So I had the most awesome of opportunities to attend the Wine Entrepreneur Conference in DC last week and I figured that the least I could do is share with you the insights I learned from it. Sit back, relax, and enjoy two days worth of seminars condensed down into this bite-size blog post. I realize that this post would have to be of an extraordinary length to actually fully cover all the material covered, so here are the big picture lessons.
1. Buying a vineyard = Worst Business Model Ever!!! Don’t buy a vineyard and produce wine with the intentions of making millions. I must reiterate the most classic wine business joke, “How do you make a million dollars in the wine industry…Start with 10 million!”. I will take my chances in the airline industry.
2.If you want to make wine, source the grapes, rent part of an already existing warehouse and start producing juice immediately. Not overly capital-intensive and if you can make some good enough wine and market it properly, you can grow organically and one day you can have a winery of your own. Baby Steppin’!
3. Importing is a beast horse! Lots of laws, lots of time trying to sell your product in your market, very little time traveling around the world sourcing products aka writing off awesome vacations. It’s one of those ‘if it was easy, everybody would be doing it’ kinda things.
4. Wine Journalism=Super Fun…but hard to monetize (though becoming easier).
5. Can’t underestimate the power of social media in the wine industry. Just ask Hardy Wallace.
6. How do you combine the aesthetic and rigidity of a glass bottle with the sustainability of an aluminum can? That’s right- The Aluminum Bottle…aka the way of the near future.
Can’t wait until next year!