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Choosing A Winery Location

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Your winery location is a very important factor when establishing a winery.  While it is tempting to minimize your land acquisition costs, that may mean you are far away from traffic and population.  Having a remote location will probably come at the expense of customer recognition, tasting room traffic, and bottle price expectation. Also as a smaller winery direct selling is going to be the primary source of revenue as distribution for small wineries is expensive and you will get very little marketing assistance from the distributors.  Also, because you already own a chunk of land somewhere doesn’t mean it will be good for a winery.  Build it and they will come is often a poor strategy.  At the very least  be sure the winery and vineyard  are visible from a major road with several nice signs leading customers to your door.  Why?  Because you are easier to find and many GPS units have a hard time with accuracy in rural locations.  A lost customer is either one who finds you and is angry or doesn’t show up at all.  Since most  of your sales are through the front door, make the investment to make it easy to find your winery.

Another consideration to be aware when choosing a winery location is the zoning.  Schools and churches can sometimes be a problem, especially if tax abatements are available. Make sure before buying property, you get permission from local governments and know whether you are in a dry county.   This is a problem I have seen several times and the owner bought the land then found out it was in a dry county.  Do your homework first and find out before spending money.

Be sure to have an assessment done to ensure there is sufficient water and waste disposal options.  Additionally be sure the these systems will allow you to operate.

Another tip for your winery location is to be sure there is sufficient space for space for parking, bathrooms and room for people to relax.  Tour operators love stops at wineries, especially with the older folks.  Your bathrooms are a necessity if you want to bring in these large groups.  If you have  limits on space, have the female restrooms have the most stalls and amenities.  This investment will pay off.  As simple as it sounds be sure to have enough space to encourage people to stay and enjoy a few glasses of wine.  If your tasting room is cramped they aren’t going to want to stay for long and that impacts your profitability.

The bottom line is to be sure and do your homework before investing a large sum of money for your land.  Proper planning upfront will save many headaches down the road to having a great winery business.