Form 10-K Gaucho Group Holdings, For: Dec 31

April 12, 2021 5:37 PM EDT

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UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549

 

FORM 10-K

 

(Mark one)

 

[X] ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

 

For the Fiscal Year Ended December 31, 2020

 

[  ] TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

 

For the transition period from ________________ to ________________

 

Commission file number: 000-55209

 

Gaucho Group Holdings, Inc.

(Exact Name of Registrant as Specified in Its Charter)

 

Delaware   52-2158952

(State or Other Jurisdiction

of Incorporation or Organization)

 

(I.R.S. Employer

Identification No.)

     
1445 16th Street, Suite 403, Miami Beach, Florida   33139
(Address of Principal Executive Offices)   (Zip Code)

 

(212) 739-7700

(Registrant’s telephone number, including area code)

 

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act: N/A

 

Title of each class   Trading Symbol(s)   Name of each exchange on which registered
Common Stock    VINO    The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC

 

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act:

 

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes [  ] No [X]

 

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act. Yes [  ] No [X]

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes [X] No [  ]

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files). Yes [X] No [  ]

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, or a smaller reporting company. See definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer”, “smaller reporting company” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act. (Check one):

 

  Large accelerated filer [  ]   Accelerated filer [  ]
  Non-accelerated filer [X]   Smaller reporting company [X]
      Emerging growth company [X]

 

If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. [  ]

 

Indicate by the check mark whether the registration has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report. [  ]

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act): Yes [  ] No [X]

 

The aggregate market value of the voting and non-voting common equity held by non-affiliates (4,005,517 shares, adjusted for the Company’s 15:1 reverse stock split, and the conversion of all Series B Convertible Preferred Stock, each of which were effective February 16, 2021) computed by reference to the price at which the common equity was last sold as of June 30, 2020, the last business day of the registrant’s most recently completed second fiscal quarter ($6.00), was $24,031,901. Solely for the purposes of this calculation, shares held by directors, executive officers and 10% owners of the registrant have been excluded. Such exclusion should not be deemed a determination or an admission by the registrant that such individuals are, in fact, affiliates of the registrant.

 

As of April 12, 2021, there were 7,475,758 shares of the registrant’s common stock outstanding.

 

 

 

 
 

 

INDEX

 

Forward Looking Statements

 

Part I    
Item 1. Business 5
Item 1A Risk Factors 23
Item 1B Unresolved Staff Comments 44
Item 2 Properties 44
Item 3 Legal Proceedings 44
Item 4 Mine Safety Disclosures 44
     
Part II    
Item 5 Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities 45
Item 6 Selected Financial Data 48
Item 7 Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations 49
Item 7A Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk 57
Item 8 Financial Statements and Supplementary Data 57
Item 9 Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosures 57
Item 9A Controls and Procedures 57
Item 9B Other Information 58
     
Part III    
Item 10 Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance 59
Item 11 Executive Compensation 66
Item 12 Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters 70
Item 13 Certain Relationships and Related Transactions and Director Independence 71
Item 14 Principal Accountant Fees and Services 73
     
Part IV    
Item 15 Exhibits and Financial Statements Schedules 74
Item 16 Summary of Form 10-K 75
Signatures   76

 

2
 

 

PART I

 

Certain statements included or incorporated by reference in this annual report constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of applicable securities laws. All statements contained in this annual report that are not clearly historical in nature are forward-looking, and the words “anticipate”, “believe”, “continue”, “expect”, “estimate”, “intend”, “may”, “plan”, “will”, “shall” and other similar expressions are generally intended to identify forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”) and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”). All forward-looking statements are based on our beliefs and assumptions based on information available at the time the assumption was made. These forward-looking statements are not based on historical facts but on management’s expectations regarding future growth, results of operations, performance, future capital and other expenditures (including the amount, nature and sources of funding thereof), competitive advantages, business prospects and opportunities. Forward-looking statements involve significant known and unknown risks, uncertainties, assumptions and other factors that may cause our actual results, levels of activity, performance or achievements to differ materially from those implied by forward-looking statements. These factors should be considered carefully and prospective investors should not place undue reliance on the forward-looking statements. Although the forward-looking statements contained in this annual report or incorporated by reference herein are based upon what management believes to be reasonable assumptions, there is no assurance that actual results will be consistent with these forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are made as of the date of this annual report or as of the date specified in the documents incorporated by reference herein, as the case may be. Important factors that could cause such differences include, but are not limited to:

 

the uncertainties associated with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, including, but not limited to uncertainties surrounding the duration of the pandemic, government orders and travel restrictions, and the effect on the global economy and consumer spending;
the risks and additional expenses associated with international operations and operations in a country (Argentina) which has had significantly high inflation in the past;
the uncertainties raised by a fluid political situation and fundamental policy changes that could be affected by presidential elections;
the risks associated with a business that has never been profitable, whose business model has been restructured from time to time, and which continues to have and has significant working capital needs;
the possibility of external economic and political factors preventing or delaying the acquisition, development or expansion of real estate projects, or adversely affecting consumer interest in our real estate offerings;
changes in external market factors, as they relate to our emerging e-commerce business;
changes in the overall performance of the industries in which our various business units operate;
changes in business strategies that could be necessitated by market developments as well as economic and political considerations;
possible inability to execute the Company’s business strategies due to industry changes or general changes in the economy generally;
changes in productivity and reliability of third parties, counterparties, joint venturers, suppliers or contractors; and
the success of competitors and the emergence of new competitors.

 

Although we believe that the expectations reflected in the forward-looking statements are reasonable, we cannot guarantee future results, levels of activity or performance. You should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements contained in this annual report.

 

We undertake no obligation to update any forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date on which such statements were made or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events, except as may be required by applicable securities laws.

 

In evaluating the Company, its business and any investment in the Company, readers should carefully consider the following factors:

 

Risk Factors Summary

 

  We face significant business disruption and related risks resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, which could have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operations, including, but not limited to, the closure of the Algodon Mansion, operated by our indirectly owned Argentinian subsidiary, The Algodon - Recoleta S.R.L. (“TAR”), and the disruption of the operations of the Algodon Wine Estates, operated by our indirectly owned Argentinian subsidiary, Algodon Wine Estates S.R.L. (“SWE”).

 

3
 

 

  Due to the economic hardships presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, we obtained a loan from the Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP Loan”) from the U.S. Small Business Administration (“SBA”) pursuant to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the “CARES Act”). Although the SBA forgave the PPP Loan in full on March 26, 2021, we may not be entitled to forgiveness under state law for the PPP Loan which could negatively impact our cash flow.
  Economic and political instability in Argentina may adversely and materially affect our business, results of operations and financial condition.
  Argentina’s economy may not support foreign investment or our business.
  The Company is exposed to the risk of changes in foreign exchange rates.
  The stability of the Argentine banking system is uncertain.
  Government measures to preempt or respond to social unrest may adversely affect the Argentine economy and our business.
  We are exposed to risks in relation to compliance with anti-corruption and anti-bribery laws and regulations overseas and in the U.S. Although we have internal policies and procedures designed to ensure compliance with applicable anti-corruption and anti-bribery laws and regulations, there can be no assurance that such policies and procedures will be sufficient.
  The real estate market is uncertain in Argentina and the investment in Argentine real property is subject to economic and political risks.
  There are limitations on the ability of foreign persons to own Argentinian real property.
  Our business is subject to extensive domestic and foreign regulation, including regulations and laws imposed by the U.S. and Argentine governments, and additional regulations may be imposed in the future.
  There is limited public information about real estate in Argentina.
  The Company may be subject to certain losses that are not covered by insurance.
  Historically, the Company’s hotel incurs overhead costs higher than the total gross margin.
  The profitability of Algodon Wine Estates operated by SWE will depend on consumer demand for leisure and entertainment.
  Development of the Company’s projects will proceed in phases and is subject to unpredictability in costs and expenses.
  Climate change, or legal, regulatory or market measures to address climate change, may negatively affect our business, operations or financial performance, and water scarcity or poor water quality could negatively impact our production costs and capacity.
  Various diseases, pests, contamination, certain weather conditions, and natural disasters may negatively affect our business, operations or financial performance, including the business, operations or financial performance of SWE relating to the operation of the Algodon Wine Estates.
  GGI has no significant operating history and no revenue and we may not recognize any revenue from the Gaucho – Buenos Aires™ line of business in the future.
  The markets in which we operate, and which plan to operate in are highly competitive, and such competition could cause our business to be unsuccessful.
  Our business is subject to risks associated with importing products, and the imposition of additional duties and any changes to international trade agreements could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.
  We may not be able to protect our intellectual property rights, which may cause us to incur significant costs.
  GGI is only in the beginning stages of its advertising campaign.
  Labor laws and regulations may adversely affect the Company.
  Insiders continue to have substantial control over the Company.
  The loss of our Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer could adversely affect the Company’s businesses.
  Revenues are currently insufficient to pay operating expenses and costs which may result in the inability to execute the Company’s business concept.
  The Company is dependent upon additional financing which it may not be able to secure in the future.
  Our level of debt may adversely affect our operations and our ability to pay our debt as it becomes due.
  Our financial controls and procedures may not be sufficient to accurately or timely report our financial condition or results of operations, which may adversely affect investor confidence in us and, as a result, the value of our common stock.
  We are an “emerging growth company” and our election of reduced reporting requirements applicable to emerging growth companies may make our common stock less attractive to investors.
  Although we qualify as an emerging growth company, we also qualify as a smaller reporting company and under the smaller reporting company rules we are subject to scaled disclosure requirements that may make it more challenging for investors to analyze our results of operations and financial prospects.
  Raising additional funds through debt or equity financing could be dilutive and may cause the market price of our common stock to decline. We still may need to raise additional funding which may not be available on acceptable terms, or at all. Failure to obtain additional capital may force us to delay, limit, or terminate our product development efforts or other operations.
  We cannot assure you that the market price of our common stock will remain high enough to comply with Nasdaq’s ongoing listing requirements.
  You may experience immediate and substantial dilution in the book value per share of the units you purchase.

 

Please see “Risk Factors” beginning on page 23 for more details.

 

4
 

 

Implications of Being an Emerging Growth Company

 

We qualify as an “emerging growth company” as defined in the JOBS Act. For so long as we remain an emerging growth company, we are permitted and currently intend to rely on the following provisions of the JOBS Act that contain exceptions from disclosure and other requirements that otherwise are applicable to companies that conduct initial public offerings and file periodic reports with the SEC. These provisions include, but are not limited to:

 

  being permitted to present only two years of audited financial statements in this prospectus and only two years of related “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” in our periodic reports and registration statements, including this prospectus;
     
  not being required to comply with the auditor attestation requirements of Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (“SOX”);
     
  reduced disclosure obligations regarding executive compensation in our periodic reports, proxy statements and registration statements, including in this prospectus; and
     
  exemptions from the requirements of holding a nonbinding advisory vote on executive compensation and stockholder approval of any golden parachute payments not previously approved.

 

We will remain an emerging growth company until:

 

  the first to occur of the last day of the fiscal year (i) that follows February 19, 2026, (ii) in which we have total annual gross revenue of at least $1.07 billion or (iii) in which we are deemed to be a “large accelerated filer,” as defined in the Exchange Act, which means the market value of our common stock that is held by non-affiliates exceeds $700 million as of the end of that year’s second fiscal quarter; or
     
  if it occurs before any of the foregoing dates, the date on which we have issued more than $1 billion in non-convertible debt over a three-year period.

 

We have elected to take advantage of certain of the reduced disclosure obligations in this prospectus and may elect to take advantage of other reduced reporting requirements in our future filings with the SEC. As a result, the information that we provide to our stockholders may be different than what you might receive from other public reporting companies in which you hold equity interests.

 

We have elected to avail ourselves of the provision of the JOBS Act that permits emerging growth companies to take advantage of an extended transition period to comply with new or revised accounting standards until those standards apply to private companies. As a result, we will not be subject to new or revised accounting standards at the same time as other public companies that are not emerging growth companies.

 

For additional information, see the section titled “Risk Factors — Risks of being an Emerging Growth Company — We are an “emerging growth company” and the reduced disclosure requirements applicable to emerging growth companies may make our common stock less attractive to investors.

 

ITEM 1. BUSINESS

 

 

Recent Business Developments

 

  Due to COVID-19, temporary closure of our hotel, restaurant, winery operations, and golf and tennis operations. Subsequent reopening of the Algodon Mansion as of November 11, 2020 and recently our winery and golf and tennis facilities with COVID-19 measures implemented.
  Also due to COVID-19, construction on homes was temporarily halted from March to September but has resumed.
 

As of March 20, 2021, international tourism by foreign residents, except those foreign residents with direct family contact with an Argentinian, remains prohibited through April 9, 2021.

  Reduced expenses by early termination of our office lease at 135 Fifth Avenue in New York City.

 

5
 

 

  On May 6, 2020, entered into a PPP Loan from the SBA pursuant to the Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”). On March 26, 2021, the SBA forgave the PPP Loan in full.
  In November 2020, hired a communications agency, Skoog Co., to provide exposure to all of our brands.
  In December 2020, the independent members of our Board approved an extension to our President and CEO’s employment agreement to expire on June 30, 2021. Please see “Executive Compensation” for additional information.
  In January 2021, Wine Enthusiast rated and reviewed our Algodon 2012 PIMA Red Blend Mendoza and awarded it 91 points.
  On February 14, 2021, the Board approved a reverse stock split of common shares of the Company, par value of $0.01 per share, wherein each stockholder received one common share in exchange for each fifteen common shares previously held (the 15:1 reverse stock split, the “Reverse Split”).
  On February 16, 2021, the Company effected its Reverse Stock Split and uplisted its shares to Nasdaq under the symbol “VINO,” with trading commencing on February 17, 2021.
  On February 19, 2021, the Company sold and issued an aggregate of 1,333,334 shares of common stock and 1,533,333 warrants, for approximate gross proceeds of $8.0 million pursuant to a Form S-1 registration statement, before deducting underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses, and issued the representative of such underwriters a common stock purchase warrant exercisable for up to 15,333 shares of common stock.
  On March 26, 2021, the Company received notice that the SBA has forgiven the PPP Loan in full. However, the Company may be subject to tax on the forgiveness under state law.
  On April 7, 2021, the Company paid a total of $58,001 to Mr. Mathis in connection with his voluntarily deferred compensation between March 13, 2020 and August 21, 2020.
  On April 8, 2021, the Company’s subsidiary, Gaucho Group, Inc., entered into a seven-year lease for retail space located in Miami, Florida to sell its Gaucho – Buenos Aires™ products.

 

For a more thorough discussion of the Company’s business, see “Business” on page 5 and “Recent Developments and Trends” on page 50.

 

Company Overview

 

Gaucho Group Holdings, Inc. (the “Company”) was incorporated on April 5, 1999. Effective October 1, 2018, the Company changed its name from Algodon Wines & Luxury Development, Inc. to Algodon Group, Inc., and effective March 11, 2019, the Company changed its name from Algodon Group, Inc. to Gaucho Group Holdings, Inc. (“GGH”). Through its wholly-owned subsidiaries, GGH invests in, develops and operates real estate projects in Argentina. GGH operates a hotel, golf and tennis resort, vineyard and producing winery in addition to developing residential lots located near the resort. In 2016, GGH formed a new subsidiary, Gaucho Group, Inc. and in 2018, established an e-commerce platform for the manufacture and sale of high-end fashion and accessories. The activities in Argentina are conducted through its operating entities: InvestProperty Group, LLC, Algodon Global Properties, LLC, The Algodon – Recoleta S.R.L, Algodon Properties II S.R.L., and Algodon Wine Estates S.R.L. Algodon distributes its wines in Europe under the name Algodon Wines (Europe). Most recently, the Company formed a wholly-owned subsidiary, Bacchus Collection, Inc. on March 20, 2020, which is still in the concept stage for the production of elegant wine and bar essentials.

 

GGH’s mission is to increase our scalability, diversify the Company’s assets, and minimize our political risk. We believe our goal of becoming the LVMH of South America (Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton) can help us to achieve that. While we continue making excellent wine, upgrading our rooms at the Algodon Mansion, and completing the infrastructure at the vineyard, our growth area is in e-commerce through Gaucho – Buenos Aires™ because of the potential for immediate revenues and growth/scale on a global basis. The Gaucho brand also diversifies our business outside of Argentina and helps insulate us from political risk. Together with our wines, these aspects of our business have the potential to insulate us from both the economic and political fluctuations in Argentina. However, we also refer to our Risk Factors on page 23 regarding the lack of revenues of the Gaucho—Buenos Aires™ brand and its ability to generate revenue in the future.

 

6
 

 

The below table provides an overview of GGH’s operating entities.

 

Entity Name   Abbreviation  

Jurisdiction &

Date of Formation

  Ownership   Business
Gaucho Group, Inc.   GGI  

Delaware,

September 12, 2016

  79% by GGH   Luxury fashion and leather accessories brand and e-commerce platform
                 
InvestProperty Group, LLC (“InvestProperty Group”)   IPG  

Delaware,

October 27, 2005

  100% by GGH   Real estate acquisition and management in Argentina
                 
Algodon Global Properties, LLC   AGP  

Delaware,

March 17, 2008

  100% by GGH   Holding company
                 
The Algodon - Recoleta S.R.L.   TAR  

Argentina,

September 29, 2006

  100% by GGH through IPG, AGP and APII   Hotel owner and operating entity in Buenos Aires
                 
Algodon Properties II S.R.L.   APII  

Argentina,

March 13, 2008

  100% by GGH through IPG and AGP   Holding company in Argentina
                 
Algodon Wine Estates S.R.L.   AWE  

Argentina,

July 16, 1998

  100% by GGH through IPG, AGP, APII and TAR   Resort complex including real estate development and wine making in Argentina; owns vineyard, hotel, restaurant, golf and tennis resort in San Rafael, Mendoza, Argentina

 

As noted above, Algodon Wine Estates S.R.L. Algodon distributes its wines in Europe under the name Algodon Wines (Europe). The previous entity acting as the Company’s wine distributor in Europe, Algodon Europe Ltd., was dissolved on August 13, 2019. In addition, the Company formed a wholly-owned subsidiary, Bacchus Collection, Inc. on March 20, 2020, which is not yet operational.

 

Gaucho - Buenos Aires™

 

 

Gaucho – Buenos Aires™ is a luxury leather goods and accessories brand, with a strategic focus on growing its e-commerce business, that is the result of more than a decade’s investment in Argentina’s heart and soul, featuring luxury products that merge the traditional Gaucho style with a modern twist, infused with uniqueness and modern Buenos Aires glamour. With Gaucho – Buenos Aires, GGH adds a high-end leather goods and accessories e-commerce sector to its collection of luxury assets. Our e-commerce platform is able to process and fulfill orders in the United States and internationally, and we believe this asset has the potential to achieve significant scale and add value to our company. Gaucho – Buenos Aires connects buyers with some of Argentina’s best creative talents that harness the country’s unique heritage and artisanship of products such as woven fabrics, leather goods and precious metal jewelry.

 

With Argentina’s recent re-engagement with importing and exporting, we believe that it is beginning to regain its status as a global cultural enclave. Once dubbed the “Paris of South America” for its exquisite Belle Époque style and entering what we believe will be a new golden age. We believe that evolving politics and tastes suggest the time is now for Buenos Aires to once again align itself with Milan, New York, Paris and London as a global fashion capital – and for Gaucho – Buenos Aires to become its ambassador. We believe there may be a sizeable appetite in the USA and beyond for our luxury products, such as fine leather goods, accessories and apparel, that deliver and reflect a unique and unmistakable Argentine point of view.

 

Seen in the intricate stitching of handmade leather, or the workmanship of an embossed belt buckle, the “Gaucho” style is a world-renowned symbol of Argentine craftsmanship. Though rooted in the traditions of Argentine culture, Gaucho – Buenos Aires intends to become a brand in which Argentine luxury finds its contemporary expression: merging the traditional Gaucho style with a modern twist, infused with uniqueness and modern Buenos Aires glamour.

 

7
 

 

We believe that Gaucho – Buenos Aires reflects the very spirit of Argentina – its grand history and its revival as a global center of luxury. Our goal is to reintroduce the world to the grandeurs of the city’s elegant past, intertwined with an altogether deeper cultural connection: the strength, honor and integrity of the Gaucho.

 

On September 12, 2019, during New York Fashion Week, Gaucho – Buenos Aires had its U.S. debut and press launch.

 

Most recently in April 2021, GGI entered into a seven-year lease for retail space located at 112 N.E. 41st Street, Suite 106, in Miami, Florida to sell its Gaucho – Buenos Aires™ products.

 

Our Products

 

GGI’s Gaucho – Buenos Aires™ primarily sells what Argentina is well known for: leather goods and accessories, all defining the style, quality, and uniqueness of Argentina.

 

Gaucho – Buenos Aires’s fully optimized e-commerce platform (www.gauchobuenosaires.com) offers a commercial line of designer clothing, with an emphasis on leather goods accessories, including leather jackets, branded hoodies, t-shirts, polo shirts and ponchos. In the following 18 months, we also anticipate a strategic roll-out introducing other new products such as fragrances, a Gaucho Kids clothing line, Gaucho Casa (home goods), and Gaucho Residences as the natural evolution of the brand’s growth.

 

Blending the quality of a bygone era with what we believe to be a sophisticated, modern, global outlook, the brand’s handcrafted clothing and accessories herald the birth of what we hope will become Argentina’s finest designer label.

 

 

Fragrances: Homme (Men), Femme (Women), Vamos Sport (Unisex)

 

The fragrance collection of Gaucho – Buenos Aires™ was created by Firmenich, the world’s largest privately-owned company in the fragrance and flavor business. Founded in Geneva, Switzerland in 1895, it has created many of the world’s best-known perfumes that consumers the world over enjoy each day, including Giorgio Armani, Hugo Boss, Ralph Lauren, Kenzo, and Dolce & Gabbana. Its passion for smell and taste is at the heart of its success. It is renowned for its world-class research and creativity, as well as its thought leadership in sustainability and exceptional understanding of consumer trends. Each year, it invests 10% of its revenues in research and innovation, reflecting its continuous desire to understand, develop and distill the best that nature has to offer.

 

Gaucho – Buenos Aires has three fragrances ready for packaging, including a men’s fragrance Homme, a women’s fragrance Femme, and a unisex fragrance Vamos Sport.

 

8
 

 

Sales and Marketing Strategy / Competitive Edge

 

During the economic crisis in Argentina, iconic international fashion chains left the country. As scarcity is the mother of invention, this gave rise to local brands that made up for that absence. Despite the fact that, in our view, Argentina’s fashion scene is today thriving, the country lacks any international mainstream exposure. Argentina’s continuing challenges with inflation and unemployment have made it difficult for local labels to break into the global fashion landscape, and today there is not a single Argentine fashion brand that is a household name. We believe Gaucho – Buenos Aires has the ability to fill that void. Our intention is to become the leading fashion and leather accessories brand out of South America.

 

We have assembled a talented team who speak in the unique voice most representative of Argentina’s local fashion scene, and we believe we have the opportunity, the aptitude and the vision not only to successfully introduce this voice to the world’s fashion scene, but to become a major player in that landscape.

 

Our U.S.-based e-commerce website has been designed to deliver Argentine luxury goods to the U.S. marketplace and elsewhere around the globe. We believe the devaluation of the peso can have positive ramifications for the tourism industry (and Algodon’s hospitality businesses). Tourists from outside Argentina can spend more money at hotels, restaurants and other attractions with a favorable exchange rate. We intend to take advantage of the historic low and deep devaluation of the Argentine peso by producing many of our products and wine in Argentina, thereby paying for product and labor in pesos, we then intend to sell to consumers at a favorable exchange rate in USD to the U.S. and the world.

 

Currently, one of the few ways to buy Argentina goods is to travel there and buy local. We want to change that, and in a favorable economic and political climate, we seek to be in the forefront of opening Argentina’s luxury market to the millions of potential customers around the globe interested in luxury items from Argentina.

 

Our target market is upper and upper-middle class female and male millennials in urban areas of the United States and Europe. Millennials have the potential to become the largest spending generation in history, and with the popularity of midrange to high end fashion brands such as Gucci, Armani, Lululemon, and many others, we believe our millennial target market appreciates high quality clothing and accessories, and is willing to spend above the average market price for such quality items in the “affordable luxury” category.

 

Business Advisors

 

John I. Griffin, Board Advisor. Mr. Griffin is Chairman, President, Chief Executive Officer, and the sole shareholder of Maurice Pincoffs Company, Inc. headquartered in Houston, Texas USA. Pincoffs began product trading operations in 1880 and today specializes in international trade, marketing, and distribution of various products. Following 13 years of active and reserve duty, he retired from the United States Navy as Lieutenant Commander. Mr. Griffin was employed by Corning Glass Works where he was involved in plant management and international business activities and then worked outside of the United States for 13 years, first in Tokyo as President of Graco Japan K.K., a metal related manufacturing and marketing joint venture. This was followed by seven years in Paris as Vice President of Graco Inc. where he managed manufacturing and marketing companies throughout Europe as President Directeur General of Graco France S.A. and Fogautolube S.A. (France). Stationed in Brussels for two years, Mr. Griffin was President of Monroe Auto Equipment S.A. with manufacturing facilities in Belgium and Spain and marketing companies throughout Europe and the Middle East. With the acquisition of Maurice Pincoffs Company in 1978, he assumed his current position.

 

During his stay in Europe, Mr. Griffin was a partner in a Haut Medoc vineyard, Le Fournas Bernadotte. For several years Pincoffs was heavily involved in the wine import business as the third largest importer in Texas. Mr. Griffin served for a number of years as Founder and President of the American Institute for International Steel (Washington D.C.) and the American Institute for Imported Steel (New York City) as well as serving as a Director of the West Coast Metal Importers Association (Los Angeles). Active in the Greater Houston Partnership, Mr. Griffin was a Director of the World Trade Division and served as Chairman of the Africa Committee. He was a member of the Committee on Foreign Relations and the World Affairs Council of Houston, and a past Director of The Houston World Trade Association and the Armand Bayou Nature Center.

 

9
 

 

David Gilmour, Board Advisor. We believe that Mr. Gilmour is an ideal fit for our advisory board due to his shared values of product quality and philosophy, and his broad experience and successes; including having founded Fiji Water, the health & wellness products of Wakaya Perfection, as well as for cofounding with Peter Munk one of the largest gold companies in the world, Barrick Gold, and South Pacific Hotel Corporation, one of the largest hotel chains in the south pacific. Mr. Gilmour has also won multiple awards for his product packaging and designs. In the wake of the global pandemic, the world is looking more at health and wellness than ever before. With this in mind, Mr. Gilmour has taken a keen interest in the Company’s subsidiaries, including Algodon Wine Estates’ (www.algodonwineestates.com) wine, wellness, culinary and sport resort and e-commerce products, as well as its focus on promoting healthier lifestyles, wellness and rejuvenation of the mind, body and spirit. These values are strongly aligned with Mr. Gilmour’s own most recent venture of the organic wellness products of Wakaya Perfection, LLC, a purveyor of and nutritional products. As a health and wellness advocate, Mr. Gilmour’s Wakaya Perfection (www.wakaya.com) is a mission-driven wellness enterprise on the 2,200-acre island paradise of Wakaya in the Fiji archipelago which, due to its high-nutrient virgin volcanic soil, served as the brand’s very first location in the cultivation of its exclusive formula. Volcanic soil is hailed for its purity and multi-faceted rejuvenating properties that can naturally enhance the quality of lives. The brand’s production has since branched out to the main island of Fiji, as well as to Nicaragua, which possess the same high nutrient volcanic ash soil. The company continues to seek out the best volcanic ash soil in the world to continue cultivating products of the highest caliber and service global demand. Wakaya Perfection’s product line includes hand-cultivated organic ginger, turmeric, teas, and sea salts, all indigenous to the island of Wakaya. Wakaya Perfection seeks to create the world’s most powerful health and wellness commodities for the consumer of today seeking integrity in their product selection; from the quality of its source, to the soil it is grown in, and then on to the shelves. Wakaya Perfection products have been distributed through luxury hotels, resorts, fine-dining establishments and luxury department stores.

 

John Dunagan, Business Advisor. John Dunagan, a West Texas native, is an experienced professional in manufacturing and bottling industry. After finding success bottling with Coca-Cola, Mr. Dunagan traveled all over the United States, Europe and Asia, creating similarly focused manufacturing facilities for the drinks industry. John is now an investor and serves on the board of several companies in the Real Estate, Oil and Gas Exploration, and Defense industries. After receiving his degree from Harvard Business School, John joined the Peace Corps in Cali, Colombia, and shortly thereafter founded several companies across the country - among them Rica Rondo, a major meat processor. Between his first and second years at Harvard Business School Business School, he received a Rotary Foundation Fellowship to study at the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina. John received his Bachelor’s degree from University of Texas at Austin.

 

Juliano de Rossi, Creative Solutions Consultant. Juliano serves as a consultant providing valuable guidance to the GGI team, having significant experience in the high-end fashion world. We entered into an oral consulting contract with Juliano on an independent contractor basis in July 2017 for project-based work. The amount paid to Juliano is not considered material because of the project-by-project basis. He currently serves as Creative Solutions Consultant to the Net-a-Porter Group. De Rossi has 15 years’ experience in marketing and advertising for global brands and luxury retailers. He has resided in London for the past five years, working in marketing, content production and brand partnership campaigns for MatchesFashion.com and at the YOOX Net-a-Porter Group where he was responsible for leading the in-house creative solutions (design and production teams) managing multiple content productions served across all YOOX Net-a-Porter Group digital platforms, print publications and social channels. At Mr Porter, Net-A-Porter, Porter Magazine and Matchesfashion.com, he oversaw the production of top-rate campaigns, driving the content vision for the management of branded content productions including fashion shoots and video series productions for brands such as BMW, Johnnie Walker Blue Label, American Express, Piaget, Cartier, IWC, Marc Jacobs, Burberry Prorsum, Fendi, Lanvin, Crème De La Mer, Chloe, Stella McCartney, Michael Kors, and Helmut Lang.

 

Social Media Strategy

 

Our digital marketing efforts will include ongoing search engine optimization (“SEO”) campaigns and initiatives to increase website conversions and brand awareness, social media marketing via Instagram, Facebook, Amazon and Google Marketplace using micro and macro/celebrity influencers, and public relations firms specializing in the international fashion scene.

 

Our communications firm, Skoog Co., is currently creating an action plan to generate buzz about our brand, our designers, and our e-commerce platform. Social media star, Neels Visser, is also contacting his broad network of social influencers and micro influencers to lay the groundwork for potential partnerships and brand affiliates/ambassadors.

 

GGI’s Gaucho – Buenos Aires will primarily be an e-commerce store targeting U.S. customers. However we do plan on pursuing reselling retail venues both online and brick and mortar. For example, in the wake of our press launch, we received unsolicited inquiries from several high-end boutiques in Brazil interested in carrying the Gaucho – Buenos Aires™ line. There are of course numerous avenues for us to explore involving brick and mortar opportunities alone, via agencies or direct solicitation.

 

Online reselling avenues we expect to pursue include Net-a-Porter, MatchesFashion and at least six other high-end, reputable venues with whom we already have an established foot in the door via our networking channels.

 

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We anticipate our marketing strategy will include popup shops in cities such as Austin, Dallas, Houston, Miami, Los Angeles, New York City and Aspen. With popup shops, we can for example, work with local PR companies to get the word out, as these opportunities are typically promoted via direct mail, PR and digital marketing efforts, as well as word of mouth and strategic geographic positioning.

 

Our online marketing efforts will also include SEO initiatives, social media marketing via Instagram, Facebook, Amazon and Google Marketplace, and retargeting ads.

 

Post-COVID-19, we anticipate presenting at fashion shows in in New York City, London, Paris, Milan and several other targeted cities. Gaucho – Buenos Aires presents an opportunity for global press to talk about Argentina finding its foothold once again on the global fashion scene, spotlighting our designers, our designs, and our concentration on leather goods. As there are few brands launching out of Argentina, and certainly fewer with global intentions, the press reaction to Gaucho – Buenos Aires has been extremely positive and encouraging.

 

Press

 

In early 2019, Gaucho – Buenos Aires garnered the front cover pages of Marie Claire Argentina and Vogue Italia, one of the most iconic fashion magazines on the globe, who states that Gaucho – Buenos Aires is currently “among the most interesting brands on the Argentinian scene.” Our recent press clippings since our Argentina debut in October 2018 include appearances in some of the most widely read fashion magazines in Latin American fashion, including Forbes Argentina, Revista L’Officiel, Revista Luz, Women’s Wear Daily, Nista, and others.

 

Gaucho – Buenos Aires Trademarks

 

We filed a U.S. Trademark Application (Serial No. 87743647) for the Gaucho – Buenos Aires in January 2018, and in February 2019, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued a Notice of Allowance for this mark. This application covers goods and services such as apparel, leather accessories and other products, jewelry, cosmetic fragrances and home goods.

 

The Company intends to promote Gaucho – Buenos Aires™ so that its name and logo collectively become a recognizable trademark with international appeal. We anticipate seeking trademark protection for other marks as we develop our business and product lines.

 

Within six months of the Notice of Allowance date, or August 12, 2019, we were required to file a satisfactory Statement of Use if use has occurred, or file for an extension of time. The mark was then in use with some of the goods, but not others. As a result, on August 6, 2019, we filed to divide the application for the goods that were in use for which a Statement of Use was filed, and filed an Extension Request in the existing application for the remaining goods. On April 28, 2020 and October 20, 2020, the trademarks were officially registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The details of the registrations are:

 

Registration No. 6,043,175

Registration Date: April 28, 2020

Classes: 18, 25 and 33

Goods:

 

Class 18 - Handbags; purses; clutch wallets and handbags; wallets; belt bags; necessaire, namely, cosmetic bags sold empty; travel bags,

Class 25 - T-shirts; tops; shirts; sweaters; hoodies; ponchos; pants; bottoms; shorts; skirts; dresses; jackets; coats; scarves; pocket squares; ties; belts; hosiery; underwear; gloves; footwear; shoes; headwear; hats; caps being headwear

Class 33 – Wines

 

Registration No. 6,180,633

Registration Date: October 20, 2020

Classes: 3 and 24

Goods:

 

Class 3 – Fragrances; perfumes

Class 24 – Bed and table linen; bed blankets; bed sheets; pillowcases; comforters; duvets; bath linen

 

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In August 2019, the Company received a notice from Markaria S.A. regarding the use of Gaucho—Buenos Aires in Argentina alleging that such mark may infringe with Markaria’s work clothing brand Gaucho. At this time Markaria has only requested a nullity of the company’s trademark application in Argentina. The Company is working with its Argentine legal counsel to negotiate, distinguish and defend its use of Gaucho—Buenos Aires in Argentina. Since the COVID-19 pandemic suspended all legal cases in Argentina, there have been no notifications of any advancement of this request. The use of the mark in the United States has not been affected, which is the targeted market for the Company.

 

Argentina Activities

 

GGH, through its wholly-owned subsidiary and holding company, InvestProperty Group (“IPG”), identifies and develops specific investments in the boutique hotel, hospitality and luxury property markets and in other lifestyle businesses such as wine production and distribution, golf, tennis and real estate development. GGH also operates hotel, hospitality and related properties and is actively seeking to expand its real estate investment portfolio by acquiring additional properties and businesses in Argentina, or by entering into strategic joint ventures. Using GGH’s fine wines as its ambassador, GGH’s mission is to develop a group of real estate projects under its ALGODON® brand with the goal of developing synergies among its luxury properties.

 

In 2016, GGH formed a new wholly-owned subsidiary, Gaucho Group, Inc. (“GGI”), and in 2019, the entity began developing a platform and infrastructure to manufacture, distribute and sell high end products created in Argentina under the brand name Gaucho – Buenos Aires™. See Gaucho – Buenos Aires™ on page 54 above.

 

GGH’s senior management is based in New York City. GGH’s local operations are managed by professional staff with substantial hotel, hospitality and resort experience in Buenos Aires and San Rafael, Argentina.

 

Until May 31, 2020, the Company’s senior management was based at its corporate office in New York City. Due to COVID-19, we have terminated the corporate office lease and senior management works remotely. GGH’s local operations are managed by professional staff with substantial hotel, hospitality and resort experience in Buenos Aires and San Rafael, Argentina.

 

GGH’s Concept and Business: Repositioning of Hotel Properties, Luxury Destinations and Residential Properties

 

GGH, through IPG, focuses on opportunities that create value through repositioning of underperforming hotel and commercial assets such as hotel/residential/retail destinations. Repositioning means we are working to gradually increment our average fares to solidify our position as a luxury option. This trend has been well received in large metropolitan areas which have become quite competitive. We believe that the trend is now trickling down to secondary metropolitan, resort and foreign markets where there is significantly less competition from the established major operators. We continue to seek opportunities where value can be added through re-capitalization, repositioning, expansion, improved marketing and/or professional management. We believe that GGH can increase demand for all of a property’s various offerings, from its rooms, to its dining, meeting and entertainment facilities, to its retail establishments through careful branding and positioning of properties. While the maxim remains true that the three most important factors in real estate are “location, location, location,” management believes that “style and superior service” have grown in importance and can lead to increased operating revenues and capital appreciation.

 

Both pre- and post-COVID-19, we aim at increasing our activity, occupancy and presence in the market by using direct marketing actions (Facebook and Google Ads, Trip Advisor, Online Travel Agencies, internet presence), and expanding our net of travel agencies and operators, introducing effective changes in our direct sales capacity (new sales-oriented webpages, joint ventures with other hotel organizations, training of our reservations employees, implementing new reservation software). We have also reached out to travel industry media operators to develop new strategic relationships and we are implementing a new commercial management operation for a more aggressive approach with a sales-oriented objective. GGH has built a team of industry professionals to assist in implementing its vision toward repositioning real estate assets. See “Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance” on page 60.

 

Plan of Operations

 

GGH continues to implement its growth and development strategy that includes a luxury boutique hotel, a resort estate, vineyard and winery, the sale of high-end fashion, leather goods and accessories, and a large land development project including residential houses within the vineyard. See “Algodon Wine Estates” below.

 

Long Term Growth Strategy

 

Our desire is to follow in the footsteps of global leading luxury brands such as Chanel from Paris, Burberry from London, Tom Ford from New York, and Gucci from Milan, and to establish Gaucho as “the Spirit of Argentina” representing Buenos Aires. In doing so, our mission is also to work with the intention of building a multi-billion dollar brand. We believe that through our e-commerce website, we have the potential to achieve significant scale, and add value to our company.

 

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Roll-up Strategy

 

We believe we are now positioned to utilize the Company’s listing on Nasdaq in a sort of “roll-up strategy” to acquire other companies that fall squarely within or complement the Company’s existing and planned lines of business. For example, we might seek to acquire businesses that offer high-end fashion and accessories, or other luxury products and/or experiential hospitality experiences, the quality of which is consistent with the GGH brand. We seek to become the LVMH (“Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy”) of South America, with the goal of becoming its most well-known luxury brand.

 

The Company hopes to continue to self-finance future acquisition and development projects because in countries like Argentina, having cash available to purchase land and other assets provides an advantage to buyers. Bank financing in such countries is often difficult or impossible to obtain. To be able to grow our business and expand into new projects, the Company would first want to deploy excess cash generated by operations, but significant amounts of excess cash flow is not anticipated for at least a number of years. Another option would be obtaining new investment funds from investors, including public offerings, and/or borrowing from institutional lenders. GGH may also be able to acquire property for stock instead of cash.

 

Cobranding and Strategic Alliances

 

One of GGH’s goals includes positioning its brand ALGODON® as one of luxury. In the past we have formed strategic alliances with well-established luxury brands that have strong followings to create awareness of the GGH brand and help build customer loyalty. Since its inception, GGH has been associated or co-branded with several world-class luxury brands including Relais & Châteaux, Veuve Clicquot Champagne (owned by Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy), Nespresso, Porsche, Chanel, Hermès, Art Basel, and Andrew Harper Travel.

 

Catalysts for Growth

 

Gaucho Casa Residences

 

As Gaucho – Buenos Aires™ continues to expand its recognition on a domestic and international basis, another area that we can potentially create value and scale is by licensing our brand to commercial, and residential real estate developments. Current examples of such co-branded developments include: Aston Martin Residences in Miami, Bulgari Resort and Residences Dubai, Fendi Chateau Residences in Bal Harbour, Residences by Armani Casa in Miami, Mercedes House in New York, as well Porsche Design Tower in Sunny Isles Beach.

 

These fashion houses and automobile manufactures license their brand’s unique styles and unmistakable names to real estate developers, in an effort to create business opportunity. The mutually beneficial model could be a medium through which Gaucho – Buenos Aires™ makes its imprint on the global market. By using our distinct style – employing fine leathers, metals, and natural stones – in the design and construction of such a project, Gaucho – Buenos Aires could add intrinsic value to the parties involved. This creates potential for licensing fees, as well a portion of proceeds from property sales.

 

 

Gaucho Casa

 

Gaucho Casa challenges traditional lifestyle collections with its luxury textiles and home accessories rooted in the singular spirit of the gaucho aesthetic. Using high-quality natural materials sourced from countries that are pioneers in the field of eco production, such as New Zealand, Iceland and, of course, Argentina, each piece within the line embodies the rarefied heritage of Buenos Aires and its deep-rooted connection to artisanship.

 

Celebrating the equestrian culture that “gaucho country” is world-renowned for, we believe that the collection’s silver-plated trays, bottle accessories and more elegant homeware pieces featuring elaborate horn detailing are a perfect embodiment of the contemporary glamour of Buenos Aires. Naturally, the epic wild landscapes have had their own influences, with a curated edit of sheepskin rugs, Tibetan cashmere cushions, mohair throws and Brazilian cow-hide cushions, providing the perfect partnership of form and function – and a chic complement to the more modern details in your home. Whether you’re looking to embrace the gaucho lifestyle or bring a touch of the country to the city, Gaucho Casa offers an organic design DNA for every interior space, ideal for modern living.

 

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In recent years, there has been a rise of boutique hotel home goods collections such as by Marriott, who led the way with its debut of Autograph Collection. Others that have followed include Curio by Hilton (Starwood’s Tribute Portfolio), and The Unbound Collection (part of the Hyatt Hotels group). We envision the possibility of Gaucho – Buenos Aires utilizing Algodon Mansion as a launch point for a collection of hotel bedding, pillows, linens and robes. Likewise, Argentina’s “La Belle Époque” could serve as a reliable source of inspiration for a multitude of luxury consumer goods, including home soft-furnishings. Argentina’s rich Polo heritage might also serve as a reliable foundation for a collection of high-end, contemporary leather home furnishings for anything from armchairs and sofas to lamps and photo frames.

 

Gaucho – Kids Collection

 

We envision the possibility of a designer baby and kids’ clothes collection at Gaucho – Buenos Aires, so that parents who love our brand can treat their children to a luxury line of fun, Gaucho-inspired clothing for kids. We envision building this line around the idea of creating comfy, well-made garments that allow kids to be creative in the way they dress. Gaucho Kids may include, for example, branded onesies and toddler t-shirts, whimsical prints that foster imagination and individuality, and other unique printed separates for kids who don’t mind standing out in a crowd.

 

Gaucho – Buenos Aires Boutique at Algodon Mansion

 

Located in the ground floor lobby of Algodon Mansion, the future location (anticipated opening in the fourth quarter of 2021) of our boutique store is just a stroll away from the city’s main shopping boulevards on Alvear. The Gaucho – Buenos Aires boutique will be open to receive direct foot traffic from shoppers along Montevideo. Emulating the great boutiques and ateliers of Europe’s fashion capitals, we believe that Algodon Mansion is an inspiring space in which to shop our collection. Built in 1912, the building connects us to the bygone glamor of the city’s golden age – and plays an important role in defining Gaucho Buenos Aires’ ethos and aesthetic.

 

Popup Shops

 

Popup shops are a popular trend that can be a low cost means of creating a temporary store front focusing on spreading brand awareness, communicating brand values, collecting customer data, and providing personalized experiences. This can also provide a way for Gaucho – Buenos Aires build a relationship with customers in person, while driving conversion on more cost-effective digital channels. We envision popup shops in U.S. cities such as Aspen, Austin, Dallas and Houston, Miami, Los Angeles, New York City, Berlin and Barcelona. With popup shops, we can work with local PR companies to get the word out, as these opportunities are typically promoted via direct mail, PR and digital marketing efforts, as well as word of mouth and strategic geographic positioning. We also anticipate installing a popup shop during the summer season in Punta Del Este, Uruguay, which is a popular vacation spot for wealthy Argentines and other Latin Americans.

 

Currency Devaluation

 

A currency devaluation can help Argentina tourism, enticing foreign holidaymakers seeking to make their vacation money stretch further. Vacationers looking for the most representative souvenirs of Argentina and its culture may know the country is best known for its leather. With hundreds of domestic tanneries, Argentina’s has high quality production of cow, sheep and goat leather goods such as jackets, shoes and handbags.

 

A devalued peso may also aid Argentina’s wine exporters by improving market competitiveness and leading to higher revenues. Additionally, non-leveraged real estate can be a hedge against inflation, and we believe that over time our land values may perform well.

 

While our contracts and vendors are largely payable in pesos, which is favorable to us given the current exchange rate of the peso against the U.S. dollar, the downside is that the Argentine market is somewhat closed off for our Gaucho brand goods and our wines. Even though we produce some Gaucho goods in Argentina and we are able to realize a higher margin by selling outside of Argentina, we also do have some goods produced in the U.S. at a higher cost and our margins are therefore much lower.

 

Further, our real estate and hotel operations are stated in U.S. dollars, which can be seen as less desirable than stating in pesos and could have a negative effect on demand for those parts of our business.

 

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The ALGODON® Brand

 

We believe that the force and power of brand is of paramount importance in the luxury real estate/hotel market. GGH has developed the ALGODON® brand, which is inspired by both the Cotton Club days of the Roaring 20’s and the distinctive style and glamour of the 50’s Rat Pack when travel and leisure was synonymous with cultural sophistication. This brand concept was taken from the Spanish word for “cotton” and we believe that this connotes a clean and pure appreciation for the good life, a sense of refined culture, and ultimately a destination where the best elements of the illustrious past meet the affluent present. GGH is looking to attract attention and upscale demographic visitors to the ALGODON® properties and to round out the brand experience in various other forms including music, dining, wine, sports and apparel, by marketing themes that highlight active lifestyles and the pleasures of life. Management believes that these types of brand extensions will serve to reinforce the overall brand recognition and further build upon GGH’s presence in the luxury hotel segment.

 

Description of Specific Investment Projects

 

GGH has invested in two ALGODON® brand properties located in Argentina. The first property is Algodon Mansion, a Buenos Aires-based luxury boutique hotel that opened in 2010 and is owned by IPG’s subsidiary, The Algodon – Recoleta S.R.L. (“TAR”). The second property, owned by Algodon Wine Estates S.R.L., is a Mendoza-based winery and golf resort called Algodon Wine Estates, consisting of 4,138 acres, which was subdivided for residential development and expanded by acquiring adjoining wine producing properties.

 

Algodon Mansion

 

 

The Company, through TAR, has renovated a hotel in the Recoleta section of Buenos Aires called Algodon Mansion, a six-story mansion (including roof-top facilities and basement) located at 1647 Montevideo Street, a tree-lined street in Recoleta, one of the most desirable neighborhoods in Buenos Aires. The property is approximately 20,000 square feet and is a ten-suite high-end luxury hotel with a lounge/living room area, a patio area featuring a glass ceiling and fireplace, and a private wine tasting room. The property also includes a rooftop that houses a luxury spa and terrace pool. Each guest room is an ultra-luxury two-to-three room suite, each approximately 510-1,200 square feet. Recoleta is Buenos Aires’ embassy and luxury hotel district and has fashionable boutiques, high-end restaurants, cafés, art galleries, and opulent belle époque architecture.

 

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Below is a table showing occupancy data, average daily rate and revenue per available room (“RevPAR”) for Algodon Mansion:

 

   TAR - Buenos Aires 
   USD   ARS 
   For the year ended           For the year ended         
   December 31, 2019   December 31, 2020   Δ amount   Δ %   December 31, 2019   December 31, 2020   Δ amount   Δ % 
Occupancy level   54%   14%   -40%   -74%   54%   14%   -40%   -74%
Average daily Rate (ADR)   337    356    19    6%   16,324    21,369    5,045    31%
RevPAR   182   50    -132    -73%   8,815   2,992    -5,823    -66%

 

Occupancy level: It is a Hotel KPI calculation that shows the percentage of available rooms or beds being sold for a certain period of time.
   
  It is important for hotels to keep track of this data on a daily basis to identify the average daily rate, forecast and apply revenue management.
   
  This ratio decreased by 74% which is explained by the Government regulations about the closing of the international border due to the intent for stop the COVID-19. TAR compared to AWE Lodge depends on international tourism.
   
Average daily Rate (ADR): This is a metric widely used in the hospitality industry to indicate the average realized room rental per day.
   
  This is calculated by taking the average revenue earned from rooms and dividing it by the number of rooms sold. It excludes complimentary rooms and rooms occupied by staff.
   
  2020 ADR in USD increased in comparison with previous year from USD 337 to USD 356. The same ratio in ARS has increased by 31% due to the effect of the devaluation
   
RevPAR: Revenue per available room (RevPAR) is a performance metric used in the hotel industry. It is calculated by multiplying a hotel’s average daily room rate (ADR) by its occupancy rate.
   
  2020 RevPAR in USD has decreased in comparison with previous year from USD 182 to USD 50 due to the low level of occupation during 2020

 

Past guests of Algodon Mansion include President Maurico Macri of Argentina, Roger Federer, Bobby Flay, Jim Courier, Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras, Mardy Fish, Salvatore Ferragamo, and Maguy Maccario Doyle, the Principality of Monaco’s Ambassador to the United States. Algodon Mansion was featured in an article by Huffington Post in January 2018, which praised the luxurious accommodations, impressive suites, and fine amenities of the hotel.

 

 

In both 2019 and 2018, Algodon Mansion was inducted to TripAdvisor’s Hall of Fame, a distinction given to recognize hotels that have won its Certificate of Excellence award for five consecutive years. Algodon Mansion won the Certificate of Excellence award for the years 2014 through 2019. The Certificate of Excellence award celebrates businesses that have continually delivered a quality customer experience, taking into account the quality, quantity and recency of reviews submitted by travelers on TripAdvisor over a 12-month period. To qualify, a business must maintain an overall TripAdvisor bubble rating of at least four out of five, have a minimum number of reviews and must have been listed on TripAdvisor for at least 12 months.

 

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Algodon Wine Estates

 

 

Algodon Wine Estates S.R.L. (“AWE”) is 4,138-acre area located in the Cuadro Benegas district of San Rafael, Mendoza, now known as Algodon Wine Estates. The resort property is part of the Mendoza wine region nestled in the foothills of the Andes mountain range. This property includes a winery (whose vines date back to the mid-1940’s), a 9-hole golf course, tennis, restaurant and hotel. The estate is situated on Mendoza’s Ruta del Vino (Wine Trail). The 4,138-acre property has an impressive lineage, both in terms of wine production and golf, and features structures on the property that date back to 1921.

 

Algodon Wine Estates features Algodon Villa, a private lodge originally built in 1921, that has been fully restored and refurbished to its original farmhouse design of adobe walls and cane roof. The lodge offers three suites, a gallery for private gatherings, a living area that may also serve as a dining and conference room, swimming pool, and adjacent vine-covered picnic area. The Algodon Villa offers five-star service and is situated for vacationing families, business conferences, retreat travelers, golfing companions, or wine route globe trekkers. Algodon Wine Estates has also recently completed the construction of a new lodge which lies adjacent to the original one. The new lodge features six additional suites and a gallery with two fireplaces and a bar.

 

Below is a table showing occupancy data, ADR and RevPAR for Algodon Wine Estates:

 

   AWE - San Rafael 
   USD   ARS 
   For the year ended           For the year ended         
   December 31, 2019   December 31, 2020   Δ amount   Δ %   December 31, 2019   December 31, 2020   Δ amount   Δ % 
Occupancy level   20%   13%   -7%   -35%   20%   13%   -7%   -35%
Average daily Rate (ADR)   219    215    -4    -2%   10,318    15,180    4,862    47%
RevPAR   44   28    -16    -36%   2,064   1,973    -91    -4%

 

Occupancy level: It is a Hotel KPI calculation that shows the percentage of available rooms or beds being sold for a certain period of time.
   
  It is important for hotels to keep track of this data on a daily basis to identify the average daily rate, forecast and apply revenue management.
   
  This ratio decreased by 35% which is explained by the Government regulations about the quarantine which was set from March 19th, 2020 to late October 2020 in order to stop COVID-19 spreading. AWE compared to STAR depends on domestic tourism who was looking for open areas.
   
Average daily Rate (ADR): This is a metric widely used in the hospitality industry to indicate the average realized room rental per day.
   
  This is calculated by taking the average revenue earned from rooms and dividing it by the number of rooms sold. It excludes complimentary rooms and rooms occupied by staff.
   
  2020 ADR in USD is similar with previous year (USD 219 vs USD 215). The same ratio in ARS has increased by 47% due to the effect of the devaluation.
   
RevPAR: Revenue per available room (RevPAR) is a performance metric used in the hotel industry. It is calculated by multiplying a hotel’s average daily room rate (ADR) by its occupancy rate.
   
  2020 RevPAR in USD has decreased in comparison with previous year from USD 44 to USD 28 due to the low level of occupation during 2020. However the same 2020 ratio in ARS is similar than 2019 because the low occupation was compensated by the devaluation.

 

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In 2018, Algodon Wine Estates was inducted to TripAdvisor’s Hall of Fame, a distinction given to recognize hotels that have won its Certificate of Excellence award for five consecutive years. Algodon Wine Estates won the Certificate of Excellence award for the years 2014 through 2019. The Certificate of Excellence award celebrates businesses that have continually delivered a quality customer experience, taking into account the quality, quantity and recency of reviews submitted by travelers on TripAdvisor over a 12-month period. To qualify, a business must maintain an overall TripAdvisor bubble rating of at least four out of five, have a minimum number of reviews and must have been listed on TripAdvisor for at least 12 months.

 

Algodon Fine Wines

 

 

Algodon Wine Estates contains a vineyard with 290 acres of vines. Over 60 acres have been cultivated since the 1940’s, and approximately 20 acres since the 1960’s. The property produces eight varieties of grapes, including Argentina’s signature varietal, Malbec, as well as Bonarda, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Semillon. The primary difference between the old and new vines is the style of pruning. Algodon Wine Estates utilizes a boutique wine making process, typified by production of a low volume of premium wines sold at a higher than average price in the market.

 

In an effort to increase distribution of its wines, Algodon Wine Estates is working with a number of importers operating in some of the world’s chief markets for premium wines. In Europe, Algodon Wine Estates warehouses its wines in Amsterdam for central distribution to clients in Germany and in the U.K. through Condor Wines (www.condorwines.co.uk), which works with regional distribution partners throughout the U.K. such as hotel and restaurant chains, regional and national brewers, pub companies, wholesalers and wine merchants. In the United States, Algodon Fine Wines is available for sale online at Sherry-Lehmann.com (which ships to 39 states), at Sherry-Lehmann’s iconic retail store in New York City, at Spec’s Wines, Spirits and Finer Foods retail stores in Texas, and Wally’s Wine & Spirits retail store located in Los Angeles. GGH’s Fine Wine’s Malbec has been featured on the esteemed wine lists of West London’s The Fat Duck, a Michelin 3-Star Restaurant, and arguably the U.K.’s most famous eatery, as well as London’s Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, A Michelin 3-Star Restaurant, also the exclusive London wine club, 67 Pall Mall, and the exclusive wine list of Buenos Aires’ fine dining restaurant, Parrilla Don Julio, one of Argentina’s most high-profile eateries.

 

Founded in 2013, Seaview Imports is a national importer of fine wines from France, Spain, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina and Chile. Headquartered in Port Washington, NY, the company distributes its products in twenty-five select states through wholesalers and state boards. Their producers are leaders in their regions and their portfolios are all exceptional in quality and value. For further information, please visit www.seaviewimports.com.

 

Seaview’s philosophy in building Algodon as a brand in the United States has been to select high-profile, quality-oriented retailers whom we believe have high credibility in speaking to their wine constituency. We believe it is reasonable to conclude that consumer confidence (within the fine wine industry) can be positively influenced by the endorsement of a well-respected wine merchant. These “Algodon Brand Ambassadors” can not only promote Algodon, its history and vision, but can serve as the go-to wine shop for the shareholders, friends and family of Algodon aficionados. In tandem with building a network of brand ambassador retailers, an additional initiative is to engage a fine wine distributor in select cosmopolitan markets that can provide smaller independent retail and on-premise (restaurant) coverage.

 

Current Distribution Markets (as of the fourth quarter of 2020)

 

  1. California – Vinporter Retail Holdings, LLC
  2. California – dba Hollywood Burger
  3. California – dba Salvatore Italian Restaurant
  4. California – dba Sherry- Lehmann West, LLC
  5. California – dba Wally’s Wine and Spirits

 

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  6. California – Golden State Wine & Spirits
  7. California – Peach Systems Inc.
  8. Florida – Greystone
  9. Georgia – Georgia Crown Distributing - Atlanta
  10. Illinois – Louis Glunz Wines Inc
  11. Minnesota – Bellboy Corporation
  12. Maryland – Lanterna Distributors, Inc.
  13. New Jersey – dba Wine Chateau
  14. New Jersey – dba Wine Chateau / Le Malt
  15. New Jersey – Port Washington Imports
  16. New York – Independence Wine & Spirits of NY, LLC
  17. New York – dba Ambassador Wine & Spirits
  18. New York – dba Beekman Wine & Liquor
  19. New York – dba Estancia 460
  20. New York – dba Nirvana
  21. New York – dba Pascalou
  22. New York – dba Tuscany Steakhouse
  23. New York – dba Friars National Association Inc.
  24. New York – dba Mister Wright
  25. New York – dba Sherry Lehman Inc.
  26. Nevada – Franco Wine
  27. Oklahoma – Elite Wine & Spirits
  28. Texas – United Wine and Spirits, LLC

 

Markets - scheduled by Seaview for 2021

 

  1. New Jersey – Gary’s Wine & Marketplace (+ local wholesaler)
  2. Washington DC – Calvert Woodley
  3. Massachusetts – Table & Vine (+ local wholesaler)
  4. Oklahoma – Elite Wines & Spirits
  5. Colorado – Argonaut
  6. Minnesota – Haskell’s
  7. Missouri – Brown Derby
  8. Indiana – 21st Amendment
  9. Nevada – Lee

 

None of the understandings with wine importers constitute a binding commitment by either party to produce, import or export the Company’s wines; performance by any of the parties is dependent upon numerous factors such as economic and political climate, consumer spending, weather, the Company’s ability to continue wine production operations, the market acceptance of the Company’s products, and other matters described in “Risk Factors” on page 23.

 

AWE uses microvinification (barrel fermentation) for its premium varietals and blends. Microvinification is commonly used in France, but is uncommon in Argentina, and Algodon Wine Estates is one of the few wineries in the country to implement this specialized process.

 

James Galtieri holds the title of Senior Wine Advisor on GGH’s Advisory Board. James is a founding partner and former President/CEO of Pasternak Wine Imports, a renowned national wine importer and distributor, founded in 1988 in partnership with Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite). He currently maintains an advisory role to Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite), and he is the current President/CEO at Seaview Imports LLC., a national wine importer (based in New York) covering the U.S. market with high-quality, exclusive wine brands. James has considerable background and experience in wine knowledge and wine market dynamics, and he is specialized in corporate management in the wine & spirit industry.

 

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In the third quarter of 2020, Algodon Fine Wines launched e-commerce websites in both the U.S. and Argentina.

 

In September 2020, Algodon Fine Wines announced the launch of an e-commerce initiative servicing patrons in Argentina, at AlgodonWines.com.ar. The e-commerce store sells and ships Algodon wines direct from its San Rafael, Mendoza winery to consumers living in Argentina. This debut is part of an expanded effort to rollout the brand’s premium Malbec-based wines, as well as the rest of the Algodon portfolio of award-winning varietals and blends.

 

In September 2020, Algodon Fine Wines also launched an e-commerce initiative servicing the United States, with the backend warehousing and fulfillment provided by the California-based distributer VinPorter Wine Merchants, at AlgodonFineWines.com. The e-commerce store, powered by VinPorter, links to a virtual storefront showcasing the Algodon wines currently distributed in the U.S. This debut is part of an expanded U.S. rollout for Premium Malbec-based wines, as well as the rest of the Algodon portfolio of award-winning varietals and blends. In addition to the Algodon Fine Wines site powered by VinPorter, Algodon wines are also available throughout the U.S. both in-store and online at such retailers as Spec’s, Sherry-Lehmann, The Noble Grape and Wine-Searcher.com (among others).

 

Algodon’s premium wines have received a number of top awards and ratings from the world’s foremost tasting competitions including Gold Medals from the prestigious Global Masters Wine Competition, comprised of master sommeliers. Algodon’s Black Label Reserves represent the best selection from Algodon with 100% microvinified blends whose low yield produces full concentration of fruit and flavor. Algodon’s complete portfolio of fine wines is currently available in wine bars, wine shops, restaurants and hotels in Buenos Aires, Mendoza, Germany, Switzerland, Guernsey, U.K., the Netherlands and the United States.

 

Algodon Wine Estates – Real Estate Development

 

 

AWE has acquired a total of 4,3138 acres of contiguous real estate surrounding its project in Mendoza, Argentina. This land was purchased with the purpose of developing a vineyard-resort and attracting investment in second or third homes for the well-to-do from around the world. GGH continues to invest in the ongoing costs of building out infrastructure and anticipates that sales of lots will gradually improve and accelerate as worldwide economic conditions improve.

 

GGH is currently marketing portions of the property to be developed into luxury residential homes and vineyard estates. Management believes that the power of the ALGODON® brand combined with an attractive package of amenities will promote interest in the surrounding real estate. The estate’s master plan features a luxury golf and vineyard living community, made up of six distinct village sectors, with 610 home sites ranging in size from 0.2 to 2.8 hectares (0.5 to 7 acres) for private sale and development. The development’s village sectors have been designed and named in accordance with their characteristic surroundings and landscape: the Wine & Golf Village, the Polo & Equestrian Village, the Sierra Pintada Village, The North Vineyard & Orchard Village, The South Vineyard & Orchard Village, and the Desert Vista Village. The development is located fifteen minutes from both the local airport and city center.

 

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In April 2019, GGH announced that it reached an agreement with Compass Real Estate to market and sell home sites at Algodon Wine Estates. Compass Real Estate (www.compass.com), dubbed “the country’s fastest-growing luxury real estate technology brokerage company” by Forbes Magazine, is set to revamp Algodon Wine Estates’ marketing and global sales initiatives by utilizing its network of 7,000 agents and over 1,000 employees. Compass’ business model has attracted investment capital from Fidelity, Softbank, Goldman Sachs, and several other corporations and individuals.

 

GGH is developing lots for sale to third party builders and is not engaged in any construction activity. To date, twenty-five lots have been sold. The Company has closed on the sale of all 25 lots and recorded revenue of $1,468,000. As of December 31, 2019, the Company has $838,471 of deposits for pending sales and as of December 31, 2020, the Company has $849,828 of deposits for pending sales.

 

Potential Value Creation

 

After an official “arm’s length” evaluation of the entire property (including the additional recently acquired 2,000 acres), we estimate the discovery and potential development of underground aquifers could help increase the value of the parcel. Due to the prohibition of developing new wells in Mendoza City Metro Area, it may be positive to take advantage of the lack of regulations in San Rafael. Additionally, the current administration of Mendoza Province has asked (upon approval of the Company) to construct a major road through the far reaches of the property in an effort to link the popular tourist destinations of Valle Grande, and Los Reyunos. This development could in effect raise the commercial value of the land significantly, as well as open up potential rental-income opportunities from storefronts, gas stations, and other businesses.

 

In November 2020, we began the process of drilling two water wells at Algodon Wine Estates, which we believe can significantly increase the value of the land. This initiative can allow us direct access to natural aquifers that can be utilized for a variety of infrastructural and landscape initiatives including crop production capabilities, residential and commercial development potential, or property resale. In the future, we intend to apply for permits to add an additional six water wells throughout the 4,138 acre property.

 

Owning real estate in Argentina is subject to risk. For more information see “Risk Factors.”

 

Projects and Business Initiatives in Development

 

GGH’s luxury branded assets include fine experiences through our award-winning wines and exceptional luxury destinations. Our U.S.-based e-commerce website GauchoBuenosAires.com is designed to deliver Argentine luxury goods to the U.S. marketplace and elsewhere around the globe. We believe the potential for scale here is particularly significant as Argentina is now making noteworthy re-entry to international trade. With Argentina in the process of re-opening its borders, we believe it is poised to regain its status as a cultural and fashion exporter, and that there may be a sizeable appetite in the U.S. and elsewhere for luxury products that feature a distinctly Argentine point of view. We are excited about the potential for scale here.

 

Competition

 

The online luxury fashion business is highly competitive. The apparel industry is characterized by rapid shifts in fashion, consumer demand, and competitive pressures, resulting in both price and demand volatility. We believe that our emphasis on fine leather goods, accessories and apparel mitigates these factors.

 

We believe that the fit and quality of our garments, as well as the broad variety of colors and styles, our Gaucho and distinctly Argentine inspiration, as well as the contemporary luxury garments and accessories that we offer helps to differentiate us. We compete against a wide variety of smaller, independent specialty stores, as well as department stores and national and international specialty chains. Companies that operate in this space include, but are not limited to, Rag & Bone, Theory, Maison Kitsune, Vince, and All Saints. Many of these companies have substantially greater name recognition than Gaucho – Buenos Aires. Many of these companies also have greater financial, marketing, and other resources when compared to Gaucho – Buenos Aires.

 

Along with the competitive factors noted above, other key competitive factors for Gaucho – Buenos Aires online e-commerce operations include the success or effectiveness of customer mailing lists, advertising response rates, merchandise delivery, web site design and web site availability. The online e-commerce operations compete against numerous web sites, many of which may have a greater volume of web traffic, and greater financial, marketing, and other resources.

 

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Government Regulation

 

With respect to the Company’s clothing line, pursuant to the Federal Trade Commission, clothing exported from Argentina to the U.S. must have a label that contains the country of origin and the composition of the item. Additional information can be found here: https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/business-center/guidance/threading-your-way-through-labeling-requirements-under-textile.

 

With respect to the Company’s wine production, please see “Risk Factors” on page 23. Additional information may be found here: https://www.ttb.gov/itd/international-imports-exports-requirements.

 

Human Capital Resources

 

Our experienced employees and management team are some of our most valuable resources, and we are committed to attracting, motivating, and retaining top professionals. Including the operating subsidiaries in Argentina, as of the date of this prospectus, the Company has approximately 65 full-time employees. In Argentina, GGH also employs temporary, seasonal employees during the busy harvest season. In the United States, GGH employs approximately 4 full-time employees as of the date of this annual report. None of the employees in the United States are covered by a collective bargaining agreement and management believes it has good relations with its employees.

 

Our success is directly related to the satisfaction, growth, and development of our employees. We strive to offer a work environment where employee opinions are valued and allow our employees to use and augment their professional skills. To achieve our human capital goals, we intend to remain focused on providing our personnel with entrepreneurial opportunities to expand our business within their areas of expertise and continue to provide our personnel with personal and professional growth. The Company emphasizes several measures and objectives in managing our human capital assets, including, among others, employee safety and wellness, talent acquisition and retention, employee engagement, development and training, diversity and inclusion, and compensation and pay equity.

 

COVID-19 and Employee Safety and Wellness. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we implemented significant changes that we determined were in the best interest of our employees as well as the communities in which we operate. These measures include allowing all employees to work from home. We believe in supporting our employees’ health and well-being. Our goal is to help employees make informed decisions about their health by providing the tools and resources necessary to achieve a healthier lifestyle. We offer our employees a wide array of benefits such as life and health (medical, dental, and vision) insurance, paid time off and retirement benefits, as well as emotional well-being services through our health insurance program.

 

Diversity and Inclusion and Ethical Business Practices. We believe that a company culture focused on diversity and inclusion is a crucial driver of creativity and innovation. We also believe that diverse and inclusive teams make better business decisions, ultimately driving better business outcomes. We are committed to recruiting, retaining, and developing high-performing, innovative and engaged employees with diverse backgrounds and experiences. This commitment includes providing equal access to, and participation in, equal employment opportunities, programs, and services without regard to race, religion, color, national origin, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, stereotypes, or assumptions based thereon. We welcome and celebrate our teams’ differences, experiences, and beliefs, and we are investing in a more engaged, diverse, and inclusive workforce.

 

We also foster a strong corporate culture that promotes high standards of ethics and compliance for our business, including policies that set forth principles to guide employee, officer, director, and vendor conduct, such as our Code of Business Conduct and Ethics. We also maintain a whistleblower policy and anonymous hotline for the confidential reporting of any suspected policy violations or unethical business conduct on the part of our businesses, employees, officers, directors, or vendors.

 

Due to the pandemic, on May 31, 2020 Gaucho Group Holdings, Inc. terminated its office lease at 135 Fifth Avenue in New York City. All senior management of Gaucho Group Holdings, Inc. have been working remotely since then. The Company’s current mailing address is 1445 16th Street, Suite 403, Miami Beach, Florida 33139. The telephone number remains the same at +1-212-739-7700. The Company is licensed to do business in New York and Florida.

 

Ticker Symbol

 

The Company uplisted its common stock on the Nasdaq Capital Market (“Nasdaq”) effective as of February 16, 2021, and the common stock commenced trading on Nasdaq effective as of February 17, 2021 under the symbol “VINO”.

 

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Available Information

 

Effective upon the uplist of the Company’s common stock to Nasdaq, we have updated our corporate governance policies. We maintain a website at http://www.gauchogroup.com. The information contained on, or accessible through, our website is not part of this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Our Annual Report on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, Current Reports on Form 8-K and amendments to reports filed or furnished pursuant to Sections 13(a) and 15(d) of the Exchange Act, are available on our website, free of charge, as soon as reasonably practicable after we electronically file such reports with, or furnish those reports to, the SEC.

 

In addition, we maintain our corporate governance documents on our website here: https://ir.gauchoholdings.com/corporate-governance/governance-documents, including:

 

  a Code of Business Conduct and Ethics for Directors, Officers and Employees which contains information regarding our whistleblower procedures,
     
  our Insider Trading Policy,
     
  our Audit Committee Charter,
     
  our Compensation Committee Charter,
     
  our Nomination Guidelines,
     
  our Trading Blackout Policy, and
     
  our Related Party Transaction Policy.

 

ITEM 1A. RISK FACTORS

 

An investment in our securities involves certain risks relating to our structure and investment objective. The risks set forth below are the risks we have identified and which we currently deem material or predictable. We also may face additional risks and uncertainties not currently known to us, or which as of the date of this Annual Report we might not consider significant, which may adversely affect our business. In general, you take more risk when you invest in the securities of issuers in emerging markets such as Argentina than when you invest in the securities of issuers in the United States. If any of the following risks occur, our business, financial condition and results of operations could be materially adversely affected. In such case, our net asset value and the price of our common stock could decline, and you may lose all or part of your investment.

 

In evaluating the Company, its business and any investment in the Company, readers should carefully consider the following factors:

 

Risks Relating to the COVID-19 Pandemic

 

We face significant business disruption and related risks resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, which could have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operations.

 

We temporarily closed our hotel, restaurant, winery operations, and golf and tennis operations. On October 19, 2020, we re-opened our winery and golf and tennis facilities with COVID-19 measures implemented. Most recently, we reopened the Algodon Mansion as of November 11, 2020 with COVID-19 measures implemented. However, on March 15, 2020, the Argentine government announced the closing of its borders to foreigners. As of March 20, 2021, international tourism by foreign residents, except those foreign residents with direct family contact with an Argentinian, remains prohibited through April 9, 2021. Due to COVID-19, construction on homes was temporarily halted from March to September but has resumed.

 

The Company reduced expenses by negotiating an early termination of our office lease at 135 Fifth Avenue in New York City, and all employees and contractors are currently working from home. In addition, we are reviewing our labor needs to run the administrative side of the Company in New York.

 

Beginning Monday, April 13, 2020, GGI’s warehouse and fulfillment center, Bergen Logistics, announced it would operate on a four-day schedule from Monday through Thursday, allowing for a 72-hour window from Friday through Sunday for any possible surface viruses to self-eliminate. On June 12, 2020 Bergen Logistics announced that it would increase its warehouse operations to a Sunday through Friday schedule. The warehouse stores and ships all of the items that are for sale on our e-commerce website. Any e-commerce orders that may be received during the time of shutdown are only be fulfilled once the fulfillment center re-opens. Likewise, during their shutdown, the warehouse would not be able to receive and process any returned merchandise from customers, nor would the warehouse be able to receive any merchandise from our manufacturers.

 

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Throughout the pandemic, we also experienced significant delays in product development, production, and shipping from our overseas manufacturing partners, many of whom have been on complete lockdown for the safety of their workers. Some of our manufacturing partners have even had to close permanently. Because of this, we are in the process of pursuing new vendors.

 

Due to the events stated above, it was necessary for us to reduce our email marketing efforts to our customer database, as we were not able to fulfill orders. This resulted in a significant reduction in our web traffic and sales.

 

Although the Company presently has enough cash on hand to sustain its operations on a month to month basis, we are continuing to explore opportunities with third parties and related parties to provide some or all of the capital that we need. However, if we are unable to obtain additional financing on a timely basis, we may have to delay vendor payments and/or initiate cost reductions, which would have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations, and ultimately, we could be forced to discontinue our operations, liquidate assets and/or seek reorganization under the U.S. bankruptcy code.

 

The Company is continuing to monitor the outbreak of COVID-19 and the related business and travel restrictions, and changes to behavior intended to reduce its spread, and the related impact on the Company’s operations, financial position and cash flows, as well as the impact on its employees. Due to the rapid development and fluidity of this situation, the magnitude and duration of the pandemic and its impact on the Company’s future operations and liquidity is uncertain. While there could ultimately be a material impact on operations and liquidity of the Company, as of the date of this annual report, the impact cannot be determined at this time.

 

Due to the economic hardships presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, we obtained a loan from the Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP Loan”) from the U.S. Small Business Administration (“SBA”) pursuant to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the “CARES Act”). We may not be entitled to forgiveness under state law for the PPP Loan which could negatively impact our cash flow.

 

On May 6, 2020, the Company received a potentially forgivable loan from the SBA pursuant to the PPP enacted by Congress under the CARES Act, resulting in net proceeds of $242,487. To facilitate the PPP Loan, the Company entered into a note payable agreement with Santander Bank, N.A. as the lender. On March 26, 2021, the SBA forgave the PPP Loan in full.

 

Under the terms of the CARES Act, as amended by the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020, the Company is eligible to apply for and receive forgiveness for all or a portion of their respective PPP Loan. Such forgiveness will be determined, subject to limitations, based on the use of the loan proceeds for certain permissible purposes as set forth in the PPP, including, but not limited to, payroll costs (as defined under the PPP) and mortgage interest, rent or utility costs (collectively, “Qualifying Expenses”) incurred during the 24 weeks subsequent to funding, and on the maintenance of employee and compensation levels, as defined, following the funding of the PPP Loan. The Company used the proceeds of the PPP Loan for Qualifying Expenses. However, no assurance is provided that the Company will be able to obtain forgiveness of the PPP Loan under state law in whole or in part. It is possible that under state law, the loan may not be forgiven in full, which could have a negative impact on the Company’s cash flow.

 

Risks Relating to Argentina

 

As of the date of this annual report, the majority of our operations, property and sales are located in Argentina. As a result, the quality of our assets, our financial condition and the results of our operations are dependent upon the macroeconomic, regulatory, social and political conditions prevailing in Argentina from time to time. These conditions include growth rates, inflation rates, exchange rates, taxes, foreign exchange controls, changes to interest rates, changes to government policies, social instability, and other political, economic or international developments either taking place in, or otherwise affecting, Argentina.

 

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Economic and political instability in Argentina may adversely and materially affect our business, results of operations and financial condition.

 

The Argentine economy has experienced significant volatility in recent decades, characterized by periods of low or negative GDP growth, high and variable levels of inflation and currency depreciation and devaluation. The economy has experienced high inflation and GDP growth has been sluggish in the last few years. In October of 2020, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) published the “World Economic Outlook” report. The IMF noted that after contracting 2.1 percent in 2019, the Argentine Real GDP is expected to further contract by 11.8 percent in 2020, with a growth of 4.9 percent forecasted in 2021.

 

In its October 12, 2020 Staff Statement on Argentina, the IMF noted that Argentina is facing economic and social difficulties relating to the unprecedented health crisis created by COVID-19. The IMF stated that the resulting recession is contributing to an increase in already elevated poverty and unemployment levels.

 

The IMF projected the 2019 inflation rate to be approximately 40 percent. The actual inflation rate was 53.8 percent. The IMF did not make projections for the inflation rate for 2020 or 2021, as the variables used in the forecasts are linked to still-pending IMF program negotiations. However, in March 2020, NASDAQ reported that the inflation rate was projected to be 40 percent in 2020 and 30.5 percent in 2021, according to a central bank poll of analysts. The actual inflation rate, as reported by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) was 35.8 percent as of November 2020.

 

The operating environment in Argentina continues to be a challenging business environment, including the continuing significant devaluation of Argentina’s currency, high inflation and economic recession. Volatility and declines in the exchange rate are expected in the future, which could have an adverse impact on our Argentine revenues, net earnings, cash flows and net monetary asset position.

 

On December 10, 2015, Mauricio Macri took office as the new president of Argentina, along with his former finance minister Alfonso Prat-Gay and Luis Caputo, who replaced Prat-Gay in late 2016. President Macri has made a number of decisions in pursuit of economic reform, including removing currency controls. Following Prat-Gray’s December 2015 announcement that the currency controls would be lifted, the exchange rate of the peso fell from 9.8 pesos per U.S. dollar to 14 pesos per U.S. dollar, resulting in a 30% devaluation of the peso. By August 2019, inflation had risen to more than 50%. Mr. Macri’s approach to the economy has been one of gradualism, but the economy has suffered and his structural economic reforms have hurt poor and middle-class families in Argentina. As a result, Alberto Fernández won the election as President on October 27, 2019 and Cristina Fernández de Kirchner won as Vice President and both took office on December 10, 2019. In late December of 2019, President Fernández’s emergency economic reform package was passed by Congress and was intended to decrease poverty and reduce inflation. The economic reform package included, among other things, tax increases, restrictions on the currency market, and debt renegotiations.

 

Given the political climate and the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis, it is not certain what other changes may take place or what the impact of the changes may be on the economy of Argentina. Our discussion below is based on recent history.

 

Economic and Political Risks Specific to Argentina

 

The Argentinian economy has been characterized by frequent and occasionally extensive intervention by the Argentinian government and by unstable economic cycles. The Argentinian government has often changed monetary, taxation, credit, tariff and other policies to influence the course of Argentina’s economy, and taken other actions which do, or are perceived to weaken the nation’s economy especially as it relates to foreign investors and other overall investment climate. The Argentine peso has devalued significantly against the U.S. dollar, from about 6.1 Argentine pesos per dollar in December 2013 to approximately 88.17 pesos per dollar in February 2021, as published by Bloomberg.

 

The overall state of Argentinian politics and the Argentina economy have resulted in numerous investment reports, including the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) 2020 World Investment Report, the World Bank’s 2020 Doing Business Report, the U.S. Department of State’s 2020 Investment Climate Statement on Argentina, and a report by Santander Trade, that discuss the risks of foreign investment in Argentina. In February 2019, the Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) index allowed Argentina to remain in the frontier emerging market despite the country technically being ineligible based on available 2017 Gross National Income data. In May 2019, MSCI classified Argentina as an emerging market rather than a pure frontier market. Nonetheless, investors considering an investment in GGH should be mindful of these potential political and financial risks.

 

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Argentina’s economy may not support foreign investment or our business.

 

Currently there is significant inflation, labor unrest, and currency deflation, in addition to a potential recession brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. There has also been significant governmental intervention into the Argentine economy, including price controls, foreign currency restrictions, and debt restructuring negotiations. As a result, uncertainty remains as to whether economic growth in Argentina is sustainable and whether foreign investment will be successful.

 

Since July 1, 2018, Argentina has had a highly inflationary economy, which may continue to increase our accounting and legal costs.

 

The International Practices Task Force (“IPTF”) of the Center for Audit Quality discussed the inflationary status of Argentina at its meeting on May 16, 2018 and, as further described in its May 16, 2018 Document for Discussion, it categorized Argentina as a country with a projected three-year cumulative inflation rate greater than 100%. Therefore, the Company has transitioned its Argentine operations to highly inflationary status as of July 1, 2018. As a result, the Company was required to change the functional currency of its Argentine operations to the U.S. dollar, effective as of July 1, 2018. For operations in highly inflationary economies, monetary asset and liabilities are translated at exchange rates in effect at the balance sheet date, and non-monetary assets and liabilities are translated at historical exchange rates. Income and expense accounts are translated at the weighted average exchange rate in effect during the period. Translation adjustments are reflected in loss on foreign currency translation on the accompanying statements of operations.

 

Past efforts by Argentina to nationalize businesses.

 

In April 2012, then Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner announced her decision to nationalize YPF, the country’s largest oil company, from its majority stakeholder, thus contributing to declining faith from foreign investors in the country and again resulting in a downgrade by Standard and Poor’s of Argentina’s economic and financial outlook to “negative”. There were other discussions in Argentina about the possibility of nationalizing other businesses and industries under former President Kirchner, and she was elected a Senator in late 2017. She has made several public statements about her intent to debate everything and take firm positions on her political ideals.

 

As a result of the primary held in August 2019, where Mr. Macri earned only 32% of the vote in primary elections due to voters’ anger over austerity measures, the deep recession and soaring inflation, the peso fell about 17% against the dollar and Argentina’s bonds and stocks plunged. On October 27, 2019, Alberto Fernández won as President of Argentina with Ms. de Kirchner becoming Vice President. Ms. de Kirchner has remained a prominent political figure in Argentina, and there has been speculation surrounding the influence that Ms. de Kirchner may have over Mr. Fernández’s policies. In June of 2020, President Fernández announced his plan to nationalize Vicentin SAIC, a major Argentine soybean processor. There is no assurance that any investment in GGH will be safe from government control or nationalization.

 

Due to the Company’s operations in Argentina, the Company is exposed to the risk of changes in foreign exchange rates.

 

Due to the international nature of Gaucho Group Holdings’ business, movements in foreign exchange rates may impact the consolidated statements of operations, consolidated balance sheets and cash flows of the Company. Since almost all of the Company’s sales are located in Argentina, the Company’s consolidated net sales are impacted negatively by the strengthening or positively by the weakening of the U.S. dollar as compared to Argentina’s currencies. Additionally, movements in the foreign exchange rates may unfavorably or favorably impact the Company’s results of operations, financial condition and liquidity. In October 2020, Argentina’s central bank introduced measures to tighten controls on the movement of foreign currency, which resulted in a decline of the Argentine peso. The Argentine peso is stated at approximately 88.17 Argentine pesos per US dollar as of February 2021, as published by Bloomberg.

 

Argentina’s ability to obtain financing from international markets is limited, which may impair its ability to implement reforms and foster economic growth.

 

After the economic crisis in 2002, the Argentine government has maintained a policy of fiscal surplus. To be able to repay its debt, the Argentine government may be required to continue adopting austere fiscal measures that could adversely affect economic growth.

 

In 2005 and 2010, Argentina restructured over 91% of its sovereign debt that had been in default since the end of 2001. Some of the creditors who did not participate in the 2005 or 2010 exchange offers continued their pursuit of a legal action against Argentina for the recovery of debt.

 

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A U.S. Court of Appeals blocked the most recent debt payment made by Argentina in June 2014 because it was improperly structured, giving Argentina through the end of July 2014 to find a way to pay to fulfill its obligations. In March 2015, more than 500 creditors, separate from the hedge fund creditors, filed suit against Argentina for payment on the debt of $5.4 billion. Argentina filed a motion opposing those claims noting that there were now $10 billion in judgments and claims before the court. In February 2016, Argentina and four of its major bond creditors entered into a settlement agreement whereby Argentina agreed to pay roughly $4.65 billion to those creditors to resolve the fifteen-year litigation. Subsequently, Argentina has also entered into settlement agreements with other bond default creditors who were not party to the original settlement which, in the aggregate, could have an estimated dollar value upwards of $10 billion.

 

As a result of Argentina’s default and its aftermath of litigation, the government may not have the financial resources necessary to implement reforms and foster economic growth, which, in turn, could have a material adverse effect on the country’s economy and, consequently, our businesses and results of operations. Furthermore, Argentina’s inability to obtain credit in international markets could have a direct impact on our own ability to access international credit markets to finance our operations and growth.

 

In April of 2016, after settling the litigation, Argentina was able to return to the international debt markets with a $16.5 billion century bond. The attractiveness of a century bond is debatable amongst investment advisers and its impact over the long-term in is this case unknown. In 2017, Argentina engaged in additional sales of bonds on international markets for around $13.4 billion. There can be no assurance that the Argentine government will not default on its obligations under these or any of its bonds if it experiences another economic crisis or has a change in political control. A new default by the Argentine government could lead to a new recession, even higher inflation, restrictions on Argentine companies access to financing and funds, limit the operations of Argentine companies in the international markets, higher unemployment and social unrest, which would negatively affect our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.

 

In June 2018, the Argentine Government entered into a US$50 billion, 36-month stand-by arrangement with the IMF. This measure was intended to halt the significant depreciation of the peso during the first half of 2018. In December 2018, the IMF completed a second review under the stand-by arrangement and although there were indications that the financial markets in Argentina have stabilized since the end of September 2018 following the adoption of the new monetary policy framework, the IMF noted that external risks are centered around an unanticipated tightening of global financial conditions, which could resurface concerns about Argentina’s ability to meet its large gross financing needs. The IMF also warned that greater than expected inertia in the inflation process may delay the expected easing of monetary policy and generate a greater economic loss during the needed disinflation and that a deeper recession or more persistent inflation could generate a more forceful opposition to the policies underpinning the program and hinder their implementation.

 

In August 2020, Argentina reported that it had successfully negotiated a restructuring of close to $65 billion in debt with large US investment firms. The government predicted that the deal will bring in billions of dollars in financial relief over the 2020-2030 term and help cut interest rates on foreign bonds by 4%. However, only weeks after the restructuring, investors criticized the Argentine government’s mismanagement of the economy, and bonds issued in September had already fallen 25 percent. Most recently, Argentina has begun working with the IMF to repackage close to $45 billion of debt owed to the fund. In a December 3, 2020 IMF press briefing, the IMF stated that the discussions with Argentina were ongoing with no precise timeline of any eventual agreement.

 

The Argentine government may again place currency limitations on withdrawals of funds.

 

Through 2015, the Argentine government, led by then president Cristina Fernández, instituted economic controls that included limiting the ability of individuals and companies to exchange local currency (Argentine peso) into U.S. dollars and to transfer funds out of the country. At the time, public reports stated that government officials were micromanaging money flows by limiting dollar purchases and discouraging dividend payments and international wire transfers. As a result of these controls, Argentine companies had limited access to U.S. dollars through regular channels (e.g., banks) and consumers faced difficulty withdrawing and exchanging invested funds. Given the Company’s investment in Argentine projects and developments, its ability to mobilize and access funds may be adversely affected by the above-mentioned political actions, despite the efforts to repeal economic controls in the recent past.

 

In December 2015, newly elected President Mauricio Macri ended the central bank’s support of the peso and removed the currency controls that limited the ability of Argentines to buy dollars, resulting in a 30% devaluation of the Argentine peso. In January 2017, the country lifted the 120-day holding period for incoming funds hoping to increase the flow of money into the country and ease access for tourists, citizens and businesses. However, Argentina is still feeling the impact of removing currency controls and continued experiencing a decrease in the value of the Argentine peso throughout 2019.

 

Recently, the Argentine central bank has restricted access to dollars, prohibiting private citizens from buying more than $200 in foreign currency per month on the official exchange market. Argentine officials have suggested that they will relax controls when the economic has stabilized. These restrictions may have a negative effect on the economy and on our business if imposed in an economic environment where access to local capital is constrained.

 

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The stability of the Argentine banking system is uncertain.

 

Adverse economic developments, even if not related to or attributable to the financial system, could result in deposits flowing out of the banks and into the foreign exchange market, as depositors seek to shield their financial assets from a new crisis. Any run on deposits could create liquidity or even solvency problems for financial institutions, resulting in a contraction of available credit.

 

Additionally, unrest among the employment sector of the banking industry has led to strikes led by strong labor unions. This makes it difficult for citizens and businesses to conduct banking activities and decreases the level of trust people put into the Argentine banking system.

 

In the event of a future shock, such as the failure of one or more banks or a crisis in depositor confidence, the Argentine government could impose further exchange controls or transfer restrictions and take other measures that could lead to renewed political and social tensions and undermine the Argentine government’s public finances, which could adversely affect Argentina’s economy and prospects for economic growth which could adversely affect our business.

 

Government measures to preempt or respond to social unrest may adversely affect the Argentine economy and our business.

 

The Argentine government has historically exercised significant influence over the country’s economy. Additionally, the country’s legal and regulatory frameworks have at times suffered radical changes, due to political influence and significant political uncertainties. Future government policies to preempt, or in response to, social unrest may include expropriation, nationalization, forced renegotiation or modification of existing contracts, suspension of the enforcement of creditors’ rights, new taxation policies, including royalty and tax increases and retroactive tax claims, and changes in laws and policies affecting foreign trade and investment. Such policies could destabilize the country and adversely and materially affect the economy, and thereby our business.

 

The Argentine economy could be adversely affected by economic developments in other global markets.

 

Financial and securities markets in Argentina are influenced, to varying degrees, by economic and market conditions in other global markets. Although economic conditions vary from country to country, investors’ perception of the events occurring in one country may substantially affect capital flows into other countries. Lower capital inflows and declining securities prices negatively affect the real economy of a country through higher interest rates or currency volatility.

 

In addition, Argentina is also affected by the economic conditions of major trade partners, such as Brazil and/or countries that have influence over world economic cycles, such as the United States. If interest rates rise significantly in developed economies, including the United States, Argentina and other emerging market economies could find it more difficult and expensive to borrow capital and refinance existing debt, which would negatively affect their economic growth. In addition, if these developing countries, which are also Argentina’s trade partners, fall into a recession the Argentine economy would be affected by a decrease in exports. All of these factors would have a negative impact on us, our business, operations, financial condition and prospects.

 

The Argentine government may order salary increases to be paid to employees in the private sector, which would increase our operating costs.

 

There have been nationwide strikes in Argentina over wages and benefits paid to workers which workers believe to be inadequate in light of the high rate of inflation and rising utility rates. In the past, the Argentine government has passed laws, regulations and decrees requiring companies in the private sector to maintain minimum wage levels and provide specified benefits to employees and may do so again in the future. In the aftermath of the Argentine economic crisis, employers both in the public and private sectors have experienced significant pressure from their employees and labor organizations to increase wages and to provide additional employee benefits. Due to the high levels of inflation, the employees and labor organizations have begun again demanding significant wage increases. It is possible that the Argentine government could adopt measures mandating salary increases and/or the provision of additional employee benefits in the future. Any such measures could have a material and adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition. To management’s knowledge, currently there are no pending measures.

 

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Restrictions on the supply of energy could negatively affect Argentina’s economy.

 

As a result of a prolonged recession, and the forced conversion into pesos and subsequent freeze of gas and electricity tariffs in Argentina, there has been a lack of investment in gas and electricity supply and transport capacity in Argentina in recent years. At the same time, demand for natural gas and electricity has increased substantially, driven by a recovery in economic conditions and price constraints, which has prompted the government to adopt a series of measures that have resulted in industry shortages and/or cost increases. In 2017, the government increased the tariffs on electricity and gas hoping to spur an increase in domestic energy production which increased the cost for these utilities for citizens. Scheduled increases in electricity tariffs in May and August 2019 were canceled and the government committed to no further gas tariff increases in 2019.

 

The federal government has been taking a number of measures, including the tariff increase, to alleviate the short-term impact of energy shortages on residential and industrial users. If these measures prove to be insufficient, or if the investment that is required to increase natural gas production and transportation capacity and energy generation and transportation capacity over the medium-and long-term fails to materialize on a timely basis, economic activity in Argentina could be limited, which could have a significant adverse effect on our business.

 

We are exposed to risks in relation to compliance with foreign and domestic anti-corruption and anti-bribery laws and regulations.

 

Our operations are subject to various foreign and domestic anti-corruption and anti-bribery laws and regulations, including the Argentine Corporate Criminal Liability Law 27,401 effective March 1, 2018 (the “Corporate Criminal Liability Law”) and the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977 (the “FCPA”). Both the Corporate Criminal Liability Law and the FCPA impose liability against companies who engage in bribery of government officials, either directly or through intermediaries. The Corporate Criminal Liability Law establishes a system of criminal liability of private legal persons which include companies created under any legal form (LLCs, PLCs, partnerships, etc.) whether of national or foreign capital for criminal offenses against public administration and national and cross-border bribery committed by, among others, its shareholders, attorneys-in-fact, directors, managers, employees, or representatives. Such anti-corruption laws generally prohibit providing anything of value to government officials for the purposes of obtaining or retaining business or securing any improper business advantage. In January of 2019, the National Executive enacted Emergency Decree No. 62/2019, which allows for the confiscation of assets that were acquired from drug trafficking, smuggling, money laundering, and other corruption crimes, where there is proof that the assets do not reasonably correspond to the person’s income. Additionally, on April 10, 2019, President Macri approved Decree No. 258/2019, which implemented the National Anti-corruption Plan (2019-2023). The plan is intended to consolidate progress in fighting corruption, and includes various initiatives divided into three main categories: (1) initiatives on transparency and open government; (2) initiatives to prevent money laundering; and (3) investigation and sanctions initiatives. As part of our business, we may deal with entities in which the employees are considered government officials. We have a compliance program that is designed to manage the risks of doing business in light of these new and existing legal and regulatory requirements.

 

Although we have internal policies and procedures designed to ensure compliance with applicable anti-corruption and anti-bribery laws and regulations, there can be no assurance that such policies and procedures will be sufficient. Violations of anti-corruption laws and sanctions regulations could lead to financial penalties being imposed on us, limits being placed on our activities, our authorizations and licenses being revoked, damage to our reputation and other consequences that could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition. Further, litigation or investigations relating to alleged or suspected violations of anti-corruption laws and sanctions regulations could be costly.

 

Real Estate Considerations and Risks Associated with the International Projects that GGH Operates

 

The Real Estate Industry and International Investing

 

Investments in our real estate projects are subject to numerous risks, including the following:

 

  Increased expenses and uncertainties related to international operations;
  Risks associated with Argentina’s past political uncertainties, economic crises, and high inflation;
  Risks associated with currency, exchange, and import/export controls;
  Adverse changes in national or international economic conditions;
  Adverse local market conditions;
  Construction and renovation costs exceeding original estimates;
  Price increases in basic raw materials used in construction;
  Delays in construction and renovation projects;
  Changes in availability of debt financing;
  Risks due to dependence on cash flow;

 

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  Changes in interest rates, real estate taxes and other operating expenses;
  Changes in the financial condition of tenants, buyers and sellers of properties;
  Competition with others for suitable properties;
  Changes in environmental laws and regulations, zoning laws and other governmental rules and fiscal policies;
  Changes in energy prices;
  Changes in the relative popularity of properties;
  Risks related to the potential use of leverage;
  Costs associated with the need to periodically repair, renovate and re-lease space;
  Increases in operating costs including real estate taxes;
  Risks and operating problems arising out of the presence of certain construction materials;
  Environmental claims arising in respect of real estate acquired with undisclosed or unknown environmental problems or as to which inadequate reserves had been established;
  Uninsurable losses and acts of terrorism;
  Acts of God; and
  Other factors beyond the control of the Company.

 

Investment in Argentine real property is subject to economic and political risks.

 

Investment in foreign real estate requires consideration of certain risks typically not associated with investing in the United States. Such risks include, among other things, trade balances and imbalances and related economic policies, unfavorable currency exchange rate fluctuations, imposition of exchange control regulation by the United States or foreign governments, United States and foreign withholding taxes, limitations on the removal of funds or other assets, policies of governments with respect to possible nationalization of their industries, political difficulties, including expropriation of assets, confiscatory taxation and economic or political instability in foreign nations or changes in laws which affect foreign investors. Any one of these risks has the potential to reduce the value of our real estate holdings in Argentina and have a material adverse effect on the Company’s financial condition.

 

The real estate market is uncertain in Argentina.

 

President Macri had attempted to boost the real estate market in Argentina by lifting various currency restrictions. However, the real estate market has not rebounded from the crippling effect of past currency controls, and the Argentine government has recently imposed additional currency controls under new President Alberto Fernández. As a result on the currency controls and the decline in the Argentine peso, the real estate market in Argentina is uncertain. Continued investment in real estate in Argentina is very risky and could never materialize in the way our business model plans. However, waiting to act on certain real estate endeavors will have negative consequences if the market sees an increase in competitiveness. The main competitive factors in the real estate development business include availability and location of land, price, funding, design, quality, reputation and partnerships with developers. Although there is little to no leverage used to acquire real estate in Argentina, thereby greatly lessening the impact of foreclosures in the market, the practice of cash acquisitions can be a barrier to entry in the real estate market. A number of residential and commercial developers and real estate services companies may desire to enter the market and compete with the Company in seeking land for acquisition, financial resources for development and prospective purchasers. To the extent that one or more of the Company’s competitors are able to acquire and develop desirable properties, as a result of greater financial resources or otherwise, the Company’s business could be materially and adversely affected. If the Company is not able to acquire and develop sought-after property as promptly as its competitors, or should the level of competition increase, its financial position and results of operations could be adversely affected.

 

An adverse economic environment for real estate companies such as a credit crisis may adversely impact our results of operations and business prospects significantly.

 

The success of our business and profitability of our operations depend on continued investment in real estate and access to capital and debt financing. A prolonged crisis of confidence in real estate investments and lack of credit for acquisitions may constrain our growth. In order to pursue acquisitions, we may need access to equity capital and/or debt financing. Any disruptions in the financial markets may adversely impact our ability to refinance existing debt and the availability and cost of credit in the near future. Any consideration of sales of existing properties or portfolio interests may be offset by lower property values. Our ability to make scheduled payments or to refinance our existing debt obligations depends on our operating and financial performance, which in turn is subject to prevailing economic conditions. If a recurrence of the disruptions in financial markets remains or arises in the future, there can be no assurances that government responses to such disruptions will restore investor confidence, stabilize the markets or increase liquidity and the availability of credit.

 

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There are limitations on the ability of foreign persons to own Argentinian real property.

 

In December 2011, the Argentine Congress passed Law 26,737 (Regime for Protection of National Domain over Ownership, Possession or Tenure of Rural Land) limiting foreign ownership of rural land, even when not in border areas, to a maximum of 15 percent of all national, provincial or departmental productive land. Ownership by the same foreign owner (i.e., foreign individuals, foreign entities or local entities controlled by a foreign person) may not exceed 1,000 hectares (2,470 acres) of the ‘core area’ or the ‘equivalent surface’ determined according to the location of the lands. The Interministerial Council of Rural Lands, the enforcement agency, defines the ‘equivalent surface’ taking into consideration: (1) the proportion of the ‘rural lands’ in relation to the municipality, department and province; and (2) the potential and quality of the rural lands for their use and exploitation. Every non-Argentine national must request permission from the National Land Registry of Argentina in order to acquire non-urban real property.

 

As approved, the law has been in effect since February 28, 2012 but is not retroactive. Furthermore, the general limit of 15 percent ownership by non-nationals must be reached before the law is applicable and each provincial government may establish its own maximum area of ownership per non-national.

 

Pursuant to Executive Order No. 550/13, as published on the Official Bulletin on May 9, 2013, in the Mendoza province, the maximum area allowed per type of production and activity per non-national is as follows: Mining—25,000 hectares (61,776 acres), cattle ranching—18,000 hectares (44,479 acres), cultivation of fruit or vines—15,000 hectares (37,066 acres), horticulture—7,000 hectares (17,297 acres), private lot—200 hectares (494 acres), and other—1,000 hectares (2,471 acres). A hectare is a unit of area in the metric system equal to approximately 2.471 acres. However, these maximums will only be considered if the total 15 percent is reached. Currently, the Company owns approximately 4,138 acres of Argentine rural land through AWE, 2,050 acres are considered land held for cultivation of fruit or vines and 2,088 was purchased during 2017 to provide additional access to AWE. Because the maximum area for this type of land allowed per non-national is 25,000 hectares, the Company is compliant with the law’s limit, were it to apply today. Costs of compliance with the law may be significant in the future. Although currently, as reported by La Nación, the area under foreign ownership in Mendoza is approximately 8.45 percent, this law may apply to the Company in the future and could affect the Company’s ability to acquire additional real property in Argentina. The inability to acquire additional land could curtail the Company’s growth strategy. Management is not currently aware of any change that would require the Company to divest itself of its properties.

 

Our business is subject to extensive regulation in Argentina and the U.S. and additional regulations may be imposed in the future.

 

Many aspects of the Company’s businesses face substantial government regulation and oversight. Our activities are subject to Argentine federal, state and municipal laws, and to regulations, authorizations and licenses required with respect to construction, zoning, use of the soil, environmental protection and historical patrimony, consumer protection, antitrust and other requirements, all of which affect our ability to acquire land, buildings and shopping malls, develop and build projects and negotiate with customers.

 

Additionally, hotel properties are subject to numerous laws, including those relating to the preparation and sale of food and beverages, including alcohol and those governing relationships with employees such as minimum wage and maximum working hours, overtime, working conditions, hiring and firing employees and work permits. Additionally, hotel properties may be subject to various laws relating to the environment and fire and safety. Compliance with these laws may be time consuming and costly and may adversely affect hotel operations in Argentina.

 

Another example is the wine industry which is subject to extensive regulation by local and foreign governmental agencies concerning such matters as licensing, trade and pricing practices, permitted and required labeling, advertising and relations with wholesalers and retailers. New or revised regulations in Argentina, or other foreign countries and U.S. import laws could have a material adverse effect on Algodon Wine Estates’ financial condition or operations.

 

In addition, companies in this industry are subject to increasing tax rates, the creation of new taxes and changes in the taxation regime. We are required to obtain licenses and authorizations with different governmental authorities in order to carry out our projects. Maintaining our licenses and authorizations can be a costly provision. In the case of non-compliance with such laws, regulations, licenses and authorizations, we may face fines, project shutdowns, and cancellation of licenses and revocation of authorizations.

 

In addition, public authorities may issue new and stricter standards, or enforce or construe existing laws and regulations in a more restrictive manner, which may force us to make expenditures to comply with such new rules. Development activities are also subject to risks relating to potential delays in obtaining or an inability to obtain all necessary zoning, environmental, land-use, development, building, occupancy and other required governmental permits and authorizations. Any such delays or failures to obtain such government approvals may have an adverse effect on our business.

 

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Finally, because many of the Company’s properties are located in Argentina, they are subject to its laws and to the laws of various local districts that affect ownership and operational matters. Compliance with applicable rules and regulations requires significant management attention and any failure to comply could jeopardize the Company’s ability to operate or sell a particular property and could subject the Company to monetary penalties, additional costs required to achieve compliance, and potential liability to third parties. Regulations governing the Argentinian real estate industry as well as environmental laws have tended to become more restrictive over time. The Company cannot assure that new and stricter standards will not be adopted or become applicable to the Company, or that stricter interpretations of existing laws and regulations will not be implemented.

 

There may be a lack of liquidity in the underlying real estate.

 

Because a substantial part of the assets managed by the Company will be invested in illiquid real estate, there is a risk that the Company will be unable to realize its investment objectives through the sale or other disposition of properties at attractive prices or to do so at a desirable time. This could hamper the Company’s ability to complete any exit strategy with regard to investments it has structured or participated in.

 

There is limited public information about real estate in Argentina.

 

There is generally limited publicly available information about real estate in Argentina, and the Company will be conducting its own due diligence on future transactions. Moreover, it is common in Argentinian real estate transactions that the purchaser bears the burden of any undiscovered conditions or defects and has limited recourse against the seller of the property. Should the pre-acquisition evaluation of the physical condition of any future investments have failed to detect certain defects or necessary repairs, the total investment cost could be significantly higher than expected. Furthermore, should estimates of the costs of developing, improving, repositioning or redeveloping an acquired property prove too low or estimates of the market demand or the time required to achieve occupancy prove too optimistic, the profitability of the investment may be adversely affected.

 

Our construction projects may be subject to delays in completion due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Due to COVID-19, construction on homes was temporarily halted from March to September but has resumed. Algodon Wine Estates has required significant redevelopment construction (including potentially building residential units for Algodon Wine Estates). The quality of the construction and the timely completion of these projects are factors affecting operations and significant delays or cost overruns could materially adversely affect the Company’s operations. Delays in construction or defects in materials and/or workmanship have occurred due to the COVID-19 pandemic and may continue to occur pending the course of the pandemic. In addition, defects could delay completion of one or all of the projects or, if such defects are discovered after completion, expose the Company to liability. In addition, construction projects may also encounter delays due to adverse weather conditions, natural disasters, fires, delays in the provision of materials or labor, accidents, labor disputes, unforeseen engineering, environmental or geological problems, disputes with contractors and subcontractors, or other events. If any of these materialize, there may be a delay in the commencement of cash flow and/or an increase in costs that may adversely affect the Company.

 

The Company may be subject to certain losses that are not covered by insurance.

 

GGH, its affiliates and/or subsidiaries currently maintain insurance coverage against liability to third parties and property damage as is customary for similarly situated businesses, however the Company does not hold any country-risk insurance. There can be no assurance, however, that insurance will continue to be available or sufficient to cover any such risks. Insurance against certain risks, such as earthquakes, floods or terrorism may be unavailable, available in amounts that are less than the full market value or replacement cost of the properties or subject to a large deductible. In addition, there can be no assurance the particular risks which are currently insurable will continue to be insurable on an economic basis.

 

Boutique Hotel

 

Algodon Mansion closed to the public on March 18, 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in a decrease in revenues. Algodon Mansion reopened for business on November 11, 2020 with COVID-19 measures implemented, but the operation of the mansion will continue to be affected by governmental restrictions on business and travel, which remain uncertain.

 

In addition to the risks relating to COVID-19 and the risks that apply to all real estate investments, hotel and hospitality investments are generally subject to additional risks which include:

 

  Competition for guests from other hotels based upon brand affiliations, room rates offered including those via internet wholesalers and distributors, customer service, location and the condition and upkeep of each hotel in general and in relation to other hotels in their local market;

 

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  Specific competition from well-established operators of “boutique” or “lifestyle” hotel brands which have greater financial resources and economies of scale;
     
  Adverse effects of general and local political and/or economic conditions;
     
  Dependence on demand from business and leisure travelers, which may fluctuate and be seasonal;
     
  Increases in energy costs, airline fares and other expenses related to travel, which may deter travel;
     
  Impact of financial difficulties of the airline industry and potential reduction in demand on hotel rooms;
     
  Overbuilding in the hotel industry, especially in individual markets; and
     
  Disruption in business and leisure travel patterns relating to perceived fears of terrorism or political unrest.

 

The boutique hotel market is highly competitive.

 

The Company competes in the boutique hotel segment, which is highly competitive, is closely linked to economic conditions and may be more susceptible to changes in economic conditions than other segments of the hospitality industry. Competition within the boutique hotel segment is also likely to continue to increase in the future. Competitive factors include name recognition, quality of service, convenience of location, quality of the property, pricing, and range and quality of dining, services and amenities offered. Additionally, success in the boutique hotel market depends, largely, on an ability to shape and stimulate consumer tastes and demands by producing and maintaining innovative, attractive, and exciting properties and services. The Company competes in this segment against many well-known companies that have established brand recognition and significantly greater financial resources. If it is unable to achieve and maintain consumer recognition for its brand and otherwise compete with well-established competitors, the Company’s business and operations will be negatively impacted. There can be no assurance that the Company will be able to compete successfully in this market or that the Company will be able to anticipate and react to changing consumer tastes and demands in a timely manner.

 

Historically, the Company’s hotel incurs overhead costs higher than the total gross margin.

 

Currently, the overhead costs for the Algodon Mansion hotel do not exceed its total gross margin, however historically the Algodon Mansion hotel has operated at a loss. There can be no assurance that the Algodon Mansion hotel will continue to operate at a profit or that the Company will be able to continue increasing revenues and lowering the hotel’s overhead cost in the future.

 

The profitability of the Company’s hotels will depend on the performance of hotel management.

 

The profitability of the Company’s hotel and hospitality investment will depend largely upon the ability of management that it employs to generate revenues that exceed operating expenses. The failure of hotel management to manage the hotels effectively would adversely affect the cash flow received from hotel and hospitality operations.

 

We are subject to risks affecting the hotel industry.

 

In addition, the profitability of our hotels depends on:

 

  our ability to form successful relationships with international and local operators to run our hotels;
  changes in tourism and travel trends, including seasonal changes and changes due to pandemic outbreaks, weather phenomena or other natural events and social unrest;
  affluence of tourists, which can be affected by a slowdown in global economy; and
  taxes and governmental regulations affecting wages, prices, interest rates, construction procedures and costs.

 

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Algodon Wine Estates and Land Development

 

The profitability of Algodon Wine Estates will depend on consumer demand for leisure and entertainment, and such demand has been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Algodon Wine Estates is dependent on demand from leisure and business travelers, which may be seasonal and fluctuate based on numerous factors. Business and leisure travel patterns have been severely disrupted, and remain disrupted as a result of COVID-19. Governments have imposed quarantines and travel restrictions, which have led to a significant decrease in both business and leisure travel. COVID-19 has also negatively impacted the global economy, which will likely result in a decrease in discretionary consumer spending. As a result, the consumer demand for leisure travel will decline. The duration of the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on travel is uncertain, but the Company anticipates that COVID-19 will continue to negatively impact Algodon Wine Estates through 2021 and possibly beyond.

 

Demand may also decrease with increases in energy costs, airline fares and other expenses related to travel, which may deter travel. Business and leisure travel patterns may be disrupted due to perceived fears of local unrest or terrorism both abroad and in Argentina. General and local economic conditions and their effects on travel may adversely affect Algodon Wine Estates.

 

The tourism industry is highly competitive and may affect the success of the Company’s projects.

 

The success of the tourism and real estate development projects underway at Algodon Wine Estates depends primarily on recreational and secondarily on business tourists and the extent to which the Company can attract tourists to the region and to its properties. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control website currently states that travelers should avoid all travel to Argentina due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On March 15, 2020, the Argentine government announced the closing of its borders to foreigners. As of March 20, 2021, international tourism by foreign residents, except those foreign residents with direct family contact with an Argentinian, remains prohibited through April 9, 2021.

 

Generally, the Company is in competition with other hotels and developers based upon brand affiliations, room rates, customer service, location, facilities, and the condition and upkeep of the lodging in general, and in relation to other lodges/hotels/investment opportunities in the local market. Algodon Wine Estates operates as a multi-functional resort and winery and serves a niche market, which may be difficult to target. Algodon Wine Estates may also be disadvantaged because of its geographical location in the greater Mendoza region. While the San Rafael area continues to increase in popularity as a tourist destination, it is currently less traveled than other regions of Mendoza, where tourism is more established.

 

The profitability of Algodon Wine Estates will depend on consumer demand for leisure and entertainment.

 

Algodon Wine Estates is dependent on demand from leisure and business travelers, which may be seasonal and fluctuate based on numerous factors. Business and leisure travel patterns have been severely disrupted, and remain disrupted as a result of COVID-19, which may adversely affect Algodon Wine Estates and consequently, our revenues. Demand may decrease with increases in energy costs, airline fares and other expenses related to travel, which may deter travel. Business and leisure travel patterns may be disrupted due to perceived fears of local unrest or terrorism both abroad and in Argentina. General and local economic conditions and their effects on travel may adversely affect Algodon Wine Estates and our revenues.

 

Development of the Company’s projects will proceed in phases and is subject to unpredictability in costs and expenses.

 

It is contemplated that the expansion and development plans of Algodon Wine Estates will be completed in phases and each phase will present different types and degrees of risk. Algodon Wine Estates may be unable to acquire the property it needs for further expansion or be unable to raise the property to the standards anticipated for the ALGODON® brand. This may be due to difficulties associated with obtaining required future financing, purchasing additional parcels of land, or receiving the requisite zoning approvals. Algodon Wine Estates may have problems with local laws and customs that cannot be predicted or controlled. Development costs may also increase due to inflation or other economic factors.

 

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The ability of the Company to operate its businesses may be adversely affected by U.S. and Argentine government regulations.

 

Many aspects of the Company’s businesses face substantial government regulation and oversight. For example, hotel properties are subject to numerous laws, including those relating to the preparation and sale of food and beverages, including alcohol and those governing relationships with employees such as minimum wage and maximum working hours, overtime, working conditions, hiring and firing employees and work permits. Additionally, hotel properties may be subject to various laws relating to the environment and fire and safety. Compliance with these laws may be time consuming and costly and may adversely affect hotel operations in Argentina.

 

Another example is the wine industry which is subject to extensive regulation by local and foreign governmental agencies concerning such matters as licensing, trade and pricing practices, permitted and required labeling, advertising and relations with wholesalers and retailers. New or revised regulations in Argentina, or other foreign countries and U.S. import laws could have a material adverse effect on Algodon Wine Estates’ financial condition or operations.

 

Finally, because many of the Company’s properties are located in Argentina, they are subject to its laws and to the laws of various local districts that affect ownership and operational matters. Compliance with applicable rules and regulations requires significant management attention and any failure to comply could jeopardize the Company’s ability to operate or sell a particular property and could subject the Company to monetary penalties, additional costs required to achieve compliance, and potential liability to third parties. Regulations governing the Argentinian real estate industry as well as environmental laws have tended to become more restrictive over time. The Company cannot assure that new and stricter standards will not be adopted or become applicable to the Company, or that stricter interpretations of existing laws and regulations will not be implemented.

 

Algodon Wine Estates—Vineyard and Wine Production

 

The COVID-19 pandemic affected the sales of the Company’s wines by driving demand online.

 

The COVID-19 pandemic did not adversely affect Algodon’s wine production at Algodon Wine Estate’s winery in San Rafael, Mendoza, but did spur the Company to avoid losses from in-person sales by expediting the build and launch of e-commerce platforms in Argentina (algodonwines.com.ar) and in the U.S. (algodonfinewines.com). As the status of retail stores selling our wines remains uncertain due to COVID-19 restrictions, we may see a drop in in-person sales of our wines.

 

Competition within the wine industry could have a material adverse effect on the profitability of wine sales.

 

The operation of a winery is a highly competitive business and the dollar amount and unit volume of wine sales through the ALGODON® label could be negatively affected by a variety of competitive factors. Many other local and foreign producers of wine have significantly greater financial, technical, marketing and public relations resources and wine producing expertise than the Company, and many have more refined, developed and established brands. The wine industry is characterized by fickle demand and success in this industry relies heavily on successful branding. Thus, the ALGODON® brand concept may not appeal to a large segment of the market, preventing the Company from successfully competing against other Argentinian and foreign brands. Wholesaler, retailer and consumer purchasing decisions are also influenced by the quality, pricing and branding of the product, as compared to competitive products. Unit volume and dollar sales could be adversely affected by pricing, purchasing, financing, operational, advertising or promotional decisions made by competitors, which could affect the supply of, or consumer demand for, product produced under the ALGODON® brand.

 

Algodon Wine Estates is subject to import and export rules and taxes which may change.

 

Algodon Wine Estates primarily exports its products to the United States and Europe. In countries to which Algodon Wine Estates intends to export its products, Algodon Wine Estates will be subject to excise and other taxes on wine products in varying amounts, which are subject to change. Significant increases in excise or other taxes could have a material adverse effect on Algodon Wine Estates’ financial condition or operations. Political and economic instabilities of foreign countries may also disrupt or adversely affect Algodon Wine Estates’ ability to export or make profitable sales in that country. Moreover, exporting costs are subject to macro-economic forces that affect the price of transporting goods (e.g., the cost of oil and its impact on transportation systems), and this could have an adverse impact on operations.

 

The Company’s business would be adversely affected by natural disasters.

 

Natural disasters, floods, hurricanes, fires, earthquakes, hailstorms or other environmental disasters could damage the vineyard, its inventory, or other physical assets of the Algodon Wine Estates’ resort, including the golf course. If all or a portion of the vineyard or inventory were to be lost prior to sale or distribution as a result of any adverse environmental activity, or if the golf course and facilities were damaged, Algodon Wine Estates would become significantly less attractive as a destination resort and therefore lose a substantial portion of its anticipated profit and cash flow. Such a loss would seriously harm the business and reduce overall sales and profits. The Company is not insured against crop losses as a result of weather conditions or natural disasters. Moderate, but irregular weather conditions may adversely affect the grapes, making any one season less profitable than expected. In addition to weather conditions, many other factors, such as pruning methods, plant diseases, pests, the number of vines producing grapes, and machine failure could also affect the quantity and quality of grapes. Any of these conditions could cause an increase in the price of production or a reduction in the amount of wine Algodon Wine Estates is able to produce and a resulting reduction in business sales and profits.

 

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Climate change, or legal, regulatory or market measures to address climate change, may negatively affect our business, operations or financial performance, and water scarcity or poor water quality could negatively impact our production costs and capacity.

 

Our wine business depends upon agricultural activity and natural resources. There has been much public discussion related to concerns that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere may have an adverse impact on global temperatures, weather patterns and the frequency and severity of extreme weather and natural disasters. Severe weather events and climate change may negatively affect agricultural productivity in the regions from which we presently source our agricultural raw materials such as grapes. Decreased availability of our raw materials may increase the cost of goods for our products. Severe weather events or changes in the frequency or intensity of weather events can also disrupt our supply chain, which may affect production operations, insurance cost and coverage, as well as delivery of our products to wholesalers, retailers and consumers.

 

Water is essential in the production of our products. The quality and quantity of water available for use is important to the supply of grapes and our ability to operate our business. Water is a limited resource in many parts of the world and if climate patterns change and droughts become more severe, there may be a scarcity of water or poor water quality that may affect our production costs or impose capacity constraints. Management is unaware of any current water issues in Argentina.

 

Various diseases, pests and certain weather conditions may negatively affect our business, operations or financial performance.

 

Various diseases, pests, fungi, viruses, drought, frosts and certain other weather conditions could affect the quality and quantity of grapes other agricultural raw materials available, decreasing the supply of our products and negatively impacting profitability. We cannot guarantee that our grape suppliers or our suppliers of other agricultural raw materials will succeed in preventing contamination in existing vineyards or fields or that we will succeed in preventing contamination in our existing vineyards or future vineyards we may acquire. Future government restrictions regarding the use of certain materials used in growing grapes or other agricultural raw materials may increase vineyard costs and/or reduce production of grapes or other crops. Growing agricultural raw materials also requires adequate water supplies. A substantial reduction in water supplies could result in material losses of grape crops and vines or other crops, which could lead to a shortage of our product supply.

 

Contamination could adversely affect our sales.

 

The success of our brands depends upon the positive image that consumers have of those brands. Contamination, whether arising accidentally or through deliberate third-party action, or other events that harm the integrity or consumer support for our brands, could adversely affect their sales. Contaminants in raw materials, packaging materials or product components purchased from third parties and used in the production of our wine or defects in the fermentation or distillation process could lead to low beverage quality as (i) a perceived failure to maintain high ethical, social and environmental standards for all of our operations and activities; (ii) a perceived failure to address concerns relating to the quality, safety or integrity of our products; our environmental impact, including use of agricultural materials, packaging, water and energy use, and waste management; or (iii) effects that are perceived as insufficient to promote the responsible use of alcohol.

 

Gaucho Group—Buenos Aires

(e-commerce, fashion & leather accessories brand)

 

Gaucho Group, Inc. (“GGI”) has a limited operating history and no revenue and we may not recognize any revenue from the Gaucho – Buenos Aires™ line of business in the future.

 

Though a majority-owned subsidiary of GGH, GGI operates as a standalone business, responsible for its own financing and operations and therefore subject to all the risks inherent in a newly established business venture. GGI began operations in 2019 and has few assets and a limited operating history. It has not yet had any significant sales or been able to confirm that its business model can or will be successful. It has not had any significant revenue from inception through December 31, 2020. Our projections for its growth have been developed internally and may not prove to be accurate. As such, given its start-up status with an unproven business model, there is a substantial risk regarding GGI’s ability to succeed and the risk that neither we nor GGI ever recognize revenue in the future from the Gaucho – Buenos Aires™ line of business. The risk of a total loss exists when dealing with start-up companies.

 

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The markets in which GGI operates and plans to operate are highly competitive, and such competition could cause its business to be unsuccessful.

 

We expect GGI to face intense competition for its Argentine-sourced and designed products. There are many companies around the world that produce similar high-end products, though not necessarily with the Gaucho style that we plan to incorporate into GGI’s products. However, whether or not consumers find our products superior or more desirable than other high-end producers, including many branded products with established worldwide reputations and brands, such as Coach, Ralph Lauren, Hermès, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Prada, Kate Spade and Calvin Klein, cannot yet be determined. In addition, GGI faces competition through third party distribution channels, such as e-commerce, department stores and specialty stores.

 

Competition is based on a number of factors, including, without limitation, the following:

 

  Anticipating and responding to changing consumer demands in a timely manner
  Establishing and maintaining favorable brand-name recognition
  Determining and maintaining product quality
  Maintaining and growing market share
  Developing quality and differentiated products that appeal to consumers
  Establishing and maintaining acceptable relationships with retail customers
  Pricing products appropriately
  Providing appropriate service and support to retailers
  Optimizing retail and supply chain capabilities
  Protecting intellectual property

 

In addition, many of GGI’s anticipated competitors will be significantly larger and more diversified than it and will likely have significantly greater financial, technological, manufacturing, sales, marketing and distribution resources than it does. Their greater capabilities in these areas may enable them to better withstand periodic downturns in the high-end product sector in which GGI plans to compete. They may also be able to compete more effectively on the basis of price and production, and to develop new products more quickly. The general availability of manufacturing contractors and agents also allows new entrants easy access to the markets in which GGI competes, which may increase the number of its competitors and adversely affect its competitive position and its business. Any increased competition, or GGI’s or our failure to adequately address any of these competitive factors, could result in the ability to generate significant revenues, which could adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition.

 

If we or GGI are unable to continue to compete effectively on any of the factors mentioned above, GGI may never be able to generate operating profits and our business, financial condition and results of operations would be adversely affected.

 

Our business is subject to risks associated with importing products, and the imposition of additional duties and any changes to international trade agreements could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.

 

There are risks inherent to importing our products. We anticipate that virtually all of our products will be manufactured in Argentina and thus could be subject to duties when imported into the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia, as applicable. Furthermore, if the United States imposes import duties or other protective import measures, other countries could retaliate in ways that could harm the international distribution of our products.

 

We may not be able to protect our intellectual property rights, which may cause us to incur significant costs.

 

The success of our future business will in part be dependent on intellectual property rights. We rely primarily on copyright, trade secret and trademark law to protect our intellectual property. For example, the process for obtaining federal trademark registration of our service mark “Gaucho—Buenos Aires™” was completed and the service mark was registered on April 28, 2020. However, a third party may copy or otherwise obtain and use our proprietary information without our authorization. Policing unauthorized use of our intellectual property is difficult, particularly in light of the global nature of the Internet and because the laws of other countries may afford us little or no effective protection of our intellectual property. Potentially expensive litigation may be necessary in the future to enforce our intellectual property rights, to protect our trade secrets, to determine the validity and scope of the proprietary rights of others or to defend against claims of infringement or invalidity.

 

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Privacy breaches and other cyber security risks related to our business could negatively affect our reputation, credibility and business.

 

We are likely to be dependent on information technology systems and networks for a significant portion of our direct-to-consumer sales, including our e-commerce sites and retail business credit card transaction authorization and processing. We are responsible for storing data relating to our customers and employees and also rely on third party vendors for the storage, processing and transmission of personal and Company information. In addition to taking the necessary precautions ourselves, we require that third-party service providers implement reasonable security measures to protect our employees’ and customers’ identity and privacy. We do not, however, control these third-party service providers and cannot guarantee that no electronic or physical computer break-ins or security breaches will occur in the future. Our systems and technology are vulnerable from time-to-time to damage, disruption or interruption from, among other things, physical damage, natural disasters, inadequate system capacity, system issues, security breaches, “hackers,” email blocking lists, computer viruses, power outages and other failures or disruptions outside of our control. A significant breach of customer, employee or Company data could damage our reputation, our relationship with customers and our brands, and could result in lost sales, sizable fines, significant breach-notification costs and lawsuits, as well as adversely affect our results of operations. We may also incur additional costs in the future related to the implementation of additional security measures to protect against new or enhanced data security and privacy threats, or to comply with state, federal and international laws that may be enacted to address those threats.

 

We may not be able to accurately predict consumer trends and preferences and our estimate of the size of the market may prove to be inaccurate.

 

Success in creating demand is dependent on GGI’s ability to continue to accurately predict consumer trends and preferences. If consumer tastes do not coincide with GGI’s product offerings, it could materially affect demand, having an adverse impact on our operations.

 

It is difficult to estimate the size of the market and predict the rate at which the market for our products will grow, if at all. While our market size estimate was made in good faith and is based on assumptions and estimates we believe to be reasonable, this estimate may not be accurate. If our estimates of the size of our addressable market are not accurate, our potential for future growth may be less than we currently anticipate, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, and results of operations.

 

Additionally, we hope to enter new markets in which we may have limited or no operating experience. There can be no assurance that we will be able to achieve success and/or profitability in our new markets. The success of these new markets will be affected by the different competitive conditions, consumer tastes, and discretionary spending patterns within the new markets, as well as by our ability to generate market awareness of GGI’s Gaucho Group brand. When we enter highly competitive new markets or territories in which we have not yet established a market presence, the realization of our revenue targets and desired profit margins may be more susceptible to volatility and/or more prolonged than anticipated.

 

GGI is only in the beginning stages of its advertising campaign.

 

GGI briefly ran digital ad campaigns in the third and fourth quarters of 2019, and has relied since then on word-of-mouth and social media to generate attention to its new brand and to attract customers. In November 2020, GGI relaunched its digital ad campaign, with a limited budget, with the goal of attracting new customers. In the future, it is likely that management will conclude that additional paid advertising and marketing is necessary to attract and retain customers, in which case operating expenses could increase and financial results could be adversely affected.

 

Labor laws and regulations may adversely affect the Company.

 

Various labor laws and regulations govern operations and relationships with employees, including minimum wages, breaks, overtime, fringe benefits, safety, working conditions and citizenship requirements. Changes in, or any failure to comply with, these laws and regulations could subject the Company to fines or legal actions. Settlements or judgments that are not insured or in excess of coverage limitations could also have a material adverse effect on the Company’s business. This could result in a disruption in the work force, sanctions and adverse publicity. Significant government-imposed increases in minimum wages, paid or unpaid leaves of absence and mandated health benefits could be detrimental to the Company’s profitability.

 

The employees of TAR and AWE are members of a labor unions in Argentina. The terms of any collective bargaining agreement(s) could result in increased labor costs. In addition, any failure to negotiate an agreement in a timely manner could result in an interruption of operations, which would materially and adversely affect the business, results of operations and its financial condition.

 

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GGI relies on its suppliers to maintain consistent quality.

 

The ability of GGI to maintain consistent quality depends in part upon its ability to acquire quality materials needed for its products from reliable sources in accordance with certain specifications, at certain prices, and in sufficient quantities. As such, GGI is and will likely continue to be dependent on its suppliers. This presents possible risks of shortages, interruptions and price fluctuations. If any suppliers do not perform adequately or otherwise fail to distribute products or supplies required for our business, management may not be able to replace the suppliers in a short period of time on acceptable terms. The inability to replace suppliers in a short period of time on acceptable terms could increase costs and could cause shortages of product that may force management to remove certain items from GGI’s product offerings.

 

Risks of Being an Emerging Growth Company

 

We are an “emerging growth company” and our election of reduced reporting requirements applicable to emerging growth companies may make our common stock less attractive to investors.

 

We are an “emerging growth company” as defined in the JOBS Act. For as long as we continue to be an emerging growth company, we may take advantage of exemptions from various reporting requirements that are applicable to other public companies that are not emerging growth companies, including (1) not being required to comply with the auditor attestation requirements of Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, or Section 404, (2) reduced disclosure obligations regarding executive compensation in this annual report and our periodic reports and proxy statements and (3) exemptions from the requirements of holding a nonbinding advisory vote on executive compensation and stockholder approval of any golden parachute payments not previously approved. In addition, as an emerging growth company, we are only required to provide two years of audited financial statements and two years of selected financial data in this annual report. We could be an emerging growth company for up to 5 years following the completion of this Offering, although circumstances could cause us to lose that status earlier, including if we are deemed to be a “large accelerated filer,” which occurs when the market value of our common stock that is held by non-affiliates exceeds $700 million as of the prior June 30, or if we have total annual gross revenue of $1.07 billion or more during any fiscal year before that time, in which cases we would no longer be an emerging growth company as of the following December 31, or if we issue more than $1.0 billion in non-convertible debt during any three-year period before that time, in which case we would no longer be an emerging growth company immediately. Even after we no longer qualify as an emerging growth company, we could still qualify as a “smaller reporting company,” which would allow us to take advantage of many of the same exemptions from disclosure requirements including: (1) the reduced disclosure obligations regarding executive compensation, and (2) being required to provide only two years of audited financial statements.

 

General Corporate Business Considerations

 

Insiders continue to have substantial control over the Company.

 

As of March 30, 2021, the Company’s directors and executive officers hold the current right to vote approximately 5.5% of the Company’s outstanding common stock. Of this total, 4.1% is owned or controlled, directly or indirectly by Company’s CEO, Scott Mathis. In addition, the Company’s directors and executive officers have the right to acquire additional shares which could increase their voting percentage significantly. As a result, Mr. Mathis acting alone, and/or many of these individuals acting together, may have the ability to exert significant control over the Company’s decisions and control the management and affairs of the Company, and also to determine the outcome of matters submitted to stockholders for approval, including the election and removal of a director, the removal of any officer and any merger, consolidation or sale of all or substantially all of the Company’s assets. Accordingly, this concentration of ownership may harm a future market price of the shares by:

 

  Delaying, deferring or preventing a change in control of the Company;
     
  Impeding a merger, consolidation, takeover or other business combination involving the Company; or
     
  Discouraging a potential acquirer from making a tender offer or otherwise attempting to obtain control of the Company.

 

The loss of our Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer could adversely affect the Company’s businesses.

 

We depend on the continued performance of Scott Mathis, our Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, who has contributed significantly to the expertise of our team and the position of our business. If we lose the services of Mr. Mathis, and are unable to locate a suitable replacement in a timely manner, it could have a material adverse effect on our business. We currently hold key man life insurance for Mr. Mathis the benefit of the Company.

 

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Revenues are currently insufficient to pay operating expenses and costs which may result in the inability to execute the Company’s business concept.

 

The Company’s operations have to date generated significant operating losses, as reflected in the financial information included in this registration statement. Management’s expectations in the past regarding when operations would become profitable have been not been realized, and this has continued to put a strain on working capital. Business and prospects must be considered in light of the risks, expenses, and difficulties frequently encountered by companies in the early stages of operations. If the Company is not successful in addressing these risks, its business and financial condition will be adversely affected. In light of the uncertain nature of the markets in which the Company operates, it is impossible to predict future results of operations.

 

We may incur losses and liabilities in the course of business which could prove costly to defend or resolve.

 

Companies that operate in one or more of the businesses that we operate face significant legal risks. There is a risk that we could become involved in litigation wherein an adverse result could have a material adverse effect on our business and our financial condition. There is a risk of litigation generally in conducting a commercial business. These risks often may be difficult to assess or quantify and their existence and magnitude often remain unknown for substantial periods of time. We may incur significant legal expenses in defending against litigation.

 

The Company is dependent upon additional financing which it may not be able to secure in the future.

 

As it has in the past, the Company will likely continue to require financing to address its working capital needs, continue its development efforts, support business operations, fund possible continuing operating losses, and respond to unanticipated capital requirements. For example, the continuing development of the Algodon Wine Estates project requires significant ongoing capital expenditures as well as the investment in GGI’s line of luxury goods. There can be no assurance that additional financing or capital will be available and, if available, upon acceptable terms and conditions. To the extent that any required additional financing is not available on acceptable terms, the Company’s ability to continue in business may be jeopardized and the Company may need to curtail its operations and implement a plan to extend payables and reduce overhead until sufficient additional capital is raised to support further operations. There can be no assurance that such a plan will be successful. Such a plan could have a material adverse effect on the Company’s business, financial condition and results of operations, and ultimately the Company could be forced to discontinue its operations, liquidate and/or seek reorganization in bankruptcy.

 

Our level of debt may adversely affect our operations and our ability to pay our debt as it becomes due.

 

The fact that we are leveraged may affect our ability to refinance existing debt or borrow additional funds to finance working capital requirements, acquisitions and capital expenditures. In addition, the recent disruptions in the global financial markets, including the bankruptcy and restructuring of major financial institutions, may adversely impact our ability to refinance existing debt and the availability and cost of credit in the future. In such conditions, access to equity and debt financing options may be restricted and it may be uncertain how long these economic circumstances may last. This would require us to allocate a substantial portion of cash flow to repay principal and interest, thereby reducing the amount of money available to invest in operations, including acquisitions and capital expenditures. Our leverage could also affect our competitiveness and limit our ability to changes in market conditions, changes in the real estate industry and economic downturns.

 

We may not be able to generate sufficient cash flows from operations to satisfy our debt service requirements or to obtain future financing. If we cannot satisfy our debt service requirements or if we default on any financial or other covenants in our debt arrangements, the lenders and/or holders of our debt will be able to accelerate the maturity of such debt or cause defaults under the other debt arrangements. Our ability to service debt obligations or to refinance them will depend upon our future financial and operating performance, which will, in part, be subject to factors beyond our control such as macroeconomic conditions and regulatory changes in Argentina. If we cannot obtain future financing, we may have to delay or abandon some or all of our planned capital expenditures, which could adversely affect our ability to generate cash flows and repay our obligations as they become due.

 

The Company may not pay dividends on its common stock.

 

The Company has not paid dividends to date on its common stock. The Company does not contemplate or anticipate declaring or paying any dividends with respect to its common stock. Due to the continuing devaluation of the peso, the Company has concluded in that it must still tread cautiously and manage its available cash resources prudently and the decisions were made to not declare any additional cash dividends with respect to its common stock.

 

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The Company reserves the right to declare dividends when operations merit. However, payments of any cash dividends in the future will depend on our financial condition, results of operations, and capital requirements as well as other factors deemed relevant by our board of directors. It is anticipated that earnings, if any, will be used to finance the development and expansion of the Company’s business.

 

The Chief Executive Officer and the Chief Financial Officer of GGH are also involved in outside businesses which may affect their ability to fully devote their time to the Company.

 

Scott Mathis, Chairman of the Board of Directors of GGH, Chief Executive Officer, President and Treasurer of GGH is also the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Hollywood Burger Holdings, Inc., a private company he founded which is developing Hollywood-themed fast food restaurants in the United States. His duties as CEO of Hollywood Burger Holdings, Inc. consume less than 10% of his time, but which may interfere with Mr. Mathis’ duties as the CEO of GGH.

 

In addition, Maria Echevarria, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer of GGH also serves as the Chief Financial Officer of Hollywood Burger Holdings, Inc. Ms. Echevarria’s duties as CFO of Hollywood Burger Holdings Inc. consume approximately 10% of her time, which may interfere with her duties as the CFO of GGH.

 

The Company’s officers and directors are indemnified against certain conduct that may prove costly to defend.

 

The Company may have to spend significant resources indemnifying its officers and directors or paying for damages caused by their conduct. The Company’s amended and restated certificate of incorporation, as amended (the “Certificate of Incorporation”), exculpates the Board of Directors and its affiliates from certain liability, and the Company has procured directors’ and officers’ liability insurance to reduce the potential exposure to the Company in the event damages result from certain types of potential misconduct. Furthermore, the General Corporation Law of the State of Delaware (the “DGCL”) provides for broad indemnification by corporations of their officers and directors, and the Company’s Certificate of Incorporation implement this indemnification to the fullest extent permitted under applicable law as it currently exists or as it may be amended in the future. Consequently, subject to the applicable provisions of the DGCL and to certain limited exceptions in the Certificate of Incorporation, the Company’s officers and directors will not be liable to the Company or to its stockholders for monetary damages resulting from their conduct as an officer or director.

 

Our bylaws designate the federal and state courts of the State of Delaware as the sole and exclusive forum for certain types of actions and proceedings that may be initiated by our stockholders, which could limit our stockholders’ ability to obtain a favorable judicial forum for disputes with us or our directors, officers or employees.

 

Our bylaws provide that, unless we consent in writing to the selection of an alternative forum, the federal and state courts of the State of Delaware are the exclusive forum for certain types of actions and proceedings, not including claims under the federal securities laws such as the Securities Act or the Exchange Act, that may be initiated by our stockholders with respect to our company and our directors. This choice of forum provision may limit a stockholder’s ability to bring a claim in a judicial forum that the stockholder believes is favorable for disputes with us or our directors, which may discourage meritorious claims from being asserted against us and our directors. Alternatively, if a court were to find this provision of our charter inapplicable to, or unenforceable in respect of, one or more of the specified types of actions or proceedings, we may incur additional costs associated with resolving such matters in other jurisdictions, which could adversely affect our business, financial condition or results of operations.

 

Our financial controls and procedures may not be sufficient to accurately or timely report our financial condition or results of operations, which may adversely affect investor confidence in us and, as a result, the value of our common stock.

 

As a public company, we are required to maintain internal control over financial reporting and to report any material weaknesses in such internal controls. Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act requires that we evaluate and determine the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting and provide a management report on internal control over financial reporting.

 

The effectiveness of our controls and procedures may in the future be limited by a variety of factors, including:

 

  faulty human judgements and simple errors, omissions or mistakes;
     
  fraudulent actions of an individual or collusion of two or more people;
     
  inappropriate management override of procedures; and
     
  the possibility that any enhancements to controls and procedures may still not be adequate to assure timely and accurate financial information.

 

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If we identify material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting in the future, if we are unable to comply with the requirements of Section 404 in a timely manner, and if we are unable to assert that our internal control over financial reporting is effective, investors may lose confidence in the accuracy and completeness of our financial reports and the market price of our common stock could be adversely affected, and we could become subject to investigations by the stock exchange on which our securities are listed, the SEC, or other regulatory authorities, which could require additional financial and management resources.

 

Although we qualify as an emerging growth company, we also qualify as a smaller reporting company and under the smaller reporting company rules we are subject to scaled disclosure requirements that may make it more challenging for investors to analyze our results of operations and financial prospects.

 

Currently, we qualify as both a “smaller reporting company” and an “emerging growth company” as defined by Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act. However, we have elected to provide disclosure under the smaller reporting company rules and therefore we are able to provide simplified executive compensation disclosures in our filings and have certain other decreased disclosure obligations in our filings with the SEC, including being required to provide only two years of audited financial statements in annual reports. Consequently, it may be more challenging for investors to analyze our results of operations and financial prospects.

 

Furthermore, we are a non-accelerated filer as defined by Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act, and, as such, are not required to provide an auditor attestation of management’s assessment of internal control over financial reporting, which is generally required for SEC reporting companies under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Because we are not required to, and have not, had our auditors provide an attestation of our management’s assessment of internal control over financial reporting, a material weakness in internal controls may remain undetected for a longer period.

 

We cannot assure you that the market price of our common stock will remain high enough to comply with Nasdaq’s minimum bid price requirement and if we are not able to comply with the applicable continued listing requirements or standards of Nasdaq, Nasdaq could delist our common stock.

 

There can be no assurance that the market price of our common stock will remain at the level required for continuing compliance with that requirement. It is not uncommon for the market price of a company’s common stock to decline in the period following a reverse stock split. Other factors unrelated to the number of shares of our common stock outstanding, such as negative financial or operational results, could adversely affect the market price of our common stock and thus jeopardize our ability to meet or maintain the Nasdaq’s minimum bid price requirement.

 

In order to maintain our listing, we must satisfy minimum financial and other continued listing requirements and standards, including those regarding director independence and independent committee requirements, minimum stockholders’ equity, minimum share price, and certain corporate governance requirements. There can be no assurances that we will be able to comply with such applicable listing standards.

 

Compliance with public reporting requirements will affect the Company’s financial resources.

 

The Company is subject to certain public reporting obligations as required by federal securities laws, regulations and agencies. The compliance with such reporting requirements will require the company to incur significant legal, accounting and other administrative expenses. Additionally, because the Company’s stock is now trading on Nasdaq, the Company is subject to additional rules and disclosure obligations as required by Nasdaq, increasing compliance expenses further. The expenses the Company may incur will have a significant impact on the Company’s financial resources and may lead to a decrease in the value and price of our common stock.

 

In the event that our common stock is delisted from Nasdaq, U.S. broker-dealers may be discouraged from effecting transactions in shares of our common stock because they may be considered penny stocks and thus be subject to the penny stock rules.

 

The SEC has adopted a number of rules to regulate “penny stock” that restricts transactions involving stock which is deemed to be penny stock. Such rules include Rules 3a51-1, 15g-1, 15g-2, 15g-3, 15g-4, 15g-5, 15g-6, 15g-7, and 15g-9 under the Exchange Act. These rules may have the effect of reducing the liquidity of penny stocks. “Penny stocks” generally are equity securities with a price of less than $5.00 per share (other than securities registered on certain national securities exchanges or quoted on Nasdaq if current price and volume information with respect to transactions in such securities is provided by the exchange or system). Our shares of common stock have in the past constituted, and may again in the future constitute, “penny stock” within the meaning of the rules. The additional sales practice and disclosure requirements imposed upon U.S. broker-dealers may discourage such broker-dealers from effecting transactions in shares of our common stock, which could severely limit the market liquidity of such shares of common stock and impede their sale in the secondary market.

 

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A U.S. broker-dealer selling penny stock to anyone other than an established customer or “accredited investor” (generally, an individual with a net worth in excess of $1,000,000 or an annual income exceeding $200,000, or $300,000 together with his or her spouse) must make a special suitability determination for the purchaser and must receive the purchaser’s written consent to the transaction prior to sale, unless the broker-dealer or the transaction is otherwise exempt. In addition, the “penny stock” regulations require the U.S. broker-dealer to deliver, prior to any transaction involving a “penny stock”, a disclosure schedule prepared in accordance with SEC standards relating to the “penny stock” market, unless the broker-dealer or the transaction is otherwise exempt. A U.S. broker-dealer is also required to disclose commissions payable to the U.S. broker-dealer and the registered representative and current quotations for the securities. Finally, a U.S. broker-dealer is required to submit monthly statements disclosing recent price information with respect to the “penny stock” held in a customer’s account and information with respect to the limited market in “penny stocks”.

 

Stockholders should be aware that, according to the SEC, the market for “penny stocks” has suffered in recent years from patterns of fraud and abuse. Such patterns include (i) control of the market for the security by one or a few broker-dealers that are often related to the promoter or issuer; (ii) manipulation of prices through prearranged matching of purchases and sales and false and misleading press releases; (iii) “boiler room” practices involving high-pressure sales tactics and unrealistic price projections by inexperienced sales persons; (iv) excessive and undisclosed bid-ask differentials and markups by selling broker-dealers; and (v) the wholesale dumping of the same securities by promoters and broker-dealers after prices have been manipulated to a desired level, resulting in investor losses. Our management is aware of the abuses that have occurred historically in the penny stock market. Although we do not expect to be in a position to dictate the behavior of the market or of broker-dealers who participate in the market, management will strive within the confines of practical limitations to prevent the described patterns from being established with respect to our securities.

 

You may experience future dilution as a result of future debt or equity offerings.

 

In order to raise additional capital, we may in the future offer additional shares of our common stock or other securities convertible into or exchangeable for our common stock that could result in further dilution to investors purchasing our common stock in this Offering or result in downward pressure on the price of our common stock. Debt financing, if available, may involve agreements that include covenants limiting or restricting our ability to take certain actions, such as incurring debt, making capital expenditures or declaring dividends. We may sell shares of our common stock or other securities in other offerings at prices that are higher or lower than the prices paid by investors in this Offering, and investors purchasing shares or other securities in the future could have rights superior to existing stockholders.

 

Raising additional funds through debt or equity financing could be dilutive and may cause the market price of our common stock to decline. We still may need to raise additional funding which may not be available on acceptable terms, or at all. Failure to obtain additional capital may force us to delay, limit, or terminate our product development efforts or other operations.

 

To the extent that we raise additional capital through the sale of equity or convertible debt securities, your ownership interest may be diluted, and the terms of these securities may include liquidation or other preferences that adversely affect your rights as a stockholder. Furthermore, any additional fundraising efforts may divert our management from their day-to-day activities, which may adversely affect our ability to develop and commercialize our therapeutic candidates.

 

We estimate that our current cash and cash equivalents, which includes the net proceeds from the Offering, as well as the forecasted cash generated from operating activities which includes projected increases in revenues, will fund our operations for at least 12 months after the issuance date of these financial statements. Without giving effect to the anticipated net proceeds from this Offering, our existing capital resources are not sufficient to meet our projected operating requirements beyond the first quarter of 2021. This raises substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern one year from the date of our consolidated financial statements issued on September 30, 2020. The net proceeds from this Offering may remove such doubt regarding our ability to continue as a going concern. We have based this estimate on assumptions that may prove to be wrong, and we could utilize our available capital resources sooner than we currently expect. In addition, the expected net proceeds of this Offering may not be sufficient for us to fund any of our product candidates through regulatory approval, and we may need to raise substantial additional capital to complete the development and commercialization of our product candidates. We may continue to seek funds through equity or debt financings, collaborative or other arrangements with corporate sources, or through other sources of financing. Additional funding may not be available to us on acceptable terms, or at all. Any failure to raise capital as and when needed, as a result of insufficient authorized shares or otherwise, could have a negative impact on our financial condition and on our ability to pursue our business plans and strategies.

 

There is no public market for our warrants.

 

There is no established public trading market for our warrants, and we do not expect a market to develop. In addition, we do not intend to apply to list such warrants on any national securities exchange or other nationally recognized trading system, including Nasdaq. Without an active market, the liquidity of such warrants will be limited.

 

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Holders of the warrants will not have rights of holders of our shares of common stock until such warrants are exercised.

 

Our warrants do not confer any rights of share ownership on their holders, but rather merely represent the right to acquire shares of our common stock at a fixed price. Until holders of warrants acquire shares of our common stock upon exercise of the warrants, holders of warrants will have no rights with respect to our shares of common stock underlying such warrants.

 

ITEM 1B. UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS

 

Not applicable.

 

ITEM 2. PROPERTIES

 

GGH and its operating subsidiaries currently do not have physical corporate headquarters due to the termination of the Company’s lease in May 2020 and COVID-19 restrictions. All employees and consultants are currently working from home. Management plans to search for new office space once the COVID-19 pandemic is under control.

 

The Algodon – Recoleta, SRL (“TAR”) owns a hotel in the Recoleta section of Buenos Aires called Algodon Mansion, located at 1647 Montevideo Street. The hotel is approximately 20,000 square feet and has ten suites, a restaurant, a dining room, and a luxury spa and pool.

 

Algodon Wine Estates owns and operates a resort property located Ruta Nacional 144 Km 674, Cuadro Benegas, San Rafael (5603) in Argentina which consists of 4,138 acres. The property has a winery, 9-hole golf course (the remaining 9 of 18 holes to be developed), tennis courts, dining and a hotel.

 

TAR has guaranteed a loan of $600,000 for the Algodon Mansion and the resort property and the properties are subject to encumbrances.

 

On April 8, 2021, GGI entered into a seven-year lease for retail space located at 112 N.E. 41st Street, Suite 106, in Miami, Florida to sell its Gaucho – Buenos Aires™ products. The space is approximately 1,530 square feet.

 

ITEM 3. LEGAL PROCEEDINGS

 

From time to time, GGH and its subsidiaries and affiliates are subject to litigation and arbitration claims incidental to its business. Such claims may not be covered by its insurance coverage, and even if they are, if claims against GGH and its subsidiaries are successful, they may exceed the limits of applicable insurance coverage. We are not involved in any litigation that we believe is likely, individually or in the aggregate, to have a material adverse effect on our consolidated financial condition, results of operations or cash flows.

 

ITEM 4. MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES

 

Not applicable.

 

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PART II

 

ITEM 5. MARKET FOR THE REGISTRANT’S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES.

 

Our common stock is presently quoted on Nasdaq effective as of February 16, 2021, and the common stock commenced trading on Nasdaq effective as of February 17, 2021 under the symbol “VINO”. On April 8, 2021, the closing bid price of our common stock on the Nasdaq was $4.31 per share.

 

A 15:1 reverse stock split of the Company’s common stock was effected on February 16, 2021 (the “Reverse Stock Split”). All share and per share information has been retroactively adjusted to give effect to the Reverse Stock Split for all periods presented, unless otherwise indicated. The following table sets forth the range of high and low bids on a post-split basis as reported on the OTC Markets. The prices reflect inter-dealer prices, do not include retail mark-ups, markdowns or commissions, and may not necessarily reflect actual transactions.

 

Fiscal Year 2020  High   Low 
         
First Quarter  $6.00   $3.18 
Second Quarter  $6.00   $3.20 
Third Quarter  $9.75   $3.45 
Fourth Quarter  $9.30   $3.00 

 

Fiscal Year 2019  High   Low 
         
First Quarter  $7.20   $3.75 
Second Quarter  $9.60   $1.92 
Third Quarter  $9.00   $3.78 
Fourth Quarter  $6.99   $3.66 

 

During the years ended 2020 and 2019, the Company declared $1,626,306 and $0, respectively, of dividends on its Series B Preferred Stock and issued shares of common stock of the Company in the amount of $1,534,086 to holders of Series B Preferred Stock, due to some holders waiving their right to receive the dividends. The Company has not declared any dividends with respect to its common stock.

 

There were approximately 800 holders of record of the Company’s common stock as of April 9, 2021.

 

Securities Authorized for Issuance Under Equity Compensation Plans

 

The following table sets forth securities authorized for issuance under equity compensation plans as of December 31, 2020:

 

Plan category  Number of securities
 to be issued upon
exercise of outstanding options,
warrants and rights
   Weighted-average
exercise price of
outstanding options, warrants and rights
   Number of securities
remaining available
for future issuance
under equity
compensation plans
(excluding securities
reflected in column (a))
 
   (a)   (b)   (c) 
Equity compensation plans approved by security holders:               
2016 Plan   189,562   $18.47    - 
2018 Plan   437,017    7.10    7,243,624 
Equity compensation plans not approved by security holders   -    -    - 
Total   626,579   $10.54    7,243,624 

 

The above table does not include securities of GGI available for issuance under the 2018 Gaucho Plan.

 

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Recent Sales of Unregistered Securities.

 

The following is a summary of all securities that we have sold in the last year, since January 1, 2020 without registration under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”).

 

On February 17, 2020, the Board of Directors approved the offer and sale of a series of unsecured convertible promissory notes (the “Convertible Notes”) in an amount up to $1,500,000 and most recently on July 17, 2020, unanimously approved an increase to $8,000,000 to accredited investors with a substantive pre-existing relationship with the Company, in a private placement. The Convertible Notes each have the same terms with a maturity date of December 31, 2020 (the “Maturity Date”) and mandatory conversion into common stock of the Company registered under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”) with a 15% discount price to the offer and sale of the Company’s common shares upon a registered offering and uplist to Nasdaq (the “Mandatory Conversion”). At any time before the Mandatory Conversion but no later than the Maturity Date, holders of the Convertible Notes will have the right to convert the total principal amount of the Convertible Notes, together with all accrued and unpaid interest thereon into shares of unregistered common stock of the Company at the closing price of the Company’s stock as quoted on the over-the-counter market as of the trading day prior to receipt of the notice to convert. Between February 20, 2020 and March 31, 2020, the company sold Convertible Notes in an aggregate amount of $725,000 to accredited investors who are all stockholders of the Company. No general solicitation was used, no commissions were paid, and the Company relied on the exemption from registration available under Section 4(a)(2) and Rule 506(b) of Regulation D of the Securities Act, in connection with the sales. A Form D was filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on March 11, 2020.

 

Between April 1, 2020 and June 30, 2020, the Company sold Convertible Notes in an aggregate amount of $633,420 to accredited investors with a substantive pre-existing relationship with the Company. No general solicitation was used, no commissions were paid, and the Company relied on the exemption from registration available under Section 4(a)(2) and Rule 506(b) of Regulation D of the Securities Act, in connection with the sales. A Form D was filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on March 11, 2020, an amended Form D was filed on May 29, 2020 and an amended Form D was filed on July 13, 2020.

 

Between July 1, 2020 and August 21, 2020, the Company sold Convertible Notes in an aggregate amount of $604,499 to accredited investors with a substantive pre-existing relationship with the Company. No general solicitation was used, no commissions were paid, and the Company relied on the exemption from registration available under Section 4(a)(2) and Rule 506(b) of Regulation D of the Securities Act, in connection with the sales. A Form D was filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on March 11, 2020, an amended Form D was filed on May 29, 2020, an amended Form D was filed on July 13, 2020, and an amended Form D was filed on August 10, 2020.

 

On October 1, 2020, the Company converted all its remaining Convertible Notes into Units at a price of $5.10 per Unit (1 share of common stock and 1 warrant to purchase 1 share of common stock at an exercise price equal to the purchase of the Unit, expiring 12 months from the date of issuance of the Units), such that the Company issued an aggregate of 395,136 Units to accredited investors upon the automatic conversion of principal and interest of $1,962,919 and $52,164, respectively, outstanding under the New Convertible Notes. A Form D was filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on March 11, 2020, an amended Form D was filed on May 29, 2020, an amended Form D was filed on July 13, 2020, and an amended Form D was filed on August 10, 2020.

 

On August 17, 2020 the Board of Directors approved the offer and sale of a series of unsecured convertible promissory notes (the “New Convertible Notes”) in an amount up to $10,000,000 and a subsequent offering of Units at $5.10 per Unit to accredited investors, each of whom have a substantive pre-existing relationship with the Company. The New Convertible Notes provide for a mandatory conversion into Units upon the authorization by the stockholders of a sufficient number of authorized common stock of the Company, which occurred on September 2, 2020. A total of $1,259,000 of New Convertible Notes were sold between August 25, 2020 and September 1, 2020 and on September 2, 2020, a total of $1,260,314 (of which $1,314 constituted interest on the New Convertible Notes) were automatically converted into Units. Between September 3, 2020 and September 30, 2020, a total of $1,341,800 of New Convertible Notes were sold and automatically converted into Units on the same day of purchase. No general solicitation was used, no commissions were paid, and the Company relied on the exemption from registration available under Section 4(a)(2) and Rule 506(b) of Regulation D of the Securities Act, in connection with the sales. A Form D was filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on November 12, 2020.

 

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Between October 14, 2020 and December 31, 2020, the Company conducted an offering of Units and received an aggregate amount of $230,000 from accredited investors with a substantive pre-existing relationship with the Company. No general solicitation was used, no commissions were paid, and the Company relied on the exemption from registration available under Section 4(a)(2) and Rule 506(b) of Regulation D of the Securities Act, in connection with the sales. A Form D for this offering was filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on December 7, 2020, and amended Form D filings for this offering were filed on January 5, 2021, January 14, 2021, and February 22, 2021.

 

On October 3, 2020, the Company issued 9,509 shares of common stock at a price per share of $5.55 in settlement of its matching obligations for the year ended December 31, 2019 under the Company’s 401(k) profit sharing plan. For these sales of securities, no general solicitation was used, and the Company relied on the exemption from registration available under Section 4(a)(2) and/or Rule 506(b) of Regulation D promulgated under the Securities Act with respect to transactions by an issuer not involving any public offering.

 

On October 23, 2020, the Company issued 8,334 shares of common stock at a price per share of $4.95 to Middleton White Imports LTD (“Middleton”) as consideration for unpaid consulting services provided by Middleton and James Galtieri. No general solicitation was used, no commissions were paid, and the Company relied on the exemption from registration available under Section 4(a)(2) and Rule 506(b) of Regulation D of the Securities Act, in connection with the sales.

 

Also on October 23, 2020, the Board of Directors declared a dividend for holders of Series B Convertible Preferred Shares (relating to the nine consecutive calendar quarters with the first being June 30, 2018 and the last being June 30, 2020), payable in common stock at a rate equivalent to the average closing price of the common stock on the seven trading days preceding October 23, 2020. The Company issued 183,700 shares of common stock at a price per share of $8.36 to the Series B holders for a total of $1,534,086 in dividends. No general solicitation was used, no commissions were paid, and the Company relied on the exemption from registration available under Section 4(a)(2) and Rule 506(b) of Regulation D of the Securities Act, in connection with the sales. A Form D was filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on January 11, 2021.

 

On October 30, 2020, the Company entered into an advisory agreement with Kingswood Capital Markets and issued 67,693 shares of common stock as consideration, which represents 1% of the fully diluted common stock outstanding of the Company. No general solicitation was used, no commissions were paid, and the Company relied on the exemption from registration available under Section 4(a)(2) and Rule 506(b) of Regulation D of the Securities Act, in connection with the sales. A Form D was filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on December 7, 2020.

 

As part of the Company’s convertible note financing in early 2018, the Company sold promissory notes totaling $1,163,354 to John I. Griffin and his wholly owned company JLAL Holdings Ltd. The notes have a 90-day maturity, bear interest at 8% per annum and were convertible into the Company’s common stock at a 10% discount to the price used for the sale of the Company’s common stock in the Company’s next private placement offering. These notes matured on June 30, 2019. On January 8, 2021, the Company issued 237,012 shares of common stock and warrants to purchase 237,012 shares of common stock in total to Mr. Griffin and JLAL Holdings Ltd., reflecting a conversion of $1,163,354 in principal and $258,714 in interest. No general solicitation was used, no commissions were paid, and the Company relied on the exemption from registration available under Section 4(a)(2) and Rule 506(b) of Regulation D of the Securities Act, in connection with the sales. A Form D was filed with the SEC on May 23, 2018.

 

Please refer to Item 9B—Other Information regarding sales of unregistered securities of the Company in 2020.

 

Purchases of Equity Securities by the Issuer and Affiliated Purchasers

 

Other than as set forth herein or in the Company’s current reports on Form 8-K or quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, there have not been any purchases of equity securities by the Company or its affiliated persons for the year ended December 31, 2020.

 

Use of Proceeds from Registered Offering

 

On February 16, 2021, the SEC declared effective our registration statement on Form S-1 (File No. 333-233586), as amended, filed in connection with an underwritten public offering (the “Offering”) of units (“Units”) at an offering price of $6.00 per Unit, each consisting of one share of common stock, par value $0.01 per share (“Common Stock”), and one common stock purchase warrant to purchase one share of Common Stock (the “Warrant”) pursuant to that certain underwriting agreement, dated February 16, 2021, between the Company and the underwriters named therein. We filed a prospectus with the SEC on February 18, 2021 (the “Prospectus”).

 

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On February 19, 2021, the Company closed the Offering and sold and issued an aggregate of 1,333,334 shares of Common Stock and 1,533,333 Warrants, for approximate gross proceeds of $8.0 million, before deducting underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses of $715,000, for net proceeds of approximately $7,285,000. No offering expenses were paid directly or indirectly to any of our directors or officers (or their associates) or persons owning ten percent or more of any class of our equity securities or to any other affiliates. We issued the representative of such underwriters a five-year common stock purchase warrant exercisable at $7.50 per share for up to 15,333 shares of Common Stock, exercisable as of August 19, 2021.

 

The sole book-running managing underwriter of the offering was Kingswood Capital Markets, a division of Benchmark Investments, Inc. R.F. Lafferty Co., Inc. also participated in the offering.

 

Upon receipt, the net proceeds from the Offering were held in cash and cash equivalents, primarily bank deposits and money market funds. Through March 30, 2021, we have used a portion of the net proceeds from our Offering for working capital and for general corporate purposes, which include, but are not limited to, inventory production and marketing for the Company’s subsidiary, Gaucho Group, Inc., costs of this Offering, and operating expenses. There has been no material change in the planned use of proceeds from our Offering from those disclosed in the Prospectus.

 

ITEM 6. Selected Financial Data

 

As a smaller reporting company, we are not required to provide the information required by this Item.

 

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ITEM 7. MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS

 

The following discussion and analysis of financial condition and results of operations should be read in conjunction with our audited consolidated financial statements and the accompanying notes included elsewhere in this prospectus. References in this Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations to “us,” “we,” “our,” and similar terms refer to Gaucho Group Holdings, Inc., a Delaware corporation, and its subsidiaries. This discussion includes forward-looking statements, as that term is defined in the federal securities laws, based upon current expectations that involve risks and uncertainties, such as plans, objectives, expectations and intentions. Actual results and the timing of events could differ materially from those anticipated in these forward-looking statements as a result of a number of factors. Words such as “anticipate,” “estimate,” “plan,” “continuing,” “ongoing,” “expect,” “believe,” “intend,” “may,” “will,” “should,” “could,” and similar expressions are used to identify forward-looking statements.

 

We caution you that these statements are not guarantees of future performance or events and are subject to a number of uncertainties, risks and other influences, many of which are beyond our control, which may influence the accuracy of the statements and the projections upon which the statements are based. See “Special Note - Forward-Looking Statements.” Our actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in the forward-looking statements as a result of certain factors discussed in “Risk Factors” and elsewhere in this prospectus. Any one or more of these uncertainties, risks and other influences could materially affect our results of operations and whether forward-looking statements made by us ultimately prove to be accurate. Our actual results, performance and achievements could differ materially from those expressed or implied in these forward-looking statements. We undertake no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether from new information, future events or otherwise.

 

A 15:1 reverse stock split of the Company’s common stock was effected on February 16, 2021 (the “Reverse Stock Split”). All share and per share information has been retroactively adjusted to give effect to the Reverse Stock Split for all periods presented, unless otherwise indicated.

 

Special Note Regarding Emerging Growth Company Status and Smaller Reporting Company Status

 

Currently we qualify as both an “emerging growth company” and as a “smaller reporting company” (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act). We are allowed and have elected to comply with the smaller reporting company rules which allows us to omit certain information, including three years of year-to-year comparisons and tabular disclosure of contractual obligations, from this Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations. However, we have provided all information for the periods presented that we believe to be appropriate and necessary.

 

Overview

 

Gaucho Group Holdings, Inc. (“GGH” or the “Company”) positions its e-commerce leather goods, accessories, and fashion brand, Gaucho – Buenos Aires™, as one of luxury, creating a platform for the global consumer to access their piece of Argentine style and high-end products. With a concentration on leather goods, ready-to-wear and accessories, this is the luxury brand in which Argentina finds its contemporary expression. By the end of the first quarter of 2021, the Company anticipates launching Gaucho Casa, a Home & Living line of luxury textiles and home accessories, which will be marketed and sold on the Gaucho – Buenos Aires e-commerce platform. Gaucho Casa challenges traditional lifestyle collections with its luxury textiles and home accessories rooted in the singular spirit of the gaucho aesthetic. GGH seeks to grow its direct-to-consumer online products to global markets in the United States, Asia, the United Kingdom, Europe, and Argentina. We intend to focus on e-commerce and scalability of the Gaucho – Buenos Aires and Gaucho Casa brands, as real estate in Argentina is politically sensitive.

 

GGH’s goal is to become recognized as the LVMH (“Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy”) of South America’s leading luxury brands. Through one of its wholly owned subsidiaries, GGH also owns and operates legacy investments in the boutique hotel, hospitality and luxury vineyard property markets. This includes a golf, tennis and wellness resort, as well as an award winning, wine production company concentrating on Malbecs and Malbec blends. Utilizing these wines as its ambassador, GGH seeks to further develop its legacy real estate, which includes developing residential vineyard lots located within its resort.

 

Until May 31, 2020, the Company’s senior management was based at its corporate office in New York City. Due to COVID-19, we have terminated the corporate office lease and senior management works remotely. GGH’s local operations are managed by professional staff with substantial hotel, hospitality and resort experience in Buenos Aires and San Rafael, Argentina.

 

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Recent Developments and Trends

 

We temporarily closed our hotel, restaurant, winery operations, and golf and tennis operations. Recently, we have been able to reopen the Algodon Mansion as of November 11, 2020 with COVID-19 measures implemented. We have also been able to reopen our winery and golf and tennis facilities recently with COVID-19 measures implemented. Also due to COVID-19, construction on homes was temporarily halted from March to September but has resumed. However, as of December 21, 2020, international tourism by foreign residents, except those foreign residents of neighboring countries, is prohibited through January 31, 2021. Additionally, on December 24, 2020, Argentina removed the exception for foreign residents of neighboring countries through January 9, 2021.

 

We reduced expenses by negotiating an early termination of our office lease at 135 Fifth Avenue in New York City, and all employees and contractors are currently working from home. In addition, we are reviewing our labor needs to run the administrative side of the Company in New York.

 

On April 13, 2020, GGI’s warehouse and fulfillment center, Bergen Logistics, announced it would operate on a four-day schedule from Monday through Thursday, allowing for a 72-hour window from Friday through Sunday for any possible surface viruses to self-eliminate. On June 12, 2020, Bergen Logistics announced that it would increase its warehouse operations to a Sunday through Friday schedule. The warehouse stores and ships all of the items that are for sale on our e-commerce website. Any e-commerce orders that may be received during the time of shutdown are only be fulfilled once the fulfillment center re-opens. Likewise, during their shutdown, the warehouse would not be able to receive and process any returned merchandise from customers, nor would the warehouse be able to receive any merchandise from our manufacturers.

 

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we also experienced significant delays in product development, production, and shipping from our overseas manufacturing partners, many of whom have been on complete lockdown for the safety of their workers. Some of our manufacturing partners have even had to close permanently. Because of this, we are in the process of pursuing new vendors.

 

Due to the events stated above, it was necessary for us to reduce our email marketing efforts to our customer database, as we were not able to fulfill orders. This resulted in a significant reduction in our web traffic and sales.

 

We expect that the cash on hand, which includes the net proceeds from the Offering, as well as the forecasted cash generated from operating activities which includes projected increases in revenues, will fund our operations for a least 12 months after the issuance date of these financial statements.

 

Since inception, our operations have primarily been funded through proceeds received in equity and debt financings. We believe we have access to capital resources and continue to evaluate additional financing opportunities. There is no assurance that we will be able to obtain funds on commercially acceptable terms, if at all. There is also no assurance that the amount of funds we might raise will enable us to complete our development initiatives or attain profitable operations.

 

The Company is continuing to monitor the outbreak of COVID-19 and the related business and travel restrictions, and changes to behavior intended to reduce its spread, and the related impact on the Company’s operations, financial position and cash flows, as well as the impact on its employees. Due to the rapid development and fluidity of this situation, the magnitude and duration of the pandemic and its impact on the Company’s future operations and liquidity is uncertain. While there could ultimately be a material impact on operations and liquidity of the Company, as of the date of this prospectus, the impact cannot be determined at this time.

 

On May 6, 2020, the Company entered into a potentially forgivable loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration (“SBA”) pursuant to the Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) enacted by Congress under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (15 U.S.C. 636(a)(36)) (the “CARES Act”), resulting in net proceeds of $242,487 (the “PPP Loan”). To facilitate the PPP Loan, the Company entered into a note payable agreement with Santander Bank, N.A. as the lender. On March 26, 2021, the SBA forgave the PPP Loan in full

 

Under the terms of the CARES Act, as amended by the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020, the Company is eligible to apply for and receive forgiveness for all or a portion of their respective PPP Loan. Such forgiveness will be determined, subject to limitations, based on the use of the loan proceeds for certain permissible purposes as set forth in the PPP, including, but not limited to, payroll costs (as defined under the PPP) and mortgage interest, rent or utility costs (collectively, “Qualifying Expenses”) incurred during the 24 weeks subsequent to funding, and on the maintenance of employee and compensation levels, as defined, following the funding of the PPP Loan. The Company used the proceeds of the PPP Loan for Qualifying Expenses. However, no assurance is provided that the Company will be able to obtain forgiveness under state law of the PPP Loan in whole or in part. It is possible that the loan may not be forgiven in full under state law, which could have a negative impact on the Company’s cash flow.

 

The extent of the impact, if any, will depend on future developments, including actions taken to contain COVID-19. See also “Risk Factors” for more information.

 

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In December 2020, the independent members of our Board approved an extension to our President and CEO’s employment agreement to expire on June 30, 2021. Please see “Executive Compensation” for additional information.

 

In January 2021, Wine Enthusiast rated and reviewed our Algodon 2012 PIMA Red Blend Mendoza and awarded it 91 points.

 

Investment in foreign real estate requires consideration of certain risks typically not associated with investing in the United States. Such risks include, trade balances and imbalances and related economic policies, unfavorable currency exchange rate fluctuations, imposition of exchange control regulation by the United States or foreign governments, United States and foreign withholding taxes, limitations on the removal of funds or other assets, policies of governments with respect to possible nationalization of their industries, political difficulties, including expropriation of assets, confiscatory taxation and economic or political instability in foreign nations or changes in laws which affect foreign investors. See also Risk Factors for more information.

 

Over the past nine months, GGH has been the process of pivoting operations to focus primarily on e-commerce sales of our Gaucho—Buenos Aires brand, in addition to our wines which also serve as ambassador to our 4,138-acre wine and real estate development. We believe that the change in focus and ongoing restructuring of our Argentine operations can have a positive impact and overall improvement on our business.

 

Our goal for 2021 is to focus on actions that can result in immediate revenues, such as e-commerce sales, continued deeding of lots and real estate sales and greater distribution of our wines by supporting our importer and their network partners. We began our big push of e-commerce sales through our launch of the Gaucho—Buenos Aires brand at New York Fashion Week on September 12, 2019 to create momentum through the holiday season and bring in revenue.

 

In November 2020, we hired a communications agency, Skoog Co., to provide exposure to all of our brands. Skoog Co. specializes in brand strategy, communications, media relations, and social and digital content development, and their goals for us is to create a wholistic marketing campaign to drive awareness and sales for Gaucho – Buenos Aires, Gaucho Casa, Algodon Fine Wines, as well as our real estate business segments.

 

In the fourth quarter of 2020 we micro tested U.S. markets and focus groups to gauge demand and iron out early details of our digital marketing strategy. We continue to test campaigns with micro audiences in the first quarter of 2021, in anticipation of a larger roll out of campaigns after the offering closes.

 

In the third quarter of 2021, we anticipate launching a popup shop in Los Angeles for the summer season, assuming our production schedule is on track to receive our products here in the U.S. With popup shops, we can for example, work with local public relations (“PR”) companies to get the word out, as these opportunities are typically promoted via direct mail, PR and digital marketing efforts, as well as word of mouth and strategic geographic positioning. See page 57 below for more information on popup shops.

 

In 2021, we expect that our Gaucho brand sales will grow to represent a majority of our revenue, with our wine and real estate business making up the remainder.

 

Financings

 

In 2020 and 2019, we raised, net of repayments, approximately $4,687,000 and $5,700,000, respectively of new capital through the issuance of debt and equity. We used the net proceeds from the closings of these private placement offerings for general working capital and capital expenditures.

 

On February 19, 2021, the Company closed on an underwritten public offering of 1,333,334 Units at $6.00 per unit for approximate gross proceeds of $8 million, before deducting underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses. We used the net proceeds for general working capital and capital expenditures.

 

Initiatives

 

We have implemented a number of initiatives designed to expand revenues and control costs. Revenue enhancement initiatives include expanding marketing, investment in additional winery capacity and developing new real estate development revenue sources. Our goal for 2021 is to focus on actions that can result in immediate revenues, such as e-commerce sales, continued deeding of lots and real estate sales and greater distribution of our wines by supporting our importer and their network partners.

 

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Cost reduction initiatives include investment in equipment that will decrease our reliance on subcontractors, plus outsourcing and restructuring of certain functions. Further, we have begun to reduce operational expenses by approximately $800,000 per year by reducing administrative costs including non-renewal of the lease in August 2020 for our New York headquarters and reduction in workforce hours and marketing expenses. Some of these significant savings will be immediate, others will be unfolding throughout time. Our goal is ultimately to reduce expenses of between $1-2 million in 2021. Our goal is to become more self-sufficient and less dependent on outside financing.

 

Consolidated Results of Operations

 

Year Ended December 31, 2020 Compared to the Year Ended December 31, 2019

 

The following table represents selected items in our consolidated statements of operations for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively:

 

   For the Years Ended 
   December 31, 
   2020   2019 
         
Sales  $635,789   $1,284,437 
Cost of sales   (726,686)   (1,040,339)
Gross (loss) profit   (90,897)   244,098 
Operating Expenses (Income)          
Selling and marketing   320,768    482,677 
General and administrative   4,814,312    6,428,625 
Depreciation and amortization   170,189    196,438 
Gain from insurance settlement   (30,240)   (165,508)
Total operating expenses   5,275,029    6,942,232 
Loss from Operations   (5,365,926)   (6,698,134)
           
Other Expense (Income)          
Interest expense, net   245,174    360,413 
Loss on extinguishment of debt   355,602    - 
Gain on debt restructuring   (130,421)   - 
Gain on settlement of payables   (2,100)   - 
Gains from foreign currency translation   (52,498)   (101,732)
Total other expense   415,757    258,681 
Net Loss   (5,781,683)   (6,956,815)
Net loss attributable to non-controlling interest   133,162    293,007 
Series B preferred stock dividends   (721,752)   (721,057)
Net Loss Attributable to Common Stockholders  $(6,370,273)  $(7,384,865)

 

Overview

 

We reported net losses of approximately $5.8 million and $7.0 million for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively. The increase in net loss is primarily the result of the decrease in revenues as described below.

Revenues

 

Revenues from operations were approximately $636,000 and $1,284,000 during the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively, reflecting a decrease of approximately $648,000 or 50%. Decreases in revenues are primarily due to approximately $329,000 resulting from the impact of the decline in the value of the Argentine peso vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar and decreases in hotel and restaurant revenues of approximately $321,000 resulting from closures as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The average exchange rate of the Argentina peso increased from 48.1676 for the year ended December 31, 2019 to 73.5358 for the year ended December 31, 2020, which represents a decrease in the average worth of the Argentine peso from US $0.02 to $0.01.

 

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Total sales from Argentina were approximately ARS $42.7 million during the year ended December 31, 2020 as compared to approximately ARS $58.1 million during the year ended December 31, 2019, reflecting a net decrease of approximately ARS $15.4 million or 27%. Hotel room and event revenues were approximately ARS $16.8 million and ARS $35.7 million during years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively, representing a decrease of approximately ARS $18.9 million, or 53% resulting from closures as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Restaurant revenues were approximately ARS $8.9 million and ARS 7.9 million during the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively, representing an increase of approximately ARS $1.0 million or 13%. Argentine winemaking revenues were approximately ARS $6.9 million and ARS $6.0 million during the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively, representing an increase of approximately ARS $0.9 million or $15%. Other revenues, including golf, tennis and agricultural revenues, were ARS $9.7 million and ARS $8.5 million during the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively, representing an increase of approximately ARS $1.2 million or 14%, of which approximately ARS $0.6 million represents an increase in agricultural revenues, approximately ARS $1.7 million represents an increase in maintenance fees, partially offset by approximately ARS $1.1 million represents a decrease in other operating income.

 

Gross profit

 

We generated a gross loss of approximately $91,000 for the year ended December 31, 2020 as compared to a gross profit of approximately $244,000 for the year ended December 31, 2019, representing a decrease of $335,000 or 137%, primarily as a result of the decrease in revenues as described above and from grapes which were sold at a loss. Due to COVID-19 during 2020, we had to temporarily close our hotel, restaurant, winery operations, and golf and tennis operations. The gross loss during 2020 was primarily due to the hotel and restaurants fixed costs included in the cost of sales which did not decrease during the COVID-19.

 

Cost of sales, which consists of real estate lots, raw materials, direct labor and indirect labor associated with our business activities, decreased by approximately $313,000 from $1,040,000 for the year ended December 31, 2019 to $727,000 for the year ended December 31, 2020. Decreases in cost of sales are primarily due to approximately $367,000 resulting from the impact of the decline in the value of the Argentine peso vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar, and a decrease of approximately $84,000 in hotel and restaurant costs resulting from the temporary closure of our hotel and restaurants due to government restrictions as of a result of COVID-19, partially offset by an increase in the cost of grapes sold during the period of approximately $121,000.

 

Selling and marketing expenses

 

Selling and marketing expenses were approximately $321,000 and $483,000, for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively, representing a decrease of approximately $162,000 or 34%, primarily resulting from the impact of COVID-19 shut-downs as well as a Gaucho Group marketing event that was held in the second quarter of 2019.

 

General and administrative expenses

 

General and administrative expenses were approximately $4,814,000 and $6,429,000 from operations for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively, representing a decrease of approximately $1,615,000 or 25%. The decrease results primarily from the decreases of approximately $261,000 in professional fees, approximately $292,000 in travel expenses, approximately $483,000 resulting from the impact of the decline in the value of the Argentine peso vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar, and approximately $592,000 in exchange rate gains.

 

Depreciation and amortization expense

 

Depreciation and amortization expense were approximately $170,000 and $196,000 during the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively, representing a decrease of approximately $26,000 or 13%.

 

Gain from insurance settlement

 

Gain from insurance settlement was approximately $30,000 and $166,000 during the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively, representing a decrease of $136,000 or 82%. Insurance proceeds received during the year ended December 31, 2019 were to cover for fire damage to property and equipment as a result of a fire at the Company’s hotel. Insurance proceeds received during the year ended December 31, 2020 were to cover revenues lost during the rebuilding and repair period after the fire.

 

Interest expense, net

 

Interest expense was approximately $245,000 and $360,000 during the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively, representing a decrease of approximately $115,000 or 32%. The decrease is primarily the result of (i) decrease in the average balance of debt outstanding during the year ended December 31, 2020 as compared to the year ended December 31, 2019, and (ii) the decrease in interest expenses to the Federal Administration of Public Revenues in Argentine due to renegotiating the payment plan.

 

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Loss on extinguishment of debt

 

Loss on extinguishment of debt of approximately $356,000 during the year ended December 31, 2020 represents the loss realized from the debt extinguishment due to the modification of convertible debt.

Gain on debt restructuring

 

Gain on debt restructuring of approximately $130,000 during the year ended December 31, 2020 represents the gain realized from the restructuring of debt during the period.

 

Gain on settlement of payables

 

Gain on settlement of payables of approximately $2,000 during the year ended December 31, 2020 represents the gain realized from the settlement of accounts payable during the period.

 

Liquidity and Capital Resources

 

We measure our liquidity in variety of ways, including the following:

 

   For the Years Ended 
   December 31, 
   2020   2019 
         
Cash  $134,536   $40,378 
           
Working Capital Deficiency  $(2,574,361)  $(3,309,206)
           
Loans Payable  $748,322   $1,444,434 
           
Debt Obligations  $1,270,354   $1,270,354 

 

During the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, we financed our activities from proceeds derived from debt and equity financings occurring in prior periods. A significant portion of the funds have been used to cover working capital needs and personnel, office expenses and various consulting and professional fees.

 

During the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, we have relied primarily on debt and equity offerings to third party independent, accredited investors, related parties, and the government to sustain operations. During the year ended December 31, 2020, we received proceeds of approximately $3,222,000 from the issuance of convertible debt, proceeds of approximately $1,572,000 from proceeds from common stock offering, proceeds from related party loans payable and non-related party loans payable of approximately $574,000 and $28,000, respectively, and proceeds from the PPP Loan of approximately $242,000, and proceeds from the EIDL of $94,000.

 

As of December 31, 2020, we had cash, working capital deficiency, and an accumulated deficit of $134,536, $2,574,361 and $93,534,828, respectively. During the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, we incurred a net loss of $5,781,683 and $6,956,815, respectively, and used cash in operating activities of $4,943,758 and $6,080,411, respectively.

 

On February 19, 2021, the Company closed on an underwritten public offering and sold and issued an aggregate of 1,333,334 shares of common stock and 1,533,333 warrants to purchase common stock at $6.00 per share for approximate gross proceeds of $8 million, before deducting underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses. See Note 18 – Subsequent Events.

 

The proceeds from these financing activities were used to fund our existing operating deficits, legal and accounting expenses associated with being a public company and the general working capital needs of the business.

 

We expect that the cash on hand, which includes the net proceeds from the Offering, as well as the forecasted cash generated from operating activities which includes projected increases in revenues, will fund our operations for a least 12 months after the issuance date of these financial statements.

 

Since inception, our operations have primarily been funded through proceeds received in equity and debt financings. We believe we have access to capital resources and continue to evaluate additional financing opportunities. There is no assurance that we will be able to obtain funds on commercially acceptable terms, if at all. There is also no assurance that the amount of funds we might raise will enable us to complete our development initiatives or attain profitable operations.

 

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Our operating needs include the planned costs to operate our business, including amounts required to fund working capital and capital expenditures. Our future capital requirements and the adequacy of our available funds will depend on many factors, including our ability to successfully commercialize our products and services, competing technological and market developments, and the need to enter into collaborations with other companies or acquire other companies or technologies to enhance or complement our product and service offerings.

 

Availability of Additional Funds

 

As a result of the above developments, we have been able to sustain operations. However, we will need to raise additional capital in order to meet our future liquidity needs for operating expenses and capital expenditures, including GGI inventory production, development of the GGI e-commerce platform, expansion of our winery and additional investments in real estate development. If we are unable to obtain adequate funds on reasonable terms, we may be required to significantly curtail or discontinue operations.

 

Sources and Uses of Cash for the Years Ended December 31, 2020 and 2019

 

Net Cash Used in Operating Activities

 

Net cash used in operating activities for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, amounted to approximately $4,944,000 and $6,080,000, respectively. During the year ended December 31, 2020, the net cash used in operating activities was primarily attributable to the net loss of approximately $5,782,000, adjusted for approximately $980,000 of non-cash expenses and $142,000 of cash used to fund changes in the levels of operating assets and liabilities. During the year ended December 31, 2019, the net cash used in operating activities was primarily attributable to the net loss of approximately $6,957,000, adjusted for approximately $1,141,000 of non-cash expenses and $264,000 of cash used to fund changes in the levels of operating assets and liabilities.

 

Net Cash Used in Investing Activities

 

Net cash used in investing activities for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019 amounted to approximately $115,000 and $214,000, respectively. During the year ended December 31, 2020 the net cash used in investing activities was primarily attributable to the purchase of property and equipment of approximately $115,000. During the year ended December 31, 2019 the net cash used in investing activities was primarily attributable to the purchase of property and equipment of approximately $139,000 and a purchase of an Argentine government bond of approximately $75,000.

 

Net Cash Provided by Financing Activities

 

Net cash provided by financing activities for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019 amounted to approximately $ 4,687,000 and $5,700,000, respectively. For the year ended December 31, 2020, the net cash provided by financing activities resulted from approximately $3,222,000 of proceeds from convertible debt obligations, approximately $1,572,000 of proceeds from common stock offering, approximately $574,000 and $28,000, respectively, from the proceeds from the issuance of related party loans payable and non-related party loans payable, approximately $242,000 of proceeds from the PPP Loan, and $94,000 of proceeds from the EIDL, partially offset by loan repayments of approximately $1,029,000 and the repurchase of preferred stock of $16,000 from a shareholder. For the year ended December 31, 2019, the net cash provided by financing activities resulted primarily from approximately $786,000 of proceeds from convertible debt obligations, approximately $4,611,000 of proceeds from common stock offerings, approximately $566,000 from the proceeds from the issuance of related party loans payable, and proceeds from investor deposits of approximately $30,000, partially offset by convertible debt and loan repayments of approximately $293,000.

 

Off-Balance Sheet Arrangements

 

None.

 

Contractual Obligations

 

As a smaller reporting company, we are not required to provide the information required by paragraph (a)(5) of this Item.

 

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Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates

 

The preparation of financial statements and related disclosures in conformity with U.S. GAAP. These accounting principles require us to make estimates and judgments that can affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities as of the date of the financial statements as well as the reported amounts of revenue and expense during the periods presented. We believe that the estimates and judgments upon which it relies are reasonably based upon information available to us at the time that it makes these estimates and judgments. To the extent that there are material differences between these estimates and actual results, our financial results will be affected. The accounting policies that reflect our more significant estimates and judgments and which we believe are the most critical to aid in fully understanding and evaluating our reported financial results are described below.

 

The following is not intended to be a comprehensive list of all of our accounting policies or estimates. Our accounting policies are more fully described in Note 3 – Summary of Significant Accounting Policies, in our financial statements included elsewhere in this annual report.

 

Revenue Recognition

 

We earn revenues from the sale of real estate lots and sales of food and wine as well as hospitality, food & beverage, other related services, and from the sale of clothing and accessories. Revenue from the sale of food, wine, agricultural products, clothes and accessories is recorded when the customer obtains control of the goods purchased. Revenues from hospitality and other services are recognized as earned at the point in time that the related service is rendered, and the performance obligation has been satisfied. Revenues from gift card sales are recognized when the card is redeemed by the customer. We do not recognize revenue for the portion of gift card values that is not expected to be redeemed (“breakage”) due to the lack of historical data. Revenue from real estate lot sales is recorded when the lot is deeded, and legal ownership of the lot is transferred to the customer.

 

The timing of our revenue recognition may differ from the timing of payment by our customers. A receivable is recorded when revenue is recognized prior to payment and we have an unconditional right to payment. Alternatively, when payment precedes the provision of the related services, we record deferred revenue until the performance obligations are satisfied. Deferred revenues associated with real estate lot sale deposits are recognized as revenues (along with any outstanding balance) when the lot sale closes, and the deed is provided to the purchaser. Other deferred revenues primarily consist of deposits accepted by us in connection with agreements to sell barrels of wine, advance deposits received for grapes and other agricultural products, and hotel deposits. Wine barrel and agricultural product advance deposits are recognized as revenues (along with any outstanding balance) when the product is shipped to the purchaser. Hotel deposits are recognized as revenue upon occupancy of rooms, or the provision of services.

 

Stock-Based Compensation

 

We measure the cost of services received in exchange for an award of equity instruments based on the fair value of the award on the date of grant. The fair value amount of the shares expected to ultimately vest is then recognized over the period for which services are required to be provided in exchange for the award, usually the vesting period. The estimation of stock-based awards that will ultimately vest requires judgment, and to the extent actual results or updated estimates differ from original estimates, such amounts are recorded as a cumulative adjustment in the period that the estimates are revised. We account for forfeitures as they occur.

 

Long-Lived Assets

 

When circumstances, such as adverse market conditions, indicate that the carrying value of a long-lived asset may be impaired, we perform an analysis to review the recoverability of the asset’s carrying value, which includes estimating the undiscounted cash flows (excluding interest charges) from the expected future operations of the asset. These estimates consider factors such as expected future operating income, operating trends and prospects, as well as the effects of demand, competition and other factors. If the analysis indicates that the carrying value is not recoverable from future cash flows, an impairment loss is recognized to the extent that the carrying value exceeds the estimated fair value. Any impairment losses are recorded as operating expenses, which reduce net income.

 

Income Taxes

 

We account for income taxes pursuant to the asset and liability method of accounting for income taxes pursuant to FASB ASC 740, “Income Taxes.” Deferred tax assets and liabilities are recognized for taxable temporary differences and operating loss carry forwards. Temporary differences are the differences between the reported amounts of assets and liabilities and their tax bases. Deferred tax assets are reduced by a valuation allowance when, in the opinion of management, it is more likely than not that some portion or all of the deferred tax assets will not be realized.

 

Deferred tax assets and liabilities are adjusted for the effects of changes in tax laws and rates on the date of enactment.

 

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Operating Leases

 

In February 2016, the FASB issued a new standard related to leases to increase transparency and comparability among organizations by requiring the recognition of operating lease right-of-use (“ROU”) assets and lease liabilities on the balance sheet. Most prominent among the changes in the standard is the recognition of ROU assets and lease liabilities by lessees for those leases classified as operating leases. Under the standard, disclosures are required to meet the objective of enabling users of financial statements to assess the amount, timing, and uncertainty of cash flows arising from leases. We are also required to recognize and measure new leases at the adoption date and recognize a cumulative-effect adjustment in the period of adoption using a modified retrospective approach, with certain practical expedients available.

 

We adopted ASC 842, “Leases” (“ASC 842”) effective January 1, 2019 and elected to apply the available practical expedients and implemented internal controls and key system functionality to enable the preparation of financial information on adoption. ASC 842 requires us to make significant judgments and estimates. As a result, we implemented changes to our internal controls related to lease evaluation. These changes include updated accounting policies affected by ASC 842 as well as redesigned internal controls over financial reporting related to ASC 842 implementation. Additionally, we have expanded data gathering procedures to comply with the additional disclosure requirements and ongoing contract review requirements. The standard had an impact on our consolidated balance sheets but did not have an impact on our consolidated statements of operations or consolidated statements of cash flows upon adoption

 

ITEM 7A. QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE DISCLOSURES ABOUT MARKET RISK

 

As a smaller reporting company, we are not required to provide the information required by this Item.

 

ITEM 8. FINANCIAL STATEMENTS AND SUPPLEMENTARY DATA

 

Our consolidated financial statements and the related notes to the financial statements called for by this item appear beginning with the Table of Contents on Page F-1 at the end of this Form 10-K.

 

ITEM 9. CHANGES IN AND DISAGREEMENTS WITH ACCOUNTANTS ON ACCOUNTING AND FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE.

 

None.

 

ITEM 9A. CONTROLS AND PROCEDURES

 

Evaluation of Disclosure Controls and Procedures

 

Disclosure controls are procedures that are designed with the objective of ensuring that information required to be disclosed in our reports filed under the Exchange Act, such as this Annual Report, is recorded, processed, summarized and reported within the time periods specified in the SEC’s rules and forms. Disclosure controls are also designed with the objective of ensuring that such information is accumulated and communicated to our management, including the Principal Executive and Accounting Officer, as appropriate to allow timely decisions regarding required disclosure. Internal controls are procedures which are designed with the objective of providing reasonable assurance that (1) our transactions are properly authorized, recorded and reported; and (2) our assets are safeguarded against unauthorized or improper use, to permit the preparation of our consolidated financial statements in conformity with United States generally accepted accounting principles.

 

In connection with the preparation of this Annual Report, management, with the participation of our Principal Executive and Accounting Officers, has evaluated the effectiveness of the design and operation of our disclosure controls and procedures (as defined in Exchange Act Rule 13a-15(e) and 15d-15(e)). Based upon that evaluation, our Principal Executive and Accounting Officers concluded that, as of December 31, 2020, our disclosure controls and procedures were effective.

 

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Management’s Assessment of Internal Control Over Financial Reporting

 

Our management is responsible for establishing and maintaining adequate internal control over financial reporting as defined in Rule 13a-15(f) under the Exchange Act. Internal control over financial reporting is a process designed by, or under the supervision of, our Principal Executive and Financial Officer, and effected by the Board of Directors, management and other personnel, to provide reasonable assurance regarding the reliability of financial reporting and the preparation of financial statements for external purposes in accordance with U.S. GAAP including those policies and procedures that: (i) pertain to the maintenance of records that, in reasonable detail, accurately and fairly reflect our transactions and the disposition of our assets, (ii) provide reasonable assurance that transactions are recorded as necessary to permit preparation of financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP and that receipts and expenditures are being made only in accordance with authorizations of our management and Board of Directors, and (iii) provide reasonable assurance regarding prevention or timely detection of unauthorized acquisition, use, or disposition of our assets that could have a material effect on the financial statements.

 

Because of its inherent limitations, internal control over financial reporting may not prevent or detect misstatements. Also, projections of any evaluation of effectiveness to future periods are subject to the risk that controls may become inadequate because of changes in conditions, or that the degree of compliance with policies and procedures may deteriorate.

 

Management conducted an evaluation of the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting based on the 2013 framework in Internal Control – Integrated Framework issued by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission. Based on this evaluation, management concluded that our internal control over financial reporting was effective as of December 31, 2020.

 

Changes in Internal Control over Financial Reporting

 

During the year ended December 31, 2020, there were no material changes in our internal controls over financial reporting, or in other factors that could significantly affect these controls, that materially affected, or are reasonably likely to materially affect, our internal control over financial reporting.

 

Inherent Limitations of Controls

 

Management does not expect that our disclosure controls and procedures or our internal control over financial reporting will prevent or detect all error and all fraud. Controls and procedures, no matter how well designed and operated, can provide only reasonable assurance of achieving their objectives and management necessarily applies its judgment in evaluating the cost-benefit relationship of possible controls and procedures. Because of the inherent limitations in all control systems, no evaluation of controls can provide absolute assurance that all control issues and instances of fraud, if any, within the Company have been detected. These inherent limitations include the realities that judgments in decision-making can be faulty, and that breakdowns can occur because of a simple error or mistake. Additionally, controls can be circumvented by the individual acts of some persons, by collusion of two or more people, or by management override of the controls. The design of any system of controls also is based in part upon certain assumptions about the likelihood of future events, and there can be no assurance that any design will succeed in achieving its stated goals under all potential future conditions. Over time, controls may become inadequate because of changes in conditions, or deterioration in the degree of compliance with the policies or procedures. Because of the inherent limitations in a cost-effective control system, misstatements due to error or fraud may occur and not be detected.

 

ITEM 9B. OTHER INFORMATION

 

As part of the Unit offering that commenced in October 2020, the Company received $439,000 between January 1, 2021 and terminating on January 8, 2021 from accredited investors with a substantive pre-existing relationship with the Company. No general solicitation was used, no commissions were paid, and the Company relied on the exemption from registration available under Section 4(a)(2) and Rule 506(b) of Regulation D of the Securities Act, in connection with the sales. A Form D for this offering was filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on December 7, 2020, and amended Form D filings for this offering were filed on January 5, 2021, January 14, 2021, and February 22, 2021.

 

As part of the Company’s convertible note financing in early 2018, the Company sold promissory notes totaling $1,163,354 to John I. Griffin and his wholly owned company JLAL Holdings Ltd. The notes have a 90-day maturity, bear interest at 8% per annum and were convertible into the Company’s common stock at a at a 10% discount to the price used for the sale of the Company’s common stock in the Company’s next private placement offering. These notes matured on June 30, 2019. On January 8, 2021, the Company issued 237,012 shares of common stock and warrants to purchase 237,012 shares of common stock in total to Mr. Griffin and JLAL Holdings Ltd., reflecting a conversion of $1,163,354 in principal and $258,714 in interest. No general solicitation was used, no commissions were paid, and the Company relied on the exemption from registration available under Section 4(a)(2) and Rule 506(b) of Regulation D of the Securities Act, in connection with the sales. A Form D was filed with the SEC on May 23, 2018.

 

On February 19, 2021, the Company sold and issued an aggregate of 1,333,334 shares of common stock and 1,533,333 warrants, for approximate gross proceeds of $8.0 million pursuant to a Form S-1 registration statement, before deducting underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses, and issued the representative of such underwriters a common stock purchase warrant exercisable for up to 15,333 shares of common stock. Two directors participated in the offering, purchasing a total of 11,666 Units at $6.00 per share.

 

On March 26, 2021, the Company received notice that the SBA has forgiven the PPP Loan in full. However, the Company may be subject to tax on the forgiveness under state law.

 

On April 7, 2021, the Company paid a total of $58,001 to Mr. Mathis in connection with his voluntarily deferred compensation between March 13, 2020 and August 21, 2020.

 

On April 8, 2021, GGI entered into a seven-year lease for retail space located at 112 N.E. 41st Street, Suite 106, in Miami, Florida to sell its Gaucho – Buenos Aires™ products.

 

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PART III

 

ITEM 10. DIRECTORS, OFFICERS AND CORPORATE GOVERNANCE

 

Our management team is led by executives who have experience in real estate investment, hotel management, broker-dealer operations and identifying and pursuing investment opportunities. The management team is assisted by the Company’s key personnel and advisors, who together with their experience and expertise are also discussed below.

 

Name   Age   Entity   Title   Year Appointed
Scott L. Mathis   58   GGH   Chairman, Class III Director, Chief Executive Officer, President   April 1999
        TAR   General Manager (1)   December 2007
        APII   General Manager (1)   March 2009
        AWE   General Manager (1)   July 2007
        GGI   Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, President   September 2016
                 
Maria I. Echevarria   41   GGH   Chief Financial Officer, Chief Operating Officer, Secretary, Treasurer and Compliance Officer   April 2015
        AEU   Chief Financial Officer   April 2015
        GGI   Chief Financial Officer, Treasurer and Secretary   January 2017
                 
Sergio O. Manzur Odstrcil   51   TAR   Chief Financial Officer, Chief Operating Officer (2)   March 2011
        APII   Chief Financial Officer   March 2011
        AWE   Chief Financial Officer, Chief Operating Officer (2)   September 2010
                 
Peter J.L. Lawrence   87   GGH   Class II Director   April 1999
        AEU   Director   November 2009
        GGI   Director   November 2018
                 
Steven A. Moel   77   GGH   Class I Director   April 2019
        GGI   Director   November 2018
                 
Reuben Cannon   74   GGH   Class I Director   July 2020
                 
Marc Dumont   77   GGH   Class I Director   February 2021
                 
Edie Rodriguez   59   GGH   Class I Director   February 2021

 

  (1) Translation of Argentine statutory corporate office.
  (2) Mr. Manzur Odstrcil was appointed Chief Operating Officer of TAR and AWE on April 11, 2015.

 

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Executive Officers

 

Scott L. Mathis. Mr. Mathis is the founder of GGH and has served as Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Directors since its inception in April 1999. Mr. Mathis is also the founder and, CEO and Chairman of the Board of Directors of GGI. Mr. Mathis has over five years’ experience serving as Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Mercari Communications Group, Ltd., a public company. Mr. Mathis is also the founder, Chief Executive Officer, and Chairman of IPG, AGP and various other affiliated entities of GGH. Since July 2009, Mr. Mathis has served as the Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of Hollywood Burger Holdings, Inc., a company he founded which is developing Hollywood-themed American fast food restaurants in Argentina and the United States. Since June 2011, Mr. Mathis has also served as the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of InvestBio, Inc., a former subsidiary of GGH that was spun off in 2010. Including his time with GGH and its subsidiaries, Mr. Mathis worked for over 25 years in the securities brokerage field. From 1995-2000, he worked for National Securities Corporation and The Boston Group, L.P. Before that, he was a partner at Oppenheimer and Company and a Senior Vice President and member of the Directors Council at Lehman Brothers. Mr. Mathis also worked with Alex Brown & Sons, Gruntal and Company, Inc. and Merrill Lynch. Mr. Mathis received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management from Mississippi State University. The determination was made that Mr. Mathis should serve on GGH’s Board of Directors due to his executive level experience working in the real estate development industry and in several consumer-focused businesses. He has also served on the board of directors of a number of non-public companies in the biotechnology industry.

 

Maria I. Echevarria. In April 2015, the Board of Directors of GGH appointed Ms. Echevarria as the Company’s Chief Financial Officer and Secretary. On January 3, 2017, Ms. Echevarria was appointed as Chief Financial Officer, Treasurer and Secretary of Gaucho Group, Inc. She joined the Company as Corporate Controller in June 2014 and had primary responsibility for the Company’s corporate consolidation, policies and procedures as well as financial reporting for SEC compliance, coordinating budgets and projections, preparing financial presentations and analyzing financial data. Ms. Echevarria has over 15 years of experience in Accounting, Compliance, Finance, Information Systems and Operations. Her experience includes SEC reporting and financial analysis, and her career accomplishments include developing and implementing major initiatives such as SOX, BSA and AML reporting and valuation of financial instruments. Prior to her employment with the Company, Ms. Echevarria served as Director of Finance and Accounting for The Hope Center, a nonprofit, from 2008 to June 2014 overseeing Finance, Information Systems and Operations. From 2001 through 2008 she served as a Quality Control and Compliance Analyst, Financial Analyst, and Accounting Manager for Banco Popular in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where she specialized in Mortgage Quality Control, Compliance, Financial Analysis and Mortgage Accounting, and corresponding with the FHA, VA and other mortgage guarantors. Ms. Echevarria also coordinated audits and compliance programs related to reporting, remittances, escrow accounting and default management for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and other private investors. She has developed and taught accounting courses for Herzing University, and currently serves as an adjunct faculty member at Southern New Hampshire University. She is a CPA, licensed in New Jersey and Puerto Rico, and holds a B.B.A. in Accounting from the University of Puerto Rico and an MBA in Business from University of Phoenix. Mrs. Echevarria was born and raised in Puerto Rico and is fluent in Spanish and English.

 

Additional Key Personnel

 

Sergio O. Manzur Odstrcil. Mr. Odstrcil is Chief Financial Officer (“CFO”) and Chief Operating Officer (“COO”) of Algodon Mansion & Algodon Wine Estates. Mr. Manzur Odstrcil is an Argentina Certified Public Accountant whose professional experience includes administration and management positions with companies in Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and Chile. As CFO and COO for all of GGH’s Argentine subsidiaries, he is responsible for day-to-day management including financial planning and analysis, overseeing the implementation of financial strategies for the corporation, and for ensuring prudent corporate governance. Prior to joining GGH, Mr. Manzur Odstrcil was the Administration and Finance Director for Bodega Francois Lurton since May 2007, where he was responsible for the design and development of a financial debt strategy and negotiations with banks and strategic suppliers to obtain credits. He was also responsible for the organization of new funding to the company for $4 million and also served as a member of the company’s executive committee. From March 2002 to September 2006 he previously held the position of Country Controller for the Boston Scientific Corporation (BSC) in Chile, and prior to that he served as Controller for Southern Cone BSC in Buenos Aires and Mexico City. He also served as Senior Financial Analyst for BSC’s Latin American Headquarters in Buenos Aires, as well as in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and prior to that he served as BSC’s Accountant Analyst in Buenos Aires. Mr. Manzur Odstrcil began his career at Cerveceria y Malteria Quilmes in Argentina from 1997 to 1998. He obtained his MBA at INCAE in Costa Rica in 1996, and received his CPA from the Universidad Nacional de Tucumán, San Miguel de Tucumán, Argentina in 1994.

 

Directors

 

Peter J.L. Lawrence. Mr. Lawrence has served as a director of GGH since July 1999. The Board has determined that he is a valuable member of the Board due to his experience as an investor in smaller public companies and service as a director for a number of public companies.

 

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Specifically, Mr. Lawrence was from 2000 to 2014 a director of Sprue Aegis plc, a U.K. company traded on the London Stock Exchange that designs and sells smoke and carbon monoxide detectors for fire protection of domestic and industrial premises in the U.K. and Europe. In the same period he also served as Chairman of Infinity IP, a private company involved with intellectual property and distribution in Australasia; and director of Hollywood Burger Holdings, Inc. From 1970 to 1996, Mr. Lawrence served as Chairman of Associated British Industries plc, a holding company of a group of chemical manufacturers making car engine and aviation jointings and sealants both for OEM and after markets, specialty waxes and anti-corrosion coatings for the automotive, tire and plastics industries in U.K, Europe and USA.

 

Mr. Lawrence has additional experience as a director of a publicly-traded company by serving as a director of Beacon Investment Trust PLC, a London Stock Exchange-listed company from 2003 to June 2010. Beacon invested in small and recently floated companies on the Alternative Investment Market of the London Stock Exchange. Mr. Lawrence served on the investment committee of ABI Pension fund for 20 years as well as the investment committee of Coram Foundation Children Charity founded in 1739 as the Foundling Hospital from 1977 to 2004. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Modern History from Oxford University where he graduated with honors.

 

Steven A. Moel, M.D., J.D. Dr. Moel began serving as a director of GGH in April 2019 and has served as a director of GGI as of November 2018. Previously, Dr. Moel served as a Senior Business Advisor for GGH. Dr. Moel is a medical doctor and licensed attorney (currently inactive). Dr. Moel had a private legal practice as a business and transactional attorney and is a member of the California and American Bar Associations and has served as legal counsel to many corporations. The Board has determined that he would be a valuable member of the Board due to his extensive and broad experience and knowledge in business. In addition to serving as a member of the Company’s Board of Advisors, Dr. Moel is presently a member of the board of directors of Hollywood Burger Holdings, Inc., a related party to the Company (International Fast Food Restaurants).

 

Previously, Dr. Moel served in many roles, including most recently as a Senior Business Advisor for Global Job Hunt (International Recruiting and Education). He was also founder of Akorn, Inc., Nasdaq: AKRX (Biotechnology/Pharmaceutical Mfg.), where he served as a Director on the Executive Board and as Vice President of Mergers & Acquisitions. Dr. Moel previously served as: the Vice President, Mergers & Acquisitions and Business Development of Virgilian, LLC (Nutraceuticals/Agricultural); CEO of U.S. Highland, Inc. BB:UHLN (Mfg. of Motorcycles/Motorsports); CEO of Millennial Research Corp. (Mfg./Ultra-high efficiency motors); Chairman and COO of WayBack Granola Co. (Granola Manufacturing); Executive VP, Mergers and Acquisitions of Agaia Inc. (Green Cleaning Products). He has also served as: President, COO and Executive Director of American Wine Group (Wine Production/Distribution); Senior Business and Advisor, of viaMarket Consumer Products, LLC (Manufacturer of Consumer Products); as a member of the Board of Directors of Grudzen Development Corp. (Real Estate); COO and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Paradigm Technologies (Electronics/Computer Developer); President and CEO of Sem-Redwood Enterprises (Stock Pool), and as a member of the Advisory Board of Mahlia Collection (Jewelry Design/ Manufacturing).

 

Dr. Moel is a board-certified ophthalmologist who was in private practice and academia. He is an Emeritus Fellow of the American Academy of Ophthalmology and his academic history includes Washington University, University of Miami-Coral Gables, Marshall University, West Virginia University, University of Colorado, Harvard University, Louisiana State University-New Orleans, University of Illinois-Chicago, and the College of Law in Santa Barbara.

 

Reuben Cannon. Mr. Cannon has been a stockholder of the Company for several years and is a producer and casting director who has helped shape and guide some of the most critically acclaimed film and television projects in Hollywood during the past 30 years. The Company believes Mr. Cannon is uniquely qualified to serve as a director of the Company because of running his successful long-term business in Hollywood and connections to promote the Company’s luxury brand goods.

 

Mr. Cannon worked at Universal Studios from 1970 to 1978, eventually becoming a casting director. He also was the head of television casting for Warner Brothers from 1977 to 1978. In 1978, Mr. Cannon started his own casting agency called Reuben Cannon & Associates. His agency has cast nearly one hundred television series and films. Projects include “The Color Purple” (11 Oscar nominations), “Columbo,” “Alfred Hitchcock Presents,” “The A Team,” the 1990s remake of “Perry Mason”, the Emmy-Award winning comedy series “The Bernie Mac Show,” “My Wife and Kids,” and “Boondocks.” Producing credits include “The Women of Brewster Place” and “Brewster Place” (in collaboration with Oprah Winfrey), “Down in the Delta” (directed by Dr. Maya Angelou), and “Get on the Bus” (with Spike Lee). In 2004, Mr. Cannon formed a production alliance with Tyler Perry Studios and is currently Executive Producer for Tyler Perry’s “House of Payne.” In addition to two Emmy nominations, he has received numerous awards including an Honorary Doctorate of Human Letters from Morehouse College, and the “Behind the Lens Award” for outstanding contributions in entertainment in the areas of film and television. He has been credited with launching the careers of many of today’s major film and television stars. He is also a producer in both film and television. Mr. Cannon attended Southeast City College.

 

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Marc Dumont. Mr. Dumont became a director of the Company upon the listing of our common stock to Nasdaq on February 16, 2021. He is an Independent Investment Banker and International Financial Consultant. He is also Chairman and CEO of Château de Messey Wineries, Meursault, France. Mr. Dumont previously served as the President of PSA International SA (a PSA Peugeot Citroen Group company) from January 1981 to March 1995. He consults and advises international clients in Europe and Asia, as well as the United States. He is also the Chairman of Sanderling Ventures (a European affiliate of a U.S. venture capital firm) since 1993, managing five biotechnology funds. Mr. Dumont is also a Board member of Lightwave Systems Inc., Santa Barbara, California (since 1997) and Caret Industries, Oxnard, California (since 1995) and a Board member of SenesTech, Inc. since 2016. He has served on many other boards including Finterbank Zurich, Banque Internationale a Luxemborg, Xiphias International Investment Fund Limited (an alternative investment fund), and also Irvine Sensors Corporation where he was member/Chairman of their Audit, Nominating, and Corporate Governance, and Compensation Committees. Mr. Dumont holds a Degree in Electrical Engineering and Applied Economics from the University of Louvain, Belgium and an MBA from the University of Chicago. The Company believes Mr. Dumont is uniquely qualified to serve as a director of the Company because of his background in finance, the wine industry, and diverse experience as a board member for multiple companies.

 

Edie Rodriguez. Ms. Rodriguez became a director of the Company upon the listing of our common stock to Nasdaq on February 16, 2021. She is a globally respected thought leader on Luxury and Luxury Branding and frequent speaker on Fox News, Fox Business News, CNN, CNBC and Bloomberg TV in the U.S., U.K., and Hong Kong. She is a Member of the Board of Directors for the Saudi Tourism Authority (SAT) and is also the Chair of the SAT’s Nominating and Renumeration Committee. Ms. Rodriguez is also a Director for RAND Corporation’s Center for Global Risk and Security (CGRS). As an Advisory Board Member she provides governance and fiduciary guidance, advising from billion-dollar corporations’ perspectives. She received a significant honor in 2018 when she was hand selected by The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to be a Founding Steering Committee Member and Executive Committee Member for The KSA Public Investment Fund (PIF) for a project that was integral for their strategic #SaudiVision2030 plan.

 

From October 2017 to April 2020, she was Americas Brand Chairwoman for the world’s leading Luxury Yacht Expedition Cruise Company, Ponant Cruises – a subsidiary of the multi-billion dollar luxury leader Groupe Artemis/Kering, where she provided strategy, direction and implementation road maps.

 

Previously, she led as CEO and President of Crystal Cruises Corporation, a multi-billion dollar global brand with ocean cruise ships, river vessels, yacht expedition vessels, private charter air traveling worldwide. She guided the company’s strategy, operations, finance, and customer focus. During her tenure with Crystal Cruises Corporation she was a member of the BoD of Cruise Line International Association (CLIA).

 

She is an Advisory Board Member for The Retail Summit, advising on the convergence of technology, digital disruption, hospitality, corporate social responsibility and global luxury experiences. She has completed Wharton Business School’s Executive Management Program, Boards that Lead, Stanford University’s Executive Management Program, Finance for C-Suite Executives, Harvard Business School Women’s Leadership Forum and holds a Bachelor of Science Degree from Nova Southeastern University. The Company believes Ms. Rodriguez is uniquely qualified to serve as a director of the Company because of her previous experience as Chairwomen of one of the top luxury cruise lines in the world, for her experience in the industries of international luxury travel and hospitality, and for her diverse experience member of the board of directors and board of advisors for multiple companies, as well as for her committee membership for The KSA Public Investment Fund (PIF), which is the sovereign wealth fund of Saudi Arabia and among the largest sovereign wealth funds in the world with total estimated assets of $382 billion.

 

Family Relationships

 

There are no family relationships among any of our executive officers and any current or proposed directors.

 

Term of Office

 

At the Company’s 2020 annual stockholder meeting on September 2, 2020, the stockholders elected Dr. Moel and Mr. Cannon as Class I directors (both terms expire at the Company’s 2023 annual meeting of stockholders). The following directors continue to serve the Company: Mr. Lawrence as a Class II director (his term expires at the Company’s 2021 annual meeting of stockholders) and Mr. Mathis as a Class III director (his term expires at the Company’s 2022 annual meeting of stockholders). All directors will hold office until his term has expired and until his successor is elected and qualified or until his earlier resignation or removal. Upon the Company’s uplisting of its common stock to Nasdaq on February 16, 2021, Mr. Dumont and Ms. Rodriguez became Class I directors (their terms expiring at the Company’s 2021 annual meeting of stockholders).

 

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Involvement in Certain Legal Proceedings

 

During the past ten years, except as provided below, none of the persons serving as executive officers and/or directors of the Company has been the subject matter of any of the following legal proceedings that are required to be disclosed pursuant to Item 401(f) of Regulation S-K including: (a) any bankruptcy petition filed by or against any business of which such person was a general partner or executive officer either at the time of the bankruptcy or within two years prior to that time; (b) any criminal convictions; (c) any order, judgment, or decree permanently or temporarily enjoining, barring, suspending or otherwise limiting his involvement in any type of business, securities or banking activities; (d) any finding by a court, the SEC or the CFTC to have violated a federal or state securities or commodities law, any law or regulation respecting financial institutions or insurance companies, or any law or regulation prohibiting mail or wire fraud; or (e) any sanction or order of any self-regulatory organization or registered entity or equivalent exchange, association or entity. Further, no such legal proceedings are believed to be contemplated by governmental authorities against any director or executive officer.

 

FINRA Enforcement Action (2004-2015): In May 2007, InvestPrivate (now known as DPEC Capital), Scott Mathis and two other InvestPrivate officers entered into a settlement of a disciplinary action filed in May 2004 by the NASD (now known as the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (“FINRA”)), the regulatory body that had primary jurisdiction over InvestPrivate. As part of the settlement, the NASD expressly withdrew numerous allegations and charges, and also resolved almost all of the remaining charges in the case. Mr. Mathis received a 30-day suspension from acting in a principal capacity for InvestPrivate, and InvestPrivate was suspended for 60 days from accepting new engagements to offer private placements. The settling parties paid fines totaling $215,000, and InvestPrivate was also required to engage an independent consultant to evaluate InvestPrivate’s practices and procedures relating to private placement offerings, and to make necessary changes in response to the consultant’s recommendations.

 

While the settlement with the NASD resolved most of the issues in the case, a few remaining charges were not resolved, namely, whether Mr. Mathis inadvertently or willfully failed to properly make certain disclosures on his personal NASD Form U-4, specifically, the existence of certain federal tax liens on his Form U4 during the years 1996-2002.

 

In December 2007, the FINRA Office of Hearing Officers (“OHO”) held that Mr. Mathis negligently failed to make certain disclosures on his Form U4 concerning personal tax liens, and to have willfully failed to make other required U4 disclosures regarding those tax liens. (All of the underlying tax liabilities were paid in 2003 so the liens were released in 2003.) Mr. Mathis received a three-month suspension, and a $10,000 fine for the lien nondisclosures. With respect to other non-willful late U4 filings relating to two customer complaints, he received an additional 10-day suspension (to run concurrently) plus an additional $2,500 fine. The suspension was completed on September 4, 2012, and all fines have been paid.

 

Mr. Mathis has never disputed that he failed to make or timely make these disclosures on his Form U4; he only disputed the willfulness finding. He appealed the decision (principally with respect to the willfulness issue) to the FINRA National Adjudicatory Council (“NAC”). In December 2008, NAC affirmed the OHO decision pertaining to the “willful” issue, and slightly broadened the finding. Thereafter, Mr. Mathis appealed the NAC decision to the Securities and Exchange Commission and thereafter to the U.S. Court of Appeals. In each instance, the decision of the NAC was affirmed.

 

While under FINRA’s rules the finding that Mr. Mathis was found to have acted willfully subjects him to a “statutory disqualification,” in September 2012, Mathis submitted to FINRA an application on Form MC-400 in which he sought permission to continue to work in the securities industry notwithstanding the fact that he is subject to a statutory disqualification. That application was approved in Mr. Mathis’ favor in April 2015. Mr. Mathis was at all times able to remain as an associated person of a FINRA member in good standing. Subsequently, the Company expanded into other business opportunities and the broker dealer subsidiary (DPEC Capital, Inc.) was no longer necessary to the Company’s operations. Therefore, Mr. Mathis voluntarily ceased all activities at the Company’s broker-dealer subsidiary (DPEC Capital, Inc.), and voluntarily terminated his registration with FINRA in December 2016, when DPEC Capital, Inc. elected to discontinue its operations and filed a Notice of Withdrawal as a Broker or Dealer on Form BDW.

 

Corporate Governance

 

In considering its corporate governance requirements and best practices, GGH looks to the Nasdaq Listed Company manual, which is available through the internet at http://nasdaq.cchwallstreet.com/.

 

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Board Leadership Structure

 

The Board does not have an express policy regarding the separation of the roles of Chief Executive Officer and Board Chairman as the Board believes it is in the best interests of the Company to make that determination based on the position and direction of the Company and the membership of the Board. The Board has not designated a lead independent director. Currently, Scott Mathis serves as both the Company’s Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board. As Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Mathis is involved in the day-to-day operations of the Company and also provides strategic guidance on the Company’s operations. The Board believes Mr. Mathis’s experience and knowledge are valuable in the oversight of both the Company’s operations as well as with respect to the overall oversight of the Company at the Board level. The Board believes that this leadership structure is appropriate as Mr. Mathis is intimately knowledgeable with the Company’s current and planned operations.

 

Role of the Board and the Audit Committee in Risk Oversight

 

While management is charged with the day-to-day management of risks that GGH faces, the Board of Directors, and the Audit Committee of the Board, have been responsible for oversight of risk management. The full Board, and the Audit Committee since it was formed, have responsibility for general oversight of risks facing the Company. Specifically, the Audit Committee reviews and assesses the adequacy of GGH’s risk management policies and procedures with regard to identification of GGH’s principal risks, both financial and non-financial, and review updates on these risks from the Chief Financial Officer and the Chief Executive Officer. The Audit Committee also reviews and assesses the adequacy of the implementation of appropriate systems to mitigate and manage the principal risks.

 

Review and Approval of Transactions with Related Parties

 

The Board of Directors adopted a policy to comply with Item 404 of Regulation S-K of the Exchange Act as well as the Nasdaq Rules requiring that disinterested directors approve transactions with related parties which are not market-based transactions.

 

Generally, the Board of Directors will approve transactions only to the extent the disinterested directors believe that they are in the best interests of GGH and on terms that are fair and reasonable (in the judgment of the disinterested directors) to GGH. Our policy is available on our Company website at https://ir.gauchoholdings.com/governance-docs.

 

Audit Committee

 

The Board of Directors established the Audit Committee on April 15, 2015 and revised the charter as of March 25, 2021. Effective upon the uplisting of our common stock to Nasdaq on February 16, 2021, our Audit Committee charter complies with Section 3(a)(58)(A) of the Exchange Act and Nasdaq Rule 5605. The Audit Committee was established to oversee the Company’s corporate accounting and financial reporting processes and audits of its financial statements. The members of our Audit Committee are Messrs. Lawrence, Dumont, Cannon, Dr. Moel, and Ms. Rodriguez. The Board of Directors determined that Messrs. Lawrence, Dumont, Cannon, Dr. Moel, and Ms. Rodriguez are independent under SEC Rule 10A-3(b)(1) and Nasdaq Rule 5605(a)(2). The Board has determined that all current members of the Audit Committee are “financially literate” as interpreted by the Board in its business judgment. No members of the Audit Committee have been qualified as an audit committee financial expert, as defined in the applicable rules of the SEC because the Board believes that the Company’s status as a smaller reporting company does not require expertise beyond financial literacy.

 

The Audit Committee meets periodically with our independent accountants and management to review the scope and results of the annual audit and to review our financial statements and related reporting matters prior to the submission of the financial statements to the Board. In addition, the Audit Committee meets with the independent auditors at least on a quarterly basis to review and discuss the annual audit or quarterly review of our financial statements.

 

We have established an Audit Committee Charter that deals with the establishment of the Audit Committee and sets out its duties and responsibilities. The Audit Committee is required to review and reassess the adequacy of the Audit Committee Charter on an annual basis. The Audit Committee Charter is available on our Company website at https://ir.gauchoholdings.com/governance-docs.

 

No Nominating Committee

 

GGH has not established a nominating committee, however the Company adopted its nomination guidelines compliant under Nasdaq rules effective April 15, 2015 and most recently updated them on March 25, 2021. Pursuant to Nasdaq Rule 5605, nominations must be made by a majority of the independent directors. Our independent directors are currently Messrs. Lawrence, Dumont, Cannon, Dr. Moel and Ms. Rodriguez. Eligible stockholders may nominate a person to the Board of Directors based on the procedure set forth in the nomination guidelines. The nomination guidelines are available on our website at https://ir.gauchoholdings.com/governance-docs.

 

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Compensation Committee

 

The Board of Directors established the Compensation Committee effective upon the uplisting of our common stock to Nasdaq and amended the same effective March 25, 2021. Such committee is in compliance with Nasdaq Rule 5605(d). The Compensation Committee consists of only independent directors in accordance with Nasdaq Rule 5605(a)(2) and all non-employee directors for purposes of Rule 16b-3 of the Exchange Act. The compensation of our CEO, Mr. Mathis, must be determined by the Compensation Committee and the CEO may not be present during voting or deliberations for his compensation.

 

The Compensation Committee is also responsible for making recommendations to the Board of Directors regarding the compensation of other executive officers, to review and administer our Company’s equity compensation plans, to review, discuss, and evaluate at least annually the relationship between risk management policies and practices and compensation, as well as oversee the Company’s engagement with stockholders and proxy advisors.

 

Although Nasdaq Rule 5605(d)(3) provides that the Compensation Committee may (in its discretion, not Board discretion) retain compensation consultants, independent legal counsel, and other advisors, the independent directors acting as the compensation committee have not decided to do so. Our Compensation Committee Charter is available at our website: https://ir.gauchoholdings.com/governance-docs.

 

Code of Business Conduct and Ethics and Whistleblower Policy

 

On March 24, 2015, our Board of Directors adopted a Code of Business Conduct and Whistleblower Policy effective April 15, 2015 and amended on March 25, 2021 (the “Code of Conduct”). Our Code of Conduct is applicable to all of the Company’s and its subsidiaries’ employees, including the Company’s Chief Executive Officer, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Compliance Office. The Code of Conduct contains written standards that are designed to deter wrongdoing and to promote honest and ethical conduct, including the ethical handling of actual or apparent conflicts of interest; full, fair, accurate, timely and understandable public disclosures and communications, including financial reporting; compliance with applicable laws, rules and regulations; prompt internal reporting of violations of the code; and accountability for adherence to the code. A copy of our Code of Business Conduct and Whistleblower Policy of the Company is posted at our website at https://ir.gauchoholdings.com/governance-docs.

 

Insider Trading Policy and Policy on Trading Blackout Periods, Benefit Plans and Section 16 Reporting

 

Our Insider Trading Policy and policy on Trading Blackout Periods, Benefit Plans and Section 16 Reporting applies to all of our officers, directors, and employees and provides strict guidelines as to restrictions on trading activity in the Company’s stock. These policies are posted at our website: https://ir.gauchoholdings.com/governance-docs.

 

Stockholder Communications to the Board

 

Stockholders who are interested in communicating directly with members of the Board, or the Board as a group, may do so by writing directly to the individual Board member c/o Secretary, Gaucho Group Holdings, Inc., 1445 16th Street, Suite 403, Miami Beach, Florida 33139. The Company’s Secretary will forward communications directly to the appropriate Board member. If the correspondence is not addressed to the particular member, the communication will be forwarded to a Board member to bring to the attention of the Board. The Company’s Secretary will review all communications before forwarding them to the appropriate Board member.

 

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ITEM 11. EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION

 

Summary Compensation Table

 

The following table sets forth, for our named executive officers, the compensation earned in the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019:

 

Summary Compensation Table for Executive Officers
Name and Principal Position  Fiscal
Year
   Salary
($)
   Bonus
($)
   Stock
Awards
($)
   Option
Awards (1)
($)
   All Other
Compensation
($)
   Total
($)
 
Scott L. Mathis(2)   2020    465,680    115,000    -    -    -    580,680 
Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer   2019    408,513    -    -    345,681    -    754,194 
                                    
Maria I Echevarria(3)   2020    180,000    35,000    -    -    -    215,000 
Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer   2019    163,876    31,000    -    30,561    -    225,437 

 

1) Represents the grant date full fair value of compensation costs of stock options granted during the respective year for financial statement reporting purposes, using the Black-Scholes option pricing model. Assumptions used in the calculation of these amounts are included in the Company’s consolidated financial statements. Refer to the Outstanding Equity Awards at Fiscal Year End schedule regarding option details on an award-by-award basis. The above table does not include any options granted under the 2018 Gaucho Plan.
   
2) On September 28, 2015, we entered into a new employment agreement with Scott Mathis, our CEO (the “Employment Agreement”). Among other things, the agreement provides for a three-year term of employment at an annual salary of $401,700 (subject to a 3% cost-of-living adjustment per year), bonus eligibility, paid vacation and specified business expense reimbursements. The agreement sets limits on the Mr. Mathis’ annual sales of GGH common stock. Mr. Mathis is subject to a covenant not to compete during the term of the agreement and following his termination for any reason, for a period of twelve months. Upon a change of control (as defined by the agreement), all of Mr. Mathis’ outstanding equity-based awards will vest in full and his employment term resets to two years from the date of the change of control. Following Mr. Mathis’s termination for any reason, Mr. Mathis is prohibited from soliciting Company clients or employees for one year and disclosing any confidential information of GGH for a period of two years. The agreement may be terminated by the Company for cause or by the CEO for good reason, in accordance with the terms of the agreement. On September 20, 2018, the Board of Directors extended the Employment Agreement on the same terms for a period of 120 days. On January 31, 2019, the Board of Directors of the Company extended Scott Mathis’ employment agreement to expire on April 30, 2019 and on April 29, 2019, Mr. Lawrence, the sole independent director present at the meeting of the Board of Directors extended his employment agreement to expire on June 30, 2019. On July 12, 2019, the Board of Directors extended Mr. Mathis’ employment agreement to expire on August 31, 2019 and on September 11, 2019, the Board extended the agreement to expire on October 31, 2019. On March 29, 2020, the Board of Directors further entered into an employment retention bonus agreement with Mr. Mathis, which offered him a retention bonus in recognition for his continued service with GGH for an additional three years. The retention bonus consists of the real estate lot on which Mr. Mathis has been constructing a home at Algodon Wine Estates, to vest in one-third increments over the next three years (the “Retention Period”), provided Mr. Mathis’s performance as an employee with the Company continues to be satisfactory, as deemed by the Board of Directors. On March 29, 2020, the independent members of the Board of Directors extended the agreement until December 31, 2020. On December 29, 2020, the independent members of the Board of Directors most recently extended the agreement until June 30, 2021. All other terms of the Employment Agreement remain the same.
   
3) Maria Echevarria was appointed Chief Financial Officer, Chief Operating Officer, Secretary and Compliance Officer effective April 13, 2015.

 

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Outstanding Equity Awards at Fiscal Year End

 

The following table provides information as to option awards on a post-split basis granted by the Company and held by each of the named executive officers of GGH as of December 31, 2020. There have been no stock awards made to Mr. Mathis or Ms. Echevarria as of December 31, 2020.

 

   Option Awards
Name  Number of
Securities
Underlying
Unexercised Options
Exercisable
(#)
   Number of
Securities
Underlying
Unexercised Options
Unexercisable
(#)
   Option
Exercise
Price
($)
   Option
Expiration
Date
Scott L. Mathis   13,125(1)   16,875(1)   5.78   1/31/2024
    46,040(2)   101,286(2)   5.78   7/8/2024
    15,000(3)   5,000(3)   16.50   11/17/2022
    45,834(4)   20,833(4)   11.55   2/14/2023
    27,188(5)   21,146(5)   8.09   9/20/2023
                   
Maria I. Echevarria   3,230(6)   7,104(6)   5.78   7/8/2024
    2,500(7)   834(7)   16.50   11/17/2022
    1,146(8)   521(8)   11.55   2/14/2023
    1,125(9)   875(9)   8.09   9/20/2023
    2,188(10)   2,812(10)   5.78   1/31/2024

 

The above table does not include any options granted under the 2018 Gaucho Plan.

 

(1) On January 31, 2019, Mr. Mathis was granted an option to acquire 30,000 shares of the Company’s common stock, of which 7,500 shares underlying the option vest on January 31, 2020, and 1,875 shares vest every three months thereafter.
(2) On July 8, 2019, Mr. Mathis was granted an option to acquire 147,326 shares of the Company’s common stock, of which 36,832 shares underlying the option vest on July 8, 2020, 9,208 shares vest on October 8, 2020, and 9,208 shares vest every three months thereafter.
(3) On November 17, 2017, Mr. Mathis was granted an option to acquire 20,000 shares of the Company’s common stock, of which 5,000 shares underlying the option vest on December 17, 2018, and 1,250 shares vest every three months thereafter.
(4) On February 14, 2018, Mr. Mathis was granted an option to acquire 66,667 shares of the Company’s common stock, of which 16,667 shares underlying the option vest on February 14, 2019, and 4,167 shares vest every three months thereafter.
(5) On September 20, 2018, Mr. Mathis was granted an option to acquire 48,334 shares of the Company’s common stock, of which 12,084 shares underlying the option vest on September 20, 2019, and 3,021 shares vest every three months thereafter.
(6) On July 8, 2019, Ms. Echevarria was granted an option to acquire 10,334 shares of the Company’s common stock, of which 2,584 shares underlying the option vest on July 8, 2020, 647 shares underlying the option vest on October 8, 2020, and 646 shares vest every three months thereafter.
(7) On November 17, 2017, Ms. Echevarria was granted an option to acquire 3,334 shares of the Company’s common stock, of which 834 shares underlying the option vest on December 17, 2018, and 209 shares vest every three months thereafter.
(8) On February 14, 2018, Ms. Echevarria was granted an option to acquire 1,667 shares of the Company’s common stock, of which 418 shares underlying the option vest on February 14, 2019, and 105 shares vest every three months thereafter.
(9) On September 20, 2018, Ms. Echevarria was granted an option to acquire 2,000 shares of the Company’s common stock, of which 500 shares underlying the option vest on September 20, 2019, and 125 shares vest every three months thereafter.
(10) On January 31, 2019, Ms. Echevarria was granted an option to acquire 5,000 shares of the Company’s common stock, of which 1,250 shares underlying the option vest on January 31, 2020, and 313 shares vest on April 30, 2020, and 313 shares vest every three months thereafter.

 

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Director Compensation

 

The following table sets forth compensation received by our non-employee directors:

 

       Director Compensation 
       Fees
Earned or Paid in Cash
   Bonus   Stock
 Awards
   Option
Awards(1)
   Total 
   Year   ($)   ($)   ($)   ($)   ($) 
Peter Lawrence (2)   2020    -    -    -    16,944    16,944 
    2019         -         -          -    26,292    26,292 
Steven A. Moel (3)   2020    <