Considering purchasing an established vineyard. Wondering if any industry people have advice?
Bet you haven't heard this before, right?
The property I'm looking at is in Northern California and has 25 acres planted, sufficient well water, and was originally established 17 years ago. Currently all of the grapes have contracts that are expiring after this years harvest and is well maintained. There are a mixture of white and red varietals, when the vineyard was producing the bottles of wine were selling in the range of $21-$42/bottle. There is no wine making facility on site, but there are great wine makers in the area and we've got contacts. Probably not large enough to support wine making equipment. Plenty of land, but just not enough production.
The land is completely covered by management companies, so there aren't any employees.
Next harvest will be in about a year, red wines take 18 months and white wines take 6 months, so I've got a while until I'll be able have an estate wine.
The plan I've got currently is to purchase bulk wine and put our label on it for the first two seasons. The capacity of the vineyard is just over 5,000 cases per year. Probably will start with 1,000 – 2,000 cases the first year of bulk wine, then up the next years bulk wine purchase depending on how much I can sell from the first load.
I think we can afford the property and to cover operating costs for the first couple of years. One thing that worries me is… how in the heck to I sell a couple thousand cases of wine?! This isn't my industry (yet!), but it's a lifestyle change that we are really looking forward to making.
On the property there are plans and a foundation for a tasting room, and it's in a good area to attract people that are looking for tasting rooms. I'm not sure I can afford to build the tasting room and support operating costs at first, year three we would have some cash on hand… if we can make it!
Any thoughts on how beneficial a tasting room is for selling wine? Or thoughts on how to go about breaking into the market as a newcomer? We've got the support of the current owner, although I'd like to have as much hands on with this as possible.
Submitted August 05, 2017 at 06:21PM by bsdboy
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