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How Philadelphia's First Urban Winery Uses HeavyConnect

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HeavyConnect Team
Francesca Galarus and Nicholas Ducos at Mural City Cellars

Mural City Cellars is a locally-focused urban winery in Philadelphia that opened its doors this year. Founders Francesca Galarus and Nicholas Ducos are passionate about creating and sharing high-quality wine sourced from small, local growers just outside the city. We are lucky enough to have Francesca on the HeavyConnect team as our Product & Growth Specialist. She shared a bit about how she and Nicholas use HeavyConnect to streamline operations for Mural City Cellars.

They started planning their business in 2016 and finally opened their doors this January to a weekend of lines out the door. Even with COVID-19 guidelines in place, visitors could still enjoy the ambiance, sample wines, and take their favorite bottles home. They offer a Community Supported Winery membership where 15% of the fees go back to the community to support neighborhood initiatives and the Mural Arts Project. They plan to start producing wine in their on-site production space starting this year. Read the full story of Mural City Cellars here.

Wine Bottles

Making it work with paper

Before they started using HeavyConnect, Francesca would take notes, take pictures of those notes, and then scroll back through her photo library to find the information she needed. For other documentation she would search through transactions in her bank account or dig through old emails.

“We were just writing everything down.”

They would keep track of wine yields on paper and look at checks later to see how much they spent on grapes. It worked, but it wasn’t a system that would allow them to scale their operation. 

Winery Interior

Switching to digital

Naturally, Francesca thought of how they might be able to use HeavyConnect to lighten the burden of recordkeeping. Even as a 2-person operation she still saw potential to run things more efficiently.

Now Nicholas and Francesca fill out reports and store documents digitally. Here’s how they use HeavyConnect:

Tracking Harvest: First, they use the app to track harvest. From the 2019 harvest season they have dates, varietals, locations, weights, and prices for the grapes they purchased. Francesca says that having access to historical data will help them plan their budget and make informed purchasing decisions in the future. Agriculture traceability software is on the rise to help support first-mile traceability initiatives.

Tracking Production: They have another report set up that lets them track their bottling yields. For each case produced they have the details of what went into it. They can even add notes about their processes that they might not remember by the time the next season comes around. They can also include photos like pictures of the labels to each completed report.

"We tracked yields at harvest and then the amount bottled from those yields. So we can see the comparison of how many cases resulted from each ton of grapes.” 

Keeping Documents Accessible: They use the “Binders” feature as digital storage for all sorts of documents. They keep licenses, legal documents, their lease, the winery’s logo, photos for social media, and more in their account. Instead of scrolling through her phone’s photo album or email archives, Francesca can log in to her HeavyConnect dashboard on any computer and pull up these documents whenever they are needed.

Staying ahead of regulations: Mural City Cellars will need to keep a FSMA binder documenting processes for making different types of wine and their sanitation practices. When regulations change, they will be able to update their reports quickly and stay in compliance.

Seeing the big picture with analytics: In the future Francesca and Nicholas are considering using the business intelligence dashboard add-on with their HeavyConnect Inspector account. With this addition, they will be able to do more in-depth tracking of their profits and costs. Investors often ask for information like per bottle production cost and it would be easy to deliver that information to them this way.

On the way up

If lines out the door, multiple news articles, and enthusiastic visitors are any indication, Mural City Cellars is going to be big. We’re excited to watch them grow and see how they adapt the HeavyConnect platform to their unique digital workflows. Follow along with Francesca and Nicholas on Instagram.


Francesca has been enthusiastic about sharing how Mural City Cellars uses HeavyConnect with others in the industry. Even though they are an urban winery with different needs than a large operation that owns vineyards, warehouses, and bottling facilities, there are similar purposes that HeavyConnect can serve.

Want to learn how HeavyConnect can be customized to your operation’s unique needs? Book a live demo with our team or give us a call at (833) 722-5727.

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