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Urban Winery: The Rise of Urban Winemaking

For wine enthusiasts, life among the vines is an interesting one. Some even dream about owning their own winery. The lifestyle of a winemaker seems to be an ideal one for people who want to change their lifestyle for one that brings about a breath of fresh air and a routine that involves wine.

A new phenomenon in winemaking has emerged where people who are currently living in any cosmopolitan city can get into a winery without making a big change. This is made possible through urban winery.

What is an urban winery?

Urban winery is when a winemaker or producer operates their facility in the city or urban areas. Traditionally, wineries operate in rural settings where they’re near the vineyards, but with the development in transportation and technology, wineries can pretty much operate anywhere, even in the corner of the busiest subway in the city.

The difference between an urban winery or a city winery and a traditional one is that the grapes aren’t grown where the wine is made. However, it’s not an issue for an urban winery to grow its grapes somewhere else.

Vineyards can always deliver temperature-controlled produce to the winery, where they’re then pressed or crushed, aged, fermented, and then bottled.

It gets interesting because some urban wineries partner with multiple vineyards to source their grapes, which then makes their wine blends pretty diverse. This combination of taste and smell is then introduced to wine drinkers who may not be familiar with it yet.

Access to different vineyards and grapes means that winemakers can be picky and selective with their grapes, which is a good thing as you know that what’s going into your glass is meticulously picked.

Speaking of accessibility, urban dwellers can now easily access these wineries and have an authentic wine-tasting experience.

A city winery can also function as a tasting room where people can easily drop in without having to take long drives to get to a particular winery.

Some urban wineries have also included restaurants as an extension of their business while others have offered the option to have customers make their own wine (while being guided by professionals.)

What is the difference between a winery and a vineyard?

Not all wine lovers know the difference between a winery and a vineyard, however, if you’re planning to go on a wine tasting event or planning to be a winemaker yourself, then this would be a piece of important information to remember.

A vineyard is a plantation for grapes meant to be used for wines. On the other hand, a winery is a licensed establishment for winemaking.

You can have a vineyard that has its own winery that makes wines out of the grapes from the plantation, and it can also sell grapes to local stores or function mainly as a grape grower

A winery can operate on its own, without having the need to own a vineyard, as it can produce wines from grapes brought from multiple plantations.

Photo by Kym Ellis on Unsplash

How profitable is a vineyard?

Growing grapes can be a profitable business if you can ensure that the production is consistent. In addition, you have to be privy to the supply and demand in your area, and make sure that it remains high.

Demand shouldn’t be an issue at the moment since one reason entrepreneurs are looking at vineyards as a source of profit is that the wine industry is growing, but high-quality grapes are in short supply and winemakers need quality grapes to make premium wines.

Grapes are sold by the ton and an acre could produce about 3 to 4 tons of grapes, less for higher quality grapes.

Typically grapes could cost $1800 to $2400 or more per ton, depending on the quality and variety. So, if you own an acre of vineyard, you could yield more than $11,000 per acre. Though you have to subtract your average cost of operation from that to get your net income.

How profitable is a winery?

According to the Wine Institute, U.S. wine consumption increased from 967 million gallons to 1 billion gallons of wine from 2019 to 2020. People love wine, whether it’s sparkling wine, dessert wine, white wine, or other special wines.

About 75 percent of adults consume wine, and those who do, drink routinely. Wine is very popular because of its taste, smell, and how it makes you feel. However, the success of your winery depends on the quality of wine you produce and your marketing.

When it comes to a winemaker’s salary, the glamorous title also enjoys a high compensation. When it comes to the CEO, the salary could go as high as $373,753 a year while the vice president or COO can earn up to $211,000 a year.

The profits will depend on the cases or bottles the winery will sell per year. E&J Gallo, for example, was founded in 1933, and now produces nearly 900 million bottles of wine per year. As one of the leading vineyard owners and winemakers in the US, they’re now worth close to $10 billion.

But every winery will have different profits, it will all depend on what kind of wine you plan to sell and how you run your business.

How do urban wineries make money?

Urban brewing can be a profitable business if you know what you’re doing. As a savvy entrepreneur, you have to do your research well, plan the size of your winery, determine your location, choose the types of wine you’re going to produce and plan other related products or services you’re going to offer.

Here are more ideas on how your winery can make money.

  • Your urban winery can make profits by selling top-tasting and fine products like Merlot, Pinot, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and other popular blends of wines.
  • You can make money by offering tours on how you make wine and having the traditional tasting room. You can also offer retail sales to enable customers to buy directly from the source.
  • As an urban winery, you can incorporate restaurants in your location or add venues where customers can have access to live entertainment.
  • You can offer services or features like having your customers make their own wine while being guided by a professional.

Like everything in business, there’s no one-size-fits-all formula when it comes to wineries, their success, or how much it’s going to make. One thing’s for sure, wine is a part of people’s lives. It’s a beverage that has a special connection to time and that’s why people are entranced by it.

If you’re planning to own an urban winery then make sure to do your own research and that you’re sure that you’re getting into something that you absolutely love.

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