This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
‘Let’s start a winery...’

Living the dreamcan turn into a nightmare without plenty of careful advance planning.

By Gary Strachan “L

et’s start a winery,” she said enthusiastically.

“Oookaaay,” he said, with

his voice trailing off . And that’s where it all began.

The temperate regions of the world are a lure to one of the most admired fraternities in the world: the wine industry. It draws from all levels of society, ranging from the laid-back semi-retired, to the hot shot denizens of corporate boardrooms. The skill sets of owners range from dreamers to MBAs and PhDs, yet in many ways none is more qualified than the other. Their skills may only be complementary.

Grapes are the largest cultivated fruit crop of the world, and roughly

90 per cent of the crop is fermented into wine. In most wine- producing regions, a

handful of large corporations dominate the industry, but the romance is created by dozens,

hundreds, or thousands of small, family-run businesses. To the visitor, the winemaker lives the dream. Winemaking is probably the most- envied profession in the world.

What’s the reality? The reality is that it is very hard to achieve that dream. Even after years of training with specialized courses, you might not acquire all the skills required to run a winery successfully. You also require capital, lots of capital, and the stamina to operate a small business seven days per week. How do you know if you can successfully start a winery? Start

with an idea. There are almost as many business models for a winery as there are wineries. Everyone has a new model that is certain to be innovative enough to be successful in the face of intense competition. Don’t be naïve. If you have made a few bottles of good wine in a U-brew, don’t tell yourself that it qualifies you to do it professionally. Hire a skilled adviser. Better yet, don’t even try to do it yourself. Budget for trained help, someone who knows enough microbiology, chemistry, agriculture, and plant physiology to make good wines by design rather than by chance.


 Canadian Grafted  Potted  Custom Grafted  Imported

905-984-4324 •

Gemmrich W. Nursery Inc., 278 Line 5, RR4, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario L0S 1J0 “Our business is grown on good roots!”


Employ your own skills where they will most benefit your new company. You are the face and personality of your new company, not the cellar rat. After you have thought through every step of your new business model, cost it out on a spreadsheet for at least the first five years. Research the cost of every detail: every fence staple, post, drain cover and shingle. You will probably find that you can’t afford to borrow enough money to start a winery and

British Columbia FRUIT GROWER • Summer 2011

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36