Anyone who has always wanted to start a winery needs to do a lot of research prior to taking that big step. If the money is available, whether it is from investors or personal money or even grants, the person considering the venture needs to make certain that the numbers balance out. No one wants to invest in a proposition that is going to lose money.
Owning a winery is not easy. There is no such thing as “immediate return on the money” in a winery. The perfect land must be found prior to making any other plans. While looking at land the buyer has to consider the condition of the soil and research the grapes that will be planted there to see if they will grow and thrive in that type of soil. Altitude, soil type, and temperatures should be investigated. A new winery owner should know what sort of pests might attack the grapes in the vineyard and how to kill them. Is there sufficient water for a new winery in this area? Water quality and rainfall should be tested prior to purchasing the property. You should also know if there are other small wineries in the area and visit them to see what sorts of problems they might have had.
Then, the potential buyer should check with other area land owners to see if there would be any possibility of expanding the winery at a later time if the venture were a success. If not, then he/she should check to see if there was a potential for area land to be leased later on for planting more grapes or if area farmers would be willing to assist with growing specific grapes at a later time.
A lot of research is required to find out if a winery will be productive and if it will be financially successful. A person who wants to start a winery needs to know all there is to know about grapes before he/she even decides where it is to be. He/she must know how the varieties differ and understand the skin colors and what they mean to the flavor of the grape. Then he/she needs to learn about the thickness of the skins and the size of the grapes and how they ripen. While studying these variables, it is important to consider why some types of grapes perform so well in certain places and which sort of variety grows best in which type of soil. If this isn’t enough to totally confuse the person, he/she needs to decide which type of wine will be made from the grape planted.
A person who wishes to start a winery should also consider if there are grants to assist in financing the winery. Some areas might actually be willing to make a small business loan to the owner of a new winery just to be able to bring new business into the areas. New wineries also bring in many visitors who want to find a good new label wine.
Starting a winery involves purchasing things like fermentation tanks, barrels, storage tanks, crushers, steamers, and machinery like tractors. A new owner will want to hire people who are knowledgeable about all areas of wine growth and production. It will also be necessary to know where to get the cuttings and new vines that will become the special wine to be produced.
Some people decide to purchase wineries that are already in operation in order to have personnel already at work that know the grapes, the soil and the processes. Sometimes this is a good move but for the person whose dream is to start his/her own winery the process is a long and detailed one.
Some people begin by learning the history of grape growing and wineries in the area in which they wish to locate the winery. If the winery is to be in a well known wine making area of a particular country, the person should learn the history of the area and of the wine made there. The very first grape grown in the “New World” is still in existence and bearing grapes. It was first noticed by Sir Walter Raleigh’s passengers who found the massive prolific vine on Roanoke Island, N.C. It is known as the Mother Vine and is thought to be about 400 years old. The vine was an indication that the Native Americans actually cultivated the white grape to make wine. If a person were to decide to begin a winery in North Carolina, cultivating the Mother Vine grape and making a version of that historical wine would be one of the best marketing ideas the owner could have and would create an instant interest in the winery from the very beginning. Maybe it was good grape juice or wine that got the people through those cold winters of the 1600’s.