There’s always going to be a reliable demand for quality wine. It’s produced all over the world, including in the UK, and if you’ve got the expertise and the terroir – the right environment to make wine – it’s a great way to generate an income.
If you’ve always wanted to start a vineyard of your own, then you’ll want to make sure that you’ve done the necessary groundwork, and that the business stands a reasonable chance of success. Let’s take a look at how we might do that.
Formulate a business plan
Every successful business starts with a plan. If you’re doing something specialised, like wine production, then this is especially so. You’ll need to set out your plan. Take into account the state of the industry, and the competition you’ll face. Your plan should incorporate financial projections, which you’ll be able to use as a yardstick for measuring your performance.
The business plan isn’t designed to be set in stone, but rather updated regularly. You might elect to settle on a particular niche, like ethically-produced or vegan wine.
Get the necessary expertise
Wine is something that takes time and skill to produce. Given that a growing season lasts a full year, and it takes several years before a wine is ready for drinking, it’s not something that you can muddle through as you go along.
If you don’t already have experience in the industry, you’ll be at a disadvantage, although this can be managed by getting the right education, including an internship. Learn about modern crop rotation techniques, and the technology that’ll allow you (or your contractor) to squeeze maximum flavour from every grape. Many big-name vineyards are rooted in centuries of tradition – and this can be an encumbrance, as it allows new disruptors to blaze a trail by advancing new techniques.
Know what you need
The equipment you need will depend on the extent of the work you’re doing. If you’re just growing the grapes, then you’ll just need a means of harvesting them. This means tractors and toppers. If you’re going to bottle, market and sell the wine yourself, on the other hand, you’ll need to invest a little bit more.
You’ll also need to think about administration, which means an office and the staff to run it. Given how much your prospects depend on pure chance (especially given how inhospitable the weather in the UK can be), it’s worth also thinking about specialised farm insurance to protect yourself against unforeseen losses.
Once you have this in place, you can begin your vineyard.