Are you wondering how to start a wine business? If you have been enamored with wines for a long time now, it does not surprise us you are now thinking of getting into this beverage’s industry. This drink can do that. Today, allow us to help you get started with this venture. We have plenty to cover, so let us get right into it!
1. Gain the Knowledge
Learn all there is to know about wines before you get into this industry. It is possible to enter some industries and wing them. However, that is not the case with this trade. A vast understanding of wines could push your business to success, while a lack of it could pull it down.
2. Have a Realistic Outlook and the Right Attitude to Match
Getting into the wine trade is tough. It requires a lot of effort, time, and money. Additionally, it could take ages before you actually see anything happening. This is why passion should often also be on the table. You will need a great deal of determination and perseverance to break into and make it in this field.
3. Answer Who, What, and Where
There are many types of wine businesses. You can open a winery, wine shop, or wine bar, to name a few. On the other hand, there are also many possible customers. Narrow down which path you want to take.
Additionally, you want to decide where you will be doing your business as early as now. As you might already know, location can make or break a business. That is true in more ways than one. In addition to the number of customers, location can also affect taxes and such.
4. Decide What You Will Be Selling
We have answered the who, what, and where above. However, there is one more what you want to answer. While you know you want to sell some wines, there are dozens and dozens of wines out there. You want to decide here what exact wine(s) you will sell.
Though focusing on a single wine is an option, diversifying your selection with at least three varieties could safeguard against potential customer preferences that don’t align with a single offering.
5. Identity and Entity
Once you have learned all you can, filled yourself up with resolve, and decided which path to take, the real work begins.
Choosing a Name
First, you want to pick a name for your business. It should stay true to the heart of your business, and it should be a name with a story, as the best things in this industry almost always have a story behind them.
However, that is not all you want to consider when picking a name. You also want to think about the legal and marketing aspects of it.
On the legal aspect, you want to see if the name you chose is still up for the taking or if someone is already using it. You want to avoid a company name that is already in use. Not only might you confuse future customers, but you might find yourself in the middle of a legal dispute before things even take off.
On the marketing aspect, you want to choose a name that still has an available domain. Additionally, one is still available on different social media sites. As you already know, we are in the digital age. The net plays a big part in a business. As much as possible, you want the exact same name on the many different platforms.
Choosing an Entity
After choosing a name, you want to choose a business entity. There are many types, with sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, and limited liability company (LLC) being the main options.
Many suggest going with an LLC but take a good look at your options and choose the one that would work best for you. Each one has its pros and cons. What worked for one might not be the best one for you.
After choosing a business entity, you want to start building your brand. There are many things under brand building, and you will not be able to do it all this early in the process. However, for now, you want to have a brand logo already. You can let your creativity take the wheel, but it might be best to work with a digital artist for this one.
While you cannot work on every part of brand building this early, you might want to start conceptualizing other parts of it. Start working on things like brand strategy, advertising, and marketing already. This way, you will be all set when you launch.
6. Have a Plan
After all that, you want to have a plan. A business plan, to be exact.
This document serves as a guide not only in the short-term but in the long-term too. It is not something you come up with in the early stages and forget when things start to take off. It is an ever-changing document that is never finished. It needs to be revised and updated as your business grows.
As you might have already guessed, it needs to have a lot of things, including but not limited to business overview, competition analysis, logistics, and accounting. Overall, any factor that could affect your business – good or bad – should be here.
There are business plan templates and samples available out there. You can use one of them or use them as a reference if this is the first time you are making a business plan. For one, you can check this video out:
On the other hand, you might also want to consult or work with a business plan writer for this task.
7. Licensing, Permits, and Approvals
Licensing, getting permits, and doing paperwork are always strenuous, and it is too in the wine industry. Actually, it might be a wee bit harder.
You do not only need to get the go signal to operate your business. You also need approval from the FDA and Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau. Additionally, you have to check in with the local rules and regulations!
It can all be so overwhelming. With that, you might want to seek the help of a lawyer and a compliance company.
8. Get a Business Insurance
One thing many forget to include in their start-up plan is to get business insurance. There are many types. There seems to be one for every aspect of the business! You do not have to get one for every part, though. At least, not immediately. However, you might seriously want to consider getting general liability insurance at least.
9. Budgeting and Funding
Once you have all of the above down and know how much each step will cost, it’s time to start budgeting.
Aside from those mentioned above, some of the other things you would need to consider include the land, grapes, machinery, and even salaries if you plan to employ a few people immediately.
You will likely have no trouble fulfilling the budget if you have millions in your bank account. However, if you don’t, you do not have to worry. There are some other means to get the money. For one, you can ask for help from friends and family. If that is not enough, you can also take out a loan. On the other hand, you can also try to look for investors.
Also, it might also be the best time to open a bank account for your business. It is easy, and it will also make tracking the finances of your business easy.
10. Look Towards the Future
All these steps are only the beginning. As your business grows, the things you have to manage and think of will also expand.
Given the dynamic nature of the wine industry, continuous learning and forward-thinking are paramount for your business’s success and longevity.
Know what traditions to keep and what needs to change with time. As the fall of many great companies has taught us, what worked before might stop working at some point. It is all about knowing what to keep and let go of at the right place and time.
How to start a wine business? Today, we showed you how in ten steps!
First, you want to gain all the wine knowledge you can. After that, you want to have a realistic outlook and the right attitude to enter this industry. Next, you want to decide which path to take in entering this trade, which includes answering who, what, and where.
Then, the real action starts with building your identity, followed by making a business plan and taking care of the licensing and the funding. Finally, as this trade is ever-changing, learning and learning will help a lot to keep your business thriving and surviving.
Well, that is all from us for now. Until next time!
George Moore, co-founder of Wine Flavor Guru, is a charismatic entrepreneur with a rich background in California’s wine industry. Alongside Sylvia, he transformed a Sonoma County vineyard into a source of premium wines. George’s expertise in sourcing exceptional grapes and his approachable style make wine appreciation both accessible and engaging.