Wine Importer Avoids Wildfire Disaster

This wine import services company found itself at the mercy of the California wildfires. Faced with disaster, they needed a solution that would allow their business to continue to operate.


The company was founded in 1996 and has become the premier provider of national wine import services in the United States. Their team works in close partnership with the sales and marketing departments of foreign and domestic wineries to distribute fine wines to wholesalers in all 50 states. The organization works strategically with its portfolio of partners to provide a cost-effective, integrated logistics platform, along with an efficient system to ensure procedural integrity and compliance supporting foreign wineries in their efforts to achieve success in a highly competitive market.


This company employs 16 employees who work on opposite coasts; eight staff in Portland, ME, and eight in Sausalito, CA. In 2019, the company became one of the many businesses affected by the wildfires happening across the state of California. These fires forced the regional power company and gas providers to shut down large sections of the power grid throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. This unexpected turn of events left half of the organization without the ability to access their core business application, leaving them struggling to maintain day-to-day business operations.

Desperate for a lifeline, its President phoned his Account Manager at Systems Engineering to see if they could keep the state’s disaster from becoming their disaster.


For the past six years, the winter importer has hosted its corporate server, storage, and application resources in Microsoft Azure, an enterprise cloud platform. This resource model affords them the ability to integrate business operations between the two offices, across time zones, with great flexibility and scalability. Despite its cloud-based resource model, the organization was still dependent on persistent internet connections to access all corporate technology resources. Without electricity or the internet, the business was grinding to a halt.

Understanding the wine importer’s network, Systems Engineering found a quick solution; the company would be able to continue business operations utilizing Windows 10 Multi-Session Virtual Desktop hosted and delivered right from within the Microsoft Azure platform.

Due to the severity of the outage and the unpredictable nature of the situation, Systems Engineering and the wine importer were unable to dictate which devices the company’s employees would be using or what type of internet connection they might have access to. However, Microsoft’s Windows 10 Virtual Desktop solution avoided these roadblocks and provided the organization with a secure, alternative way to keep business operations going during the state’s disaster.


In just 24 hours, Systems Engineering was able to successfully provision Windows 10 Virtual Desktop resources in the organization’s Azure environment, configure a gold Windows 10 image equipped with custom logistics application, and successfully publish brand new, fully-functional Windows 10 sessions to all eight of their California employees.

Through a mix of mobile hotspots, internet cafés, and collaborative hard work, their employees found the available devices and internet connections and promptly got back to business.

“The team at Systems Engineering was nothing short of perfect. They got our PCs up and running in Azure and our network and operating software installed. We simply logged in through any browser, and we were working. Now that the system is in place, we are confident that we are “disaster ready,” and at a very low cost.

I would say their kind of innovative and agile thinking, coupled with their responsiveness, is why we partnered with Systems Engineering. They enhance our competitive edge which helps us maintain our position as a premier wine importer in the United States. For a small company like ours, that is something special.”

Wine Importer President