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August 9, 2007 | General , WineDirect Buzz | WineDirect Admin

The Wine Business - Another Full-time Job

They come from every profession - some are bankers, plastic surgeons, race car drivers, and ex-movie stars. All were wildly successful. Now they want to be in the wine business.

It’s a glamorous lifestyle, this wine thing, making sure gophers and deer (and the glassy-winged sharpshooter) don’t get your crop. Yes, the Napa Wine Auction is very glamorous. Although, red leaf and root louse and powdery mildew are all concerns. But, the vintners all live in really nice houses and hob nob with other cool people. And then there’s the weather.

It’s kind of a Green Acres conundrum - Manolo Blahniks worn with overalls.

Unfortunately, what happens in the vineyard is not the half of it. Once the wine is in the bottle it has to be sold. This part makes the farming thing seem like making mud pies. A friend of mine, a great Winemaker for many years, decided to bottle juice under his own name. Now he questions that decision. What seemed like a good idea at first, is actually another full-time job - and then some. The market is teeming with wines; the competition is more fierce than ever.

Herein lies the cruxst of my biscuit, so to speak. The wine business is not a good place to retire. This business will take all your money and business acumen just to stay afloat. You can hire a broker or a distributor but it is a full time job to manage them. On top of that, you’ll give away a large portion of your profits.

At Inertia, we help you keep a bigger piece of the pie. Selling wine directly to your consumers is a way to build relationships and your brand and has a bigger return on investment. But, I did say investment, of time, and resources. The most successful wineries are those that are adequately staffed and put some money behind the direct channel.

I’m not saying you should throw away your high-heeled shoes - there’ll be plenty of parties. Just be ready to slap on those old sneakers, too, and roll your sleeves up. You didn’t get rich in that other job over night. It ain’t gonna happen here, either.

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