle during harvest. Learned, usually, I mean, the sellers are pretty much multiuse, the tanks you can use for Finnish wine or for a grape juice. So that’s the difference between then and now and for fermentation rooms. So I had a lot of the basics I did a lot of the you know, the cellar work rankings, toppings, sulfur additions, all of that. And then when I went to Robert Mondavi, that’s when a lot more training began, Robert would have these inspirational talks, speeches to the, to the crew, and there was, there was probably under 20 people at Robert Mondavi winery at that time, that’s including the retail room and the lab sellers. So he would always talk about making fine wines making equal to or better than the first gross of Europe. And of course, none of us knew really what that was in those days. But then he would start doing tastings on a weekly basis where we’d bring wines in, or he’d bring wines in from first pros are top end wineries from around the world, blind tastings.
Drew Hendricks 10:51
Being at the Mondavi winery, you’re talking about learning that learning the system learning learning winemaking and then expanding your horizons to to a sort of a worldview of wine, where Robert would come in and give you kind of blind tastings that some of the better ones the world
Brad Warner 11:09
for and talk about that for a bit. Sure. So every every week, every Monday morning, we would have a one hour tasting. Usually there was around 12 wines to taste and it was blind tasting so that they will be poured ahead of time they were they’d have Burgundy’s and Bordeaux’s from first gross, and then they also have local wines from California. Not so much Chilean wines or Argentinian wines, but more from Europe. area, they’d have Italian
Drew Hendricks 11:47
and and the French. What did that what did you learn from that? Like that? What happened?
Brad Warner 11:54
So how back up just a little bit. So I was a seller Foreman there and not really any job descriptions in those days was basically you know, you’re in charge of the whole thing, period. So not really knowing what that was. But I was very diligent on making sure things were clean. Because wine is a living, breathing thing. And if you go into even a stainless steel tank, it’s not clean, the winds are going to pick up that character in the wind. So we spent a lot of time I spent a lot of time on writing procedures for how to clean a tank, how to clean a hose, how to clean the floor, how to clean up after yourself, fittings, all this type of thing. And then came in the French barrels. Now Robert Mondavi was one of the first wineries in Napa Valley that were really using new French Oh, a lot of wineries would use American oak usually use brandy barrels as filling with wine. But not necessarily a lot of new Coke was used in wineries in those days. So oak barrels real important, again, to have the proper sanitation there, and there were no procedures for sanitation. And for oak barrels, it was kind of oak barrels were cared for the same way as oak tanks were and totally different. So I would start to smell all the 60 gallon barrels before they were filled, and also taste every wine before they were emptied from the barrel. So a little bit more challenging in those days because the barrels were stacked and pyramids not on to girl pallets. So you had to do a little circus act to get us into pyramids, the pyramids were five and six barrels high stacked with chocs would chocks and, you know, get your nose over her head and to smell the barrel and then a flashlight to look inside of them. And amazing things that that I would find so procedures in those days was to use soda ash and barrels. Soda Ash is basically a detergent you know to claim to claim things but you didn’t really need to use that an oak because you can’t sanitize though. The best way to clean oak is with with hot water steam and then fresh them with sulfur sulfur sticks. So what I found with the using the soda ash many times it was not mixed properly and would be dumped into a barrel. So it’d be a crust of soda ash and the bottom of this barrel that was being filled with wine. You can imagine what that one barrel of wine with a little bit of soda ash in the bottom would taste like. So again, education About tasting different wines. And when it’s all your a wine that you’re familiar with environment Avi you knew when there was something off. So when we found things like that, we would of course bring the crew together show them we found teach them the proper way to use soda ash. And before too long we kind of eliminated use soda ash at all and wood barrels. So it was those types of things. And then of course, tasting the wines from around the world. On these Monday morning tastings, you would start picking up different characters in in different regions of wines and find out well that was might be pretend my seeds that is in the wine and and is that a good thing or a bad thing is that something around value winery wants in their wines, a lot of the European wines in those days had returned to Macy’s, and it was on purpose. Actually, even today, it’s on purpose to and some some wines. So with is always an education, tasting wines, I think the biggest hedge vacation is there is usually 14 to 16 people sitting at this table, the tasting table on Monday morning. And some of them were the from sales or marketing. Some from production. But Robert was always there and Michael. And then later on Tim and Davi so at the end of the tasting, what you had to do is we went went through each person to find out what their preference was. And why. And, and, if so it kind of taught you. Not humility, but to, to really be honest about what you’re what you’re tasting. And I’ll have to say, you know, right now that some people would try to impress Robert Mondavi, there was no impressing Robert Mondavi. He wanted to know what you what you liked, and why he liked it. He respected that, even if it was a wrong answer. So it made a lot of people very nervous. And you saw kind of, like you’d see, maybe back in the grade school years, where people are looking at other people’s papers to see what what the answer was. And you’d see that going on around the tasting table. You know, people were trying to change your scores, because I thought, well, maybe they have the right answer. So it was a it was a it was a teaching and actually working with people to, you know. Anyway, it was it was a multifold teaching experience,
Drew Hendricks 17:46
what a valuable experience. And I liked it, you talked about the processes that you’re starting to put in place in the Davi and then you know, over the last 30 years, you’ve been re you’ve refined those processes for winery equipment, and just seller procedures in that lead to refer to equipment rental. What right, and now tell, tell us how that began. I know the story, and I know that everyone else wants to hear the story to where I want everyone else to hear the story. So I’m gonna make you tell the story.
Brad Warner 18:23
So I really saw it actually starting in the late 70s, but really didn’t know you know, even how to go about it. So in the 80s, there were more wineries being built in the Napa Valley. And Robert Mondavi Winery was pretty well respected back then and, and a lot of the wineries would come for either advice, or to borrow equipment. And I’m not sure if we, I’ll just say this When Christian Brothers winery was up and running, where the culinary center is now in Santa Lena. They came to me and asked if they could borrow my cellar procedure books, so they could basically incorporate them in their cellar procedures. So it was no problem we didn’t. I just gave them the binder of procedures. And they took it and copied him and brought the binder back. But I mean, we were trying to help other wineries to make the Wayne’s best they could always answering questions. So when they came to borrow equipment, they borrow pumps, hoses, sometimes tanks if we had tanks, but we never had really any small tanks of Indomie they weren’t real portable tanks. But definitely the pumps and hoses. So in the late 80s, early 90s I thought well, maybe I’ll buy a couple tanks and actually I bought a pressure washer on a trailer. Self Contained as well and started renting that in 1991. And actually, some of my biggest customers were janitorial services, where they rent the pressure washer. And you know, to clean the clean outside of buildings. But the tank rentals were a little bit slow because people were not really using small portable tanks at that time. But then it caught on, more and more people were interested in portable tanks. I was storing all these at my house and Rutherford, and hence why it’s called Rutherford Equipment Rental. And then it got too large for that, and then moved into a warehouse in Napa, I guess was the late 90s. Early 2000s.
Drew Hendricks 20:50
That’s it, how did you get the word out? Word of mouth.
Brad Warner 20:55
Well, I had an acquaintance. His name is Dave Pat up. And he worked a little bit with me Robert Mondavi Winery. And I asked him, he worked actually in sales for for another company in the Bay Area, and had left them and I was having to do some work around them. And Davi so I knew is in sales, and I said, you know, I need to get some advertising done. Dave, would you be interested in going around, you know, to wineries and dropping off the brochure? Because he’s a real, you know, gentle, soft, soft, sell type guy, you know? And so that’s how we started, you know,
Lisa Warner 21:38
can we just clarify what those brochures for? So when Brad says, Sure, I mean, spending time in production and marketing, I was, I was mortified. But you know, it worked. It was the most atrocious fluorescent green paper, and it was just a single sheet, just black, you know, like on a coffee machine, you know, Rutherfurd Equipment, and it listed your equipment and pricing, and there was no email. Didn’t have email? No. And, and it was just when people would call you
Drew Hendricks 22:14
don’t want to get I want to get a picture of that brochure on your workshop
Lisa Warner 22:17
one somewhere. Yeah. So brochure is in air quotes, really.
Drew Hendricks 22:24
So you have the brochure and your, for a longest time, you’re kind of known, had the nickname as being a cold supplier, because people couldn’t really find you. Or they knew you had to know somebody to to find you.
Lisa Warner 22:38
Right, and was limited equipment. You know, what, you know, not nearly as much as we have now, you didn’t want to tell your colleagues because, you know, you only had so many large format Corkers to choose from, and so many tanks to choose from, and if you told your colleagues and your colleagues might get that equipment instead of you. So people kept it very close to their chest as far as Yeah, you really had to be in the know, they didn’t want to lose their supply. Correct. That’s great. And we know that because people actually have shared that with us.
Drew Hendricks 23:15
Like, do you know anyone? Well, here’s, they’ll give you a wrong phone number. But as you guys expanded, and I do know the story, some of you, we did the small tanks, but really the industry kind of caught up to your vision of the smaller tanks and the smaller production and the micro production. And that really allowed you some tremendous growth in the 90s into the 2000s. And onward. And then Lisa, when did you come on board?
Lisa Warner 23:40
I came on board in 2008. And at that time, I had one of those jobs that looks really fancy on the outside. And Fred said to me, you know, I’ve got this referred equipment, and I can either grow it or sell it. And, you know, what do you think about operating? And my first thought was, well, how difficult can that be? I purchased equipment for years. Spent specialized. I got my CPM when I was at viaggio. So I knew procurement. I knew project management. And I said, Well, I just you know, I don’t know if you can afford me. And his response was I don’t know if you can afford not to do this. So I tell people I traded in my high heels and my frequent flyer miles for boots and a forklift license and much happier as a result. But yeah, that’s how I came on board and I worked off of a laptop in a desk in the middle of a warehouse at that time, there’s two warehouses, and my cell phone and I would take calls and run around back and forth but Brad kept all the orders in a spiral notebook was most of it in his head. And I was a process person. And I just, I couldn’t do it, I didn’t understand how he could do it, it made no sense to me how I could possibly remember where all these tanks were. And when people were done and picking it up, and you were still kind of doing it. On the side, you had a full time job as a winemaker for another producer at that time sort of sellers. So I said, you know, if I’m going to do this, and if we’re going to grow the business, things need to change, I need a need to put processes in place. And the first thing is developed what you know, what we called, at the time, a work order, but you know, was a reservation for equipment, and started tracking things. And then in 2014, really 15 We added software, rental equipment, software. And that was a really big deal. And I know Brad was skeptical. At best. Yeah, losing the spiral notebook was hard. And it was it was a tough transition for him. But in order to grow, as you know, Drew, I mean, we we needed those, those things to remember back then, you know, we didn’t have any health, we had a driver that came on board, and worked pretty much on call. But when we wanted to go on vacation, we had to shut down the business. And there was there was no one to run it. And that wasn’t sustainable, either. So I think the evolution with Rutherford’s growth has been, yes, we’ve added more equipment, we’ve listened to our customers. But having these processes in place that number one, make it easier for the customer to rent equipment, makes it easier for us to communicate with them that you know, it’s all ready to go and having that flexibility. And then we’ve added to our team, which which has really, you know, improved our ability to serve, not just our immediate area, but now we’re looking at, you know, we’ve been serving Livermore, the foothills, Sonoma County, Mendocino County and Lake County for a long time. But now we’re ramping that up even more.
Drew Hendricks 27:30
So fantastic. So the processes are really what helped you kind of scale?
Lisa Warner 27:35
Yeah, because in the proper team members, yeah. And having having the proper team members, and then also just being flexible. I think that you know winemaking will humble you. And when we bring new team members on board, we say look, you know, we have these tools. And we look at best case scenario. But it’s winemaking, it’s bottling and the best laid plans, I mean, you know, Sainz there for a reason. So our processes allow us to have flexibility as our customers needs change, even if they’re unexpected changes. We’ve had calls, you know, hey, I need the tank for longer, literally, the truck with my glass got into an accident. And I’m not getting my glass delivery, I mean, crazy, things like that. So our systems allow us to still take care of every
Brad Warner 28:32
personal. Yeah, in the
Drew Hendricks 28:35
being personable and that kind of customer centric kind of ethos that referee equipment has, I think, from what I’ve, from talking to you guys in the last couple months, that’s really what sets you guys apart. Where did that come from? Because a lot of equipment, round places, it’s just like, you’re just moving equipment from place to place. And that’s it free. From what I’ve seen, it’s just completely different at Retford rental.
Brad Warner 28:59
I just want to say one thing is when I started the business, I said, I will, I will not rent anything I would use myself. So that not necessarily about customer service, but I’m going to at least talk but the customer service to me, so I’m on I was always on the other end. So you know, how people actually responded to you and how they treated you. Because maybe they were the the ones in charge meant everything to me. And, you know, there was only a few that that would treat you with respect. And you would always remember that and those were the people that you wanted to continue to do business with, that I wanted to continue to do business with. So when Rutherford Equipment came along, it was it was difficult for me for a while. Because my job at Mondavi was you know, I was vice president of production operation so When I needed something people would do it for me. And then when they had rather for equipment, now, you know, I had to be on the other end. And when people needed something, I had to do it for them. So, you go
Lisa Warner 30:17
see, when I really learned the lesson, I call it the lesson. So I was the purchasing manager for a winery. And at that time, I was in charge of bottling supplies, and we probably had still a small winery. So but for me, you know, 24 skews to manage. I mean, it was a thing of different brands and different varieties. And I was pretty rigid in my ways, like, Brad was, I mean, it was very rigid. This is what we purchased. And I need to know in advance and this is we’re going to get and I remember I got a call from the winemaker that said, well, we need more of this label and less than this label. And I don’t think I responded very kindly. They said, Come down, come down to the cellar meet me in the cellar. And he did a great thing. It was the difference between a single vineyard sub appellation and an accounting appellation. So Chardonnay, so it was either Sonoma County Chardonnay or Russian River Chardonnay. And he made me taste them. And then he did the blends. And basically what it came down to is because the wine quality wasn’t there, they had to reduce the number of the Russian River Chardonnay and put that wine into the Sonoma County label. And it all kind of clicked, it’s like, oh, you know, because up to that point, I was just, it was just about commodities. I’m ordering stuff and producing stuff, putting together packaging. When the winemaking decision came in to it. It’s like all my light bulbs went off. It’s like, there’s, there’s got to be a balance between these two. And that really stuck with me. And I think that’s what I bring to Rutherford Equipment. And that’s what I try to train our team on. And going back to what I was saying earlier about best laid plans. I mean, that lesson was cemented for me, you know, in the cellar with a winemaker, and it’s never left me. Yeah,
Drew Hendricks 32:23
such a valuable lesson, it’s so important to spend just that extra few minutes to kind of understand the person’s motivation behind behind their anxiety or behind the request. Because once you understand it, you can give a better, get better advice, you can give better recommendations, and you feel that empathy and sympathy towards the right.
Lisa Warner 32:42
And the person that is our rental operations manager that takes up all of our reservations. You know, he’s to work on bottling lines on mobile bottling lines. And and I think that our whole team has real empathy, you know, for what production people are going through. And like Brad said, we wouldn’t rent anything, we wouldn’t use ourselves, but it’s more than a widget to us. We feel, and this sounds hokey, but it’s very sincere, you know, that we’re a team member in every single seller. And, you know, that’s our client. And we take that role seriously. And we feel the responsibility of that. And I think that’s what really drives our business and the passion and, and what makes us different. I mean, we really do feel like we can’t muck it up. Because it’s gonna have such an impact to all these other people and their product. Sure.
Drew Hendricks 33:42
Sure. Now, for equipment rental, like talking about today, you got a winery, or you got a prospective winery that’s just popping up. And a lot of times equipment rentals done on a spur of the moment, because they just figured out Oh, crap our thing broker, we don’t have the capacity for it. But how what advice would you give a winery or a new winery to actually make equipment rental as part of their strategy for for doing winery production? wine production?
Brad Warner 34:09
So we always recommend to new startup wineries or actually even existing wineries. You know, we’re here to help you find the best the right equipment for your winery. Okay. If you you know, tank sizes sometimes even can be complicated for a winery because they’ll say well, you know, I don’t think I’m going to use a 500 gallon tank all the time. But then how do i How’s my 500 gallon lot? And so we say you know, rent this tank, try it out, see if it works for you. If it doesn’t, then you can go to the next size larger tank. Or, you know, you can buy this 500 or by 550 gallon tank so we help wineries. A lot of times just start up wineries, you know under Understand what equipment they both need and don’t need, by renting equipment.
Lisa Warner 35:06
The other thing that we try to do is send out emails at certain times of the year and say, Hey, we like for instance, we’ll send one out in December, you know, we know you just came off harvest. But it’s not too soon to think about bottling. And if you know what your bottling schedule is, and you know, for instance, that your mobile bottler doesn’t have large format, Corkers, you think you’re going to need them, call us now. And let’s get a reservation on the books. Same thing with harvest, our harvest tank rentals, you know, we ask people to basically wrap up their commitment in May, to at least get that in the book, so that that is reserved for them. The nice thing about rentals, like Brad said is you get a chance to try things out. The other thing is, is if someone is in a situation where they have limited space rentals is a fantastic idea. Because you can use the equipment, whether it’s a tank or a filter, or whatever, especially if it’s something you’re only going to use a few times a year, we take care of the maintenance, you get to rent it, and then it goes away, you don’t have to worry about storing it, you don’t have to worry about maintaining it. Because there’s costs associated with that, we’re here so that people can concentrate on the things that they want to concentrate on. And we can kind of take the pressure off of them, you know, for these other types of things,
Drew Hendricks 36:40
I can really see that like space is such a premium, wetlands a premium, I mean, if why rent the land, if you can just kind of use the equipment and get it back. Any break a point that I kind of thought about was, you know, larger wineries, they’ve got just any, we’re talking about tank sizes, they’ve got such big equipment, that if they ever wanted to kind of experiment in some micro production for their wine clubs, or something like that, I would think that a rental, a rental system will be great for that.
Lisa Warner 37:09
Right. And for this upcoming year, what we anticipate with people having had perhaps a smaller vintage of 2020 wines, they absolutely may not have smaller takes for them for bottling, and we can absolutely help as they start taking that out of barrel inside what they want to bottle, you know, they may only need a 750 gallon tank or a 1500 gallon tank, you know, and we, we have those. And so it’s been interesting, you know, between the pandemic and and fires and things like that we have found fit for one reason or another and some of them unexpected people, there’s a need to have things on a temporary basis, and not make the big commitment. It’s also convenient, I think for winemakers and production people, you know, if you just have an operating cost and you need something short time, it doesn’t need to be a CapEx project. So if you want to get something done, you know, especially in larger wineries, capex, you know, it could be 22 months out before you get approval. This way, you can just get it in get what you need to get done, done and and move forward. And we see that especially with our large corporate clients. It’s a very good point. Yeah.
Drew Hendricks 38:50
I know you guys are kind of expanding, expanding out of the valley and increasing your footprint where what are the new areas that you’re looking to
Brad Warner 38:58
do business in? Well, we really want to do more in the foothills.
Lisa Warner 39:07
Eldorado, yeah, Eldorado and then Livermore Livermore, for sure. We’re in San Jose. And we’ve expanded we’re doing we have been doing more than wineries. We’re helping cider producers booming right now. Yeah. All kinds of beverage producers. We have bright tanks available for rent. And if demand continues to increase for that we’ll increase equipment for that. We’re looking at getting bottling equipment for these little guys. What is that guy? Well, you know, with more people, well actually the guy on there is Brad, kind of funny. But with the big boys people doing more virtual tastings and maybe customers don’t want to buy, you know, a 750. And then the weight of shipping it and all that, you know, you can decant into these small bottles, and get these out to your consumers for tasting. So we’re looking at adding that equipment, we’re going to Italy next year, to see if we can work with some of our manufacturers to modify the equipment to better suit the needs of the rental market. So we’re constantly looking to grow the business. The reason we have to keep it in Northern California, and this is really important to us is everything that it goes out of here is inspected, it’s checked to make sure it worked. But sometimes things happen, and that someone’s asset, their wine, and we need to be close enough to be able to solve the problem. So that’s why we can’t go out of state. And that’s why we can’t go to Southern California,
Drew Hendricks 40:59
there’s a lot of wisdom in that knowing, knowing that you controlling your growth to the point that you can keep that quality to keep that kind of customer service, keep that keep the quality control there.
Lisa Warner 41:13
Yeah. The other thing that we are, continue to grow in is that they call Brad, the filtration whisperer,
Drew Hendricks 41:22
yes, I wanted to get
Lisa Warner 41:25
it so we rent filtration equipment, but they get all your knowledge. With that you want to talk about that a
Brad Warner 41:33
little bit. Sure. So filtration is, is something that I’m passionate about. And I’ve done physically for a long while at BB manavi winery, and actually trials group as well. And filtration of a wine to me is is very important. I think it’s a natural process. So today, filtration is kind of looked at as a bad thing to do to wines. And
Drew Hendricks 42:07
because it’s easier to type unfined unfiltered on it the next filter.
Brad Warner 42:11
Well, there’s lots you can do crossflow crossflow, processing to and that’s not really a filtration, but kind of a filtration, that filtration really to the medium that that we use a rework recommend it’s cellulose, and it does take bacteria and yeast out of the wines. And it provides your bottle with longer shelf life. So it’s not a short term solution, that’s a long term solution for for your bottle life. Filtration isn’t for all wines. And like you said, you know, a lot of people would like to put on filtered on there. But from my experience, a lot of times on filtered wines shelf life is very short. Because are there are different yeasts and bacteria that will continue to grow in wines even after they’re in the bottle. And, you know, there are other things that are used for bottling too, that will will slow down the growth of these bacteria and yeast, but they’re not necessarily the best for, you know, wine quality, I don’t feel. So when people ask me about filtration, they won’t know what filter medium to use, because there’s all different types of microns. And it can be confusing. So I usually ask them to bring me a sample is to small little sample tube of their wine. And I asked them a little bit about their wine winemakers, you know are pretty are they’re kind of like chefs. They’re pretty private. And and I understand. They don’t want to say too much. But I do need to ask them a few questions about it. And then they’ll they’re always curious to say, Well, how do you analyze it? Or who do you send it to? What do you what do you look at so about that time? I pull my flashlight on my back pocket and look at the clarity of the line? And, you know, I could see them shaking their head thinking, Oh, my golly, what have I got myself into? But we have a lot of repeat customers sort
Drew Hendricks 44:15
of working imagine? What’s the biggest mistake people make with filtration. I mean, it’s gotten a bad name in different times.
Brad Warner 44:24
The biggest mistake people make about filtration is not understanding what micron to use for filtering.
Drew Hendricks 44:31
And the results are what’s the result of using the wrong micron.
Brad Warner 44:34
It’s terrible. It’s terrible.
Lisa Warner 44:37
It’s terrible to your pocketbook. First of all,
Brad Warner 44:40
well, you spent a lot of money on trying to filter the wine still hazy. So yeah, it’s in a good again. We’re here to be a resource not we’re not passing judgment on anyone. You can ask any questions you’d like. You can take take our advice and either use it or not use it, it’s okay. But we want to give you the best advice possible for filtration. And we want you to use the minimal amount of filters, you need to save money, but also to save your product too. Because, you know, filtering wines, if you’re using the wrong micron, can really beat up your wines, and not give you favorable results. So we want to offer the right microns to use, and also the sequence to use them in.
Lisa Warner 45:33
And it’s a big deal, too.
Drew Hendricks 45:36
It’s really an art.
Lisa Warner 45:38
Well, and I think too, when you’re approaching it, from the perspective, we, we want you to do what’s best for your wine, we want to help you make the best wine that that you possibly can, I mean, sometimes we get calls from customers, and we’re not able to fill their need, and we train our team on this to that most important thing is the customers want. And if we can’t help them, then achieve that, then then we need to give them a resource, you know, where, where they can get what they need. And and sometimes, you know, we can’t, and that’s okay. And we get repeat customers then too, because people will always remember how you treated them. And and that’s, that’s, that’s the basis for our whole business right there. Really?
Drew Hendricks 46:32
That’s fantastic. Now, where can people is we’re kind of wrapping down here? Where can people find out more about Rutherford Equipment Rental and you Brand and Lisa, well,
Lisa Warner 46:40
our new website does a great job. Thank you so much, Drew, I mean, what you did for us, with our website, I thought as a business to business, especially in the wine industry. And you know, Brad and I also have a small commercial winery. My thought was, you know, people just want to get the tank and the price, and they want to make the call and move on. But you’ve really helped us tell the story. And about, you know, why people should choose us as their vendor and, and why it’s important and the points of differentiation. But all of that is that our website, Rutherfordrental.com. And people can do an inquiry request. The other thing about our website is, is that all our pricing is online. We feel that, you know, especially for startups, and things like that, maybe our customers need that information outside of our business hours. And we don’t want that to be a barrier to them getting what they need. So everything is there. The only thing that we do not publish is filter pricing. Because it’s so far, let’s all head changing all the time. But we’re here Monday through Friday from 8am 430, the emails, the phones, all the things I think we’re pretty easy, easy to get ahold of. And we always try to pick up the phone. We’re old school that way. So yeah.
Drew Hendricks 48:15
Thank you so much, guys for joining with me. I know we’re doing this right during harvest. So I am I am honored that you guys took the time out today to talk with us. And thank you so much.
Lisa Warner 48:26
Thank you Drew. We really really enjoyed talking to you. Thanks. Alright, have a great day. All right, you
too. Bye. Thanks for listening to the Legends Behind the Craft podcast. We’ll see you again next time and be sure to click Subscribe to get future episodes.