Sweet Success


  • Rebecca J. Oatsvall Meredith College
  • M. Tony Bledsoe Meredith College


family business, human resource management, succession planning, winery industry


Rose Hill, located in Duplin County, North Carolina, would be an unremarkable small town in the rural south if it wasn't the home of Duplin Winery. For almost forty years, the Fussell family has taken the sweet Muscatine grapes that thrive in hot and humid eastern North Carolina and turned them into wine that is sweet in both taste and affordability. The story of three generations of Fussells creating, managing, and sustaining a family business is of interest not only as a success story, but also as an opportunity to evaluate opportunities for determining where the family business may go in the future.

From its inception, any organization must face the continuous and demanding challenges of at least two critical factors; managing and sustaining the enterprise. This case offers undergraduate and graduate students a setting in which to apply decision-making and analytical tools, identifying and determining courses of actions that lead to more efficient and effective use human and nonhuman resources.