Wine as a Business?

Crowd at the Unified Wine and Grape Symposium

Because Michael makes wine, a lot of people ask us if we’ll go into wine as a business.

Wine bag filling machine featured at wine conference for Wine as a Business
Bag filling machine featured at the Unified Symposium

Uh. No. And as much fun as we had at the wine industry Unified Symposium this week, we became even more certain that we’ll keep our amateur status, at least as winemakers.

The Unified Wine and Grape Symposium, by the way, is the big wine industry convention that takes place every year in Sacramento. It takes place in late January because that’s when winemakers are the least busy at their wineries. We just took in the exhibit halls, but two floors of ancillary businesses dedicated to the growing and making of wine is a lot of wine as a business.

Back when we were new to wine, like many folks, we’d go to a winery, do the tasting, sit back, and think, “This is the life.” And the wine business is very much a lifestyle and a very attractive one. But it is also a business, one with high overhead, lots of risks, and even more competition.

Yes, that’s all swag

This is not to say that you shouldn’t consider going into wine as a business. Nor do you have to be a winemaker to be involved in the wine industry. We met lawyers, regulators, lots and lots of marketing people, scientists. All sorts. We had a lot of fun talking to all sorts.

And let’s not talk about all the swag. We didn’t even get the bulk of it, either. We let at least two-thirds of the pens, notepads, sticky notes, coffee mugs, and other ephemera go.

In the months to come, we hope to cover some of the different jobs and people in the wine industry because it’s the people who make the difference. The people are the most interesting and fun part of it. And their voices are what is about.

Please tell us what you think.

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