How to start a wine business

How to start a wine business

When brainstorming on business ideas to venture into, vintner is hardly on top of the list for many people. In as much as it is a ‘crazy’ idea, wine business is in fact an extremely profitable business venture.  Production of wine has been ...

When brainstorming on business ideas to venture into, vintner is hardly on top of the list for many people. In as much as it is a ‘crazy’ idea, wine business is in fact an extremely profitable business venture.  Production of wine has been around for ages and the industry is evolving by the day with an array of tastes, packaging and flavors.

Nevertheless, the decision to venture into the wine business is not one to be made in a rush. There are a couple of things you need to familiarize yourself with. This will help you make strategic decisions and smart business plans.

Factors to consider before starting a wine business

Understanding of wine

Just like any other business, you will need to have a good understanding of all matters wine. This includes some basic knowledge on grapes, flavors, clients’ preferences, pricing as well as alcohol percentages. This will help you to be able to properly manage your business.

Any company that deals with producing products for human consumption is regulated by government quality check bodies. Therefore, you will be required to obtain certain permits to run the business. If you are in fact thinking of manufacturing your own wine, you will be subjected to quite a number of frequent inspections. Laws and restrictions vary in different states however, there are three basic permits every wine business will require; food production license, a liquor license to permit selling of alcoholic drinks and a general business permit.


This is especially for those who would want to grow their own grapes. It is important to consider the soil ph. and the climate of the area (grapes require plenty of sunlight). There are certain locations that are famous for their wineries. They include; Barossa in Australia, Boudreaux in France, Napa Valley and California in U.S.A. setting up your winery near others is in fact a good strategy that will assure you of support and a strong professional network from other like minded individuals.

Also, setting up your wine business in an area with a number of wineries will help you to market your product. This is because wine lovers like to visit such areas for wine tasting experiences.

Location is also an important aspect to consider for those who wish to be outsourcing their raw products (grapes). Accessibility from your provider should be able to make sense in terms of transportation costs and distance.


With the finished product in hand, you will need to determine how best to distribute your wine.  In many cases, small wineries opt to sell their wine online since it is cheaper than distributing to stores. Other options for selling wine include; organizing wine tasting events at your vineyard or you can choose to put up your own wine store.

Either way, you will still need to market your product in order to create brand awareness and attract clients.

Starting a Wine Business

There are three possible routes you can take when thinking of starting a wine business. These include;

Having a Vineyard

This is the traditional route of getting into the wine business. It involves buying land, planting the grapes, harvesting and manufacturing all by yourself. Only a few people can manage to go down this road. From the cost of buying land, labor wages during planting and harvesting time and the length of time it will take to actually have your finished product; it’s a huge gamble.

The upside to this is that you have the freedom of selecting your ideal location, choosing which grapes to plant and growing your wine brand from the bottom; growing with your business from nothing is so fulfilling.

Buying an established winery

This option is easier than setting up a vineyard since it comes with ready equipment, ready source of raw materials and if lucky enough, an already established wine brand for you to take over from. Nevertheless, you can choose to rebrand the wine, change distributions routes and in some cases even replace or add new equipment.

With this option, you will be able to see results quicker since most of the burden involved with starting from scratch have been scraped off from your back. The downside however is that you might end up spending at least 30% more than what it would have cost you to set up your own vineyard.

Wine Retail

There are a lot of profitable opportunities in the wine business that do not necessarily need you to do all the hard work especially if you have no interest in grape farming. Some of these business ideas include;

Setting up a wine shop

This involves selling wine in retail quantity. Important to consider with this is the location. Places where your shop is likely to do well is in shopping malls or in affluent neighborhoods. With as little as $2000, you can be able to get a small wine business up and running.

Running a wine bar

A wine bar is simply a place that focuses solely on selling wine in retail. Such places have spaces where people can come to hang out while drinking wine, listening to music and indulging in good food.

Become a wine exporter

This involves exporting wines from your country to other countries, you could also import wine from other countries into your country. This is a very lucrative business since wine lovers love experimenting with different wines from various places.

Wine collector

This involves collecting rare old wine, sometimes from centuries ago and selling them to wine collectors. Wine collectors are people who buy rare, fine wines; they are just like people who like to collect vintage gems such as cars or rare works of art.

Luxury wine maker

Last but certainly not the least, if you are experienced with the art of making wine, you can choose to go the extra mile to make luxury wine. Luxury wine is wine that is made with exquisite flavors and packaged expensively with some bottles made from pure gold. In such a case however, the buyers would be more interested in the bottled rather than the wine.

Bottom line

If you are genuinely interested in the business of wine, you will require a lot of effort, teamwork, patience and money but eventually it will all pay off. Whichever way you choose to go about it, always seek professional advice through it all especially if you are a beginner. It will go a long way to prevent you from making costly mistakes.