Dennis Horton believes that the right grapes planted in the right climate can produce outstanding, world-class wines. And nearly 20 years ago he set out in Gordonsville, Virginia to prove that Virginia could compete with the best wines the world over.
Tucked in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains near historic Charlottesville, Horton Vineyards is an old-world Tudor winery where visitors can tour vineyards and underground stone cellars, attend events including an annual pig roast, and sample up to 40 kinds of wine. Over the years, Horton, a viticulturist, or expert in the cultivation of grapes, has successfully introduced grapes such as Viognier, Norton, and Cabernet Franc to the state of Virginia.
Just as the viticulturist believes in the right grapes and climate, he believes in the right tools to run his business. A key part of that business takes place in the vaulted-ceiling tasting room where visitors sniff, swirl, and sip the latest vintages, and purchase wines and accessories. A typical Saturday brings about 450 visitors, often couples, which can result in more than 250 transactions that need to be conducted quickly and efficiently.
Located in an area that has no access to landline broadband services, Horton started out by using dial-up Internet service, but soon found it inadequate. “It was so slow we actually had people walk away from the cash register,” said Horton. “It was miserable.”
Then the vineyard signed up for HughesNet® satellite broadband service for its connection to the world. “The difference was amazing. HughesNet streamlined our whole system,” said Horton. “We can process transactions 10 times faster.”
“I can’t stress enough the importance of fast broadband service to handle transactions,” added Horton. “Thirty seconds may not seem very long until you’re the one who wants to buy something and there are 10 people waiting in line. With HughesNet, it takes just a few seconds and we’re on to the next customer.”
As an added bonus, closing out the pointof- sale system at night, which previously consumed up to 30 minutes of staff time, now takes just three or four minutes to complete.
The vineyard also uses its HughesNet service for day-to-day tasks such as shipping, email marketing to nearly 6,000 customers, inventory, and communications with manufacturers and suppliers. But for Horton, the most important thing is the credit card transactions. “We needed to solve the credit card transaction problem—and got all these other goodies to go along with it.”
Horton recently upgraded to the HN9000 modem, gaining even higher speed and performance. “Even with the recent rainstorms, we haven’t had a glitch with the system,” said Horton. “I don’t know how businesses in rural areas survive without HughesNet. It’s the most efficient way I’ve ever had to conduct my transactions.”
That’s why Horton relies on his HughesNet satellite broadband service as the right solution to take care of his broadband needs—while he focuses on the right grapes and the right conditions to produce his world-class, award-winning wines.