Embarking on the journey of opening a new business is always daunting.

Venturing into starting your own business within the wine industry is no different.

It may even be a little more tricky than other industries, but the risk versus reward ratio is astounding.

As with any new business in any industry, you need to do your homework before taking on the mammoth task of trying to break into and stand out among the competition.  You really need to understand the level of financial commitment involved in such an undertaking and prepare yourself in advance. Of course, the other flipside is that you will reap the rewards if you do everything by the book and with passion. The wind industry has seen tremendous growth during the past few years and can expect to yield a 4.2 increase from 2020 to 2027.


Business Plan Basics

As with any other business, a winery business plan is essential to get you off on the right foot. A business plan ensures you have done all the necessary groundwork and undertaken the extensive research required to make the monumental decision to start your own business in the wine industry.

  • Executive Summary.
  • Comprehensive Business Description.
  • Detailed Analysis of Labour and Operation.
  • Market Analysis and Evaluation.
  • Explanatory Product Plan.
  • Marketing Plan focused on the wine industry.
  • Financial Analysis and Plan.
  • Proposal for Investment.

These are all factors included in a general business plan. In the wine industry, it is essential to pay attention to industry-related factors.  The wine industry is complex; therefore, your business plan needs to incorporate the distinct aspects and characteristics that make this business different from any other.

Location, Location, Location

Deciding on a location for your winery is a vital cog in the works. You can’t move forward with your plans without identifying a preferred location for your winery.  Decide whether you want a local winery or set your sites internationally. Explore various locations according to your preferences.

Bottle Bonanza

While it may seem insignificant, the size and appearance or design of your labels impact your plan to start your own business in the wine industry. This seemingly frivolous task will be a welcome and enjoyable distraction from the more urgent and intense decisions you to follow throughout the process. Remember your labels will define your brand. Love, care, and passion are required to create a label that speaks for your brand and tells a story.


Climate Review

If you have done your homework, you will understand that different grapes flourish in varying climates. The area you choose for your winery will affect the type of grapes you can use in the wine production process. An extensive study of the relationship between the climate and grapes is an imperative factor to success in the wine industry.

This Grape or That Grape?

Flexibility is a characteristic you must embrace during this planning phase of starting your own business in the wine industry. You have two choices, base your location around your preferred grape type or be flexible with the grape type to accommodate your desired location.

The Cellar

Any winery, superior to its competitors, has a phenomenal wine cellar on the premises. Whether your decision is to use an already standing structure or include plans to build a new crypt, make sure that the wine cellar is a focal point of your operation.

Staying Within the Laws

Be sure to examine and understand the laws of the country you are operating in. Laws governing alcohol don’t necessarily only relate to who purchases your wine. The rules often also dictate whom you can hire to work for you at your winery. Alcohol laws are complex and require the completion of a multitude of paperwork for every bottle distributed. It is vital to leave the nitty gritty to the professionals. It is very time-consuming to try and navigate these waters on your own, and you could be putting your business at risk. Leave the paperwork to a compliance professional and focus your attention on areas where you can make a marked difference to your business operation.

Tools of the Trade

This part of your business plan will require some guesswork and estimation. You won’t fully be able to calculate the cost implications of the required tools or equipment until you know the size of the winery you will be opening.

Cost Estimations

Cost estimations will feature in the financial section of your business plan, and many of the costs will be directly related to the wine industry. Costs can incorporate equipment, which we mentioned earlier, vines, bottles, and even your labels.

Plans to Distribute

The importance of developing a distribution plan will vary in accordance with how small or large scale you plan to distribute your wines. If you plan to secure a portion of the market catering to large stores, pay special attention to this part of the plan. If you only plan to distribute to your local community in small batches, it simplifies the process somewhat. Regardless, the logistics related to the distribution of your wine are indispensable.


Market Your Wine to Success

Anybody venturing into starting their own business, especially in the wine industry, needs to understand how invaluable a marketing plan is. Marketing is an ongoing task rather than a once-off endeavour. Wine industry-specific marketing, and marketing of your own business in that industry, will encompass everything from promoting various bottles of wine or new additions to your wine family to hosting events that attract attention to your wine label and even tailoring your space for wine tastings and everything in between.

There are myths surrounding wine and the production of wine. To effectively market your product, you must put these myths to rest with your target market. One such myth surrounds Sulfites. Sulfites are naturally present in wine through the fermentation process. Sulfites are often blamed for hangovers or headaches after a night out drinking wine.  Of course, this is untrue and has been debunked through research carried out by Sophie Parker-Thompson, Master of Wine. Besides the naturally present Sulfites, using additional Sulfites as an additive prevents the growth of bacteria in the wine and preserves aromas and flavour.

Taking The Shorter Route

Bear in mind that it isn’t imperative to have your own vineyard or your own cellar to succeed in the wine industry or to start your own business in the wine industry. Let’s explore some ideas around this.

Every wine-lover who is an entrepreneur at heart dreams of cultivating their own vineyard and owning a winery, but, for most, the exorbitant costs of undertaking or starting your own business in the wine industry put the dream just too far out of reach. It doesn’t have to be the case.

Running your own business in the wine industry is within your grasp. It has become common practice for wine traders to take a page out of a French Merchant Model. The model involves wine traders buying grapes, juice, or finished wine from growers. The product is bottled and sold under the wine trader’s brand name.

The French Merchant Model allows the winemakers and farmers to focus on their strengths which are growing and harvesting grapes and producing wine. For the wine-loving entrepreneur, it means they can pursue their own business within the wine industry. It also allows them to focus on the business aspects, where their strengths lie.

Comfortable Collaboration

Starting your own business in the wine industry, launching a new business, or changing industries is daunting.

The reality is that other professionals in the wine industry are excited by the prospect of new brands or different perspectives and offer collaboration and inclusion to the new kid on the block. The wine community is diverse, but they all share one common passion, wine. While they may be working on labels that compete in the marketplace, it isn’t uncommon for winemakers to share their knowledge with their peers. Rest assured that someone is always eager to assist or send you in the right direction if they can’t help.  A culture of uniqueness and community defines the wine industry. You will do the same in your own business.

Starting your own business in the wine industry makes work feel more like being part of creating something unique and special. If owning a winery is your dream, go forth and conquer but ensure that you have dotted all the i’s and crossed all the t’s.

Working in the wine industry is an occupation or should we call it a vocation that requires perseverance, hard work, and long hours but it does reward on a monetary level but also on a level that touches your soul and ignites your passion.

Whichever way you choose to start your own business within the wine industry, do it with conviction, passion, and a love for the finer things in life. Create a wine brand that speaks you soul and titillates the tastebuds.




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