Have you ever seen pictures of a sweeping landscape of a vineyard? That might be enough to make you want to start a winery for yourself.
If you have a dream of building wine your own winery, like Verwood Wines, this is the time to make it a reality. Wine is no longer the drink of the high and mighty.
Younger wine consumers are starting to rise as some are looking for alternatives to beer and cocktails. Yet, the industry faces many threats that could ruin your business.
Are you ready to learn what it takes to create a wine startup that can last for generations?
Let’s get started!
Write Your Business Plan
This is going to be the most important document you write for your wine startup. This will serve as the map for your business.
A basic business plan will document things like what your business is about, the brand, target market, how you plan to make money, and what your expenses are to start up and each month.
The goal of the business plan is to show that you have a solid business idea and you have a way to be profitable. You may show your path to go from direct sales to retail distribution.
In your business plan, you need to document what the threats are to your business and how you can overcome those threats.
For many wine startups, you have to go beyond increased competition, changing demographics, and economic shifts.
For example, climate change is a risk to the wine industry and your business. You need to document potential changes in weather and figure out how you can insulate yourself from these changes as much as possible.
These are real threats to your business, and it’s happening. Wineries in California suffered the impacts of wildfires. Some of the oldest wineries in Spain are buying land that may be useful a few years from now.
Other threats to your business may include invasive species. Some parts of the eastern U.S. have seen an infestation of the spotted lanternfly bug. It seems harmless until you learn that it could destroy grape plants—along with your profits.
Starting a winery isn’t a get rich quick scheme. You’ll discover that it takes several years before you start to make a profit. You need to be financially prepared for this reality.
Grow or Outsource Your Grapes?
You can’t make wine if you don’t have grapes! One of the things you have to consider as you plan your business is whether or not you’re going to grow your own grapes.
There are advantages and disadvantages to each option.
When you grow the grapes yourself, you have to pay for the land, plants, and cultivation of the grapes. That is a huge expense.
At the same time, you have total control over the growing process. You can control everything about your wines.
Outsourcing can save money at the beginning of your wine startup. That can cut down costs, but you have to find the right partner.
You could have gone through the process to find the right partner and rely on them for years for their grapes. All of a sudden, they could go away.
That will leave you and your winery in a place where you need to find another grape producer so you can produce the quality of wines your customers are used to.
Part of the decision comes down to the types of wines that you want to produce. There are a variety of wines to choose from, and a lot of people prefer Italian semi-sweet wines.
Table wines that are primarily blends are good candidates for outsourcing. Estate wines that are made from a specific grape should be grown on the estate. These are premium wines that have to have the highest quality. All of that starts with the grape.
Location of the Wine Startup
A winery is no longer confined to California, Bordeaux, or the hills of Northern Italy. You can start a winery anywhere.
There are wineries in Pennsylvania, British Columbia, and Maui. The wines produced in each area differ based on the grapes that thrive in those climates.
In Pennsylvania, concord grapes grow easily. British Columbia is becoming known for high-quality pinot noir grapes.
Before you decide where you want to be, you need to consider the wine varietals you want to produce. Ask yourself where those varietals will thrive. That will help you narrow down your options.
You’ll then want to buy up the land that’s suitable for growing grapes. How much land will you need? It depends on how much wine you want to produce. It also depends on the grapes you’re growing and the yield.
One acre can yield anywhere between 120–600 cases of wine a year.
Marketing Your Winery
You need to think about marketing your winery early on in the process. You don’t want to wait until you harvested the first grapes.
Marketing your winery holds the key between being successful and not. A winery needs to have a strong brand and a great story that people will appreciate.
You can share your passion for wine and the love that goes into making a barrel of wine. You can visit this website to find out more about marketing.
Registering Your Winery
Are you at the point where you want to make your winery official? You’ll have to get a license to operate a winery.
The type of license you need will depend on your location and whether or not you plan to sell wine on the premises or not. You may need a liquor license if you do wine tastings on-premises.
Check with your state’s liquor commission for the details on what you need and the costs.
At the very least, you’ll need to register your business with your state’s secretary of state’s office. You may have to do the same with your municipality.
Building Wine Startups for Success
How can you start a winery that’s built for success? It takes a lot of work and commitment upfront.
With careful planning, you can navigate the risks and have a successful winery. Wine startups aren’t easy, but it allows you to follow your passion and do what you love.
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