Owning a vineyard can be a highly rewarding, yet challenging business. Not only do you get to choose the type of wine you can produce and have endless amounts of your favorite wine at your fingers, but you can also take satisfaction in seeing your bottles on the shelves while making a profit. Many people assume owning and operating a vineyard is a stress-free affair without realizing how involved it can be.
So, how difficult is it to own and operate a vineyard? Here are some of the key things that you need to consider before deciding to go into wine production.
If you have absolutely no knowledge of how a vineyard operates, the first thing you will need to do is research what goes into purchasing and running a vineyard. You need to understand what the process involves from start to finish along with knowing the key challenges. If you can, try to speak to the managers or staff of vineyards in surrounding areas and find out as much as you can from them. Bear in mind though, these people may end up being your competitors and may not be forthcoming in what they share with you.
Another good source of information about how a vineyard operates is a knowledgeable realtor with experience in negotiating sales of land and property used for this purpose. Not only will they be able to give you valuable advice, but a great realtor will also ensure that if you do go ahead with your purchase, you get the right vineyard for the best possible deal.
Being passionate about wine is one thing, but it is essential to remember that when you buy a vineyard you will become a business owner too. It simply isn’t possible to operate a vineyard on your own, so you will need to employ staff.
If you haven’t run a business before, owning a vineyard will be a considerable learning curve for you. Many inexperienced prospective buyers enroll in basic business classes to help prepare for their venture. At the same time, it is possible to learn as you go along. You could also consider hiring an experienced vineyard manager who will oversee the majority of the day to day operations on your behalf.
In addition to the general business side of running your vineyard, you should also brush up on your employment law. Depending on the size of your vineyard, you could employ several dozen people and need the help of hundreds of seasonal laborers over the harvest season. It is important to know what you need to be offering employees, so they paid for their worth and you aren’t breaking any employment laws. Of course, keeping your staff happy is also essential to a productive work environment and a great end product, your wine.
It is easy to get swept up in calculating how much your wine is worth. However, first, you need to factor in the running costs of making your product. The equipment for stemming, crushing, fermenting, and aging wine doesn’t come cheap, neither do resources such as water, fertilizer, and bug spray for the growing process and the barrels and forklifts you will need to move your wine around your vineyard. You will also be liable for alcohol tax, even before you sell any of your product. You need to be fairly confident that you, or an employed accountant, can manage to juggle all of the costs associated with your vineyard and correctly calculate the tax that you will owe. A great financial advisor will be able to help you further understand the costs involved in owning and running a vineyard.
Although it is entirely possible to set up a new vineyard from scratch, unless you are an experienced wine-maker then we strongly recommend that you purchase a vineyard that is already well established. This means that much of the initial work, such as setting up irrigation and planting the grapes have already been completed. There may even be existing staff that you can retain, and this is invaluable as they will already understand everything about the way that your vineyard works.
If you are considering owning and running a vineyard contact Walla Walla Sotheby’s International Realty today.