Beginning Equipment

Discussion in 'Commercial Winery Forum' started by HymnandHerd, Jan 5, 2019.

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  1. Jan 5, 2019 #1

    HymnandHerd

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    I'm currently working with the TTB to get my permit. I was wanting to see what size tanks everyone started with and how quickly new equipment was purchased because of increased production.

    That being said, if you have any information or insight it's greatly appreciated.

    When you first began your winery, what size tanks and how many did you begin with? How many cases did you produce your first year? If you've upgraded what have you since upgraded to?
     
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  2. Jan 5, 2019 #2

    NorCal

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    The MBA in me can’t resist asking what your business plan is; units per month, sales price per unit?
     
  3. Jan 5, 2019 #3

    HymnandHerd

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    The plan is to be a botique winery that specializes in country fruit wines sourced from the local orchard. But also make wine using French-American hybrids. We have a good relationship with some area growers. I think the best path for us would be sales price per unit. Do you think that would be the wrong approach? My question is the underlying thinking of how small is too small and how big would be too big for a year 1 botique.
     
  4. Jan 5, 2019 #4

    salcoco

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    I started with carboys, went to 50 gallon drums and barrels, next step would have been 1000 liter tanks. carboy start was because our amateur wine making was reaching 1500 bottles a year and I had quite a bit of them.
     
  5. Jan 5, 2019 #5

    HymnandHerd

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    After you moved to drums about how many cases a year were you producing?
     
  6. Jan 5, 2019 #6

    salcoco

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    I cannot recall the exact number since i have been out of the business for a while.well each drum would give you about 250 bottle or 20 cases at least 20 drums would give you 400 cases. but we fermented more than once a year so the number could have been higher. we started with plastic and then got a good buy on stainless and went with them. We offered a mix of fruit and grape wines.
     
  7. Jan 5, 2019 #7

    HymnandHerd

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    Thanks for the info. I appreciate it.
     
  8. Jan 7, 2019 #8

    BenK

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    this is also something im interested in. Im suprised at least one person started with carboys. makes me feel the barrier to entry is lower than i thought
     
  9. Jan 7, 2019 #9

    Flextank

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    The use of plastic tank which allow the oxygen to permeate is a great way to start and in some cases continue throughout your wine making career. The life span is 15 to 20 years saving thousands on wood barrels. You have the ability to use different wood staves. You will be able to control your wood influences to make consistence wine over the years.
     
  10. Jan 7, 2019 #10

    prowlin4reds

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    So it is possible to start with 6.5 gallon fermentation buckets and carboys? I have a friend putting in 750 vines soon. We are in Florida he wants me to make wine for him. I only make country fruit wines for home. This is going to be a major task for me to set up and get started. I',m thinking I'll have a year or 2 to get ready.
     
  11. Jan 7, 2019 #11

    Hokapsig

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    we bought out a winery that was closing and initially started with eight 70 gallon flex tanks. Since then, we kept our ear to the ground and bought out 2 other winery's assets and increased our tanks to two 200 liter stainless VC, 12 300 liter stainless VC, two 500 liter stainless VC and just purchased six 600 liter tanks from a winery that was upgrading their tanks. We still have three 60 gallon poly drums that we are using as fermenters. in 2016 (our first full year of production) we sold just over 215 cases, in 2017 we sold just over 600 cases, in 2018 we sold 870 cases.

    We are now beginning to purchase a 30 acre farm to put in a tasting room. I would like to hit 1000 cases this year.
     
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  12. Jan 7, 2019 #12

    Hokapsig

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    For accumulating equipment, troll this site's classified section, and creigslist is always your friend. Look for winery's that are upgrading or going out of business. Ffemt and I are always up for making a run to get more equipment. We will be looking to upgrade from drums and the tanks we have to larger tanks and totes.
     
  13. Jan 7, 2019 #13

    Flextank

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    Tanks are available as small as 15 gallon and as large as 1320 gallons. Special plastic is what make these tanks work. You can't just get any plastic tank as you risk plastic taste and poor quality wine.
    Heavy weight tanks are available for whites and lighter weight are for reds. Great way to start and maintain your winery operations throughout time.
     
  14. Jan 8, 2019 #14

    KevinL

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    I just opened last fall, using carboys and buckets (3 7 gallon and a 20 gallon). Granted my expected production is incredibly small. I anticipate I'll do 60 cases in 2019 depending on yield.

    My winery is about 100 square feet and I'm cash flowing everything. The money is gone now so I'll only be upgrading equipment if I make the money to get it. I imagine I'll be using Carboys for a while. I routinely prowl craigslist. When I'm ready to make some bigger buys I anticipate I'll be calling around to places upgrading/closing.
     
  15. Jan 8, 2019 #15

    BenK

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    Kevin maybe you can shed some light on this. It seems to make a day job out of this you would need about 90-120k in revenue yearly and you would probably 500-650 cases sold per year at roughly a $15 ring per bottle. Is that reasonable for a single person running operations with basic equipment? Im assuming taking advantage of spring and fall grapes could help spread the workload
     
  16. Jan 8, 2019 #16

    KevinL

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    You're right on your numbers as far as gross revenue. Your financial needs and operating costs are going to determine if 90-120k is going to work for you in your area. With my operation, even after it grows, I don't ever expect to gross more than $20,000 (on 150 cases or so). This isn't my day job. With the equipment I have I'll be maxing out production wise with the 60 cases. I expect to buy a few more primary fermenters and carboys if the budget allows for the 2019 harvest. All of my grapes come in in the fall, but I do fruits in the summer and spring.

    I couldn't tell you if a single person could handle the workload of winemaking alone. I'm too new to this. Most of my time committed to this is in the vineyard itself. If I were to cut that part of this out, I'm not sure what things would look like. The only part of this that has been more time (and money) consuming than I anticipated has been red tape. The majority of that is out of the way, but some of my time is still used on things not directly related to winemaking (Bookkeeping and compliance.)
     
  17. Jan 8, 2019 #17

    Hokapsig

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    we blew past that number this year and still don't have enough to quit my day job, though my wife did "retire" to work the winery events. We will be doing at least 2 farmer's markets this year, so we will make more money than if she worked full time. I keep working as we need benefits.
     
  18. Jan 8, 2019 #18

    BenK

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    hokapsig do you have a vineyard as well?
     
  19. Jan 9, 2019 #19

    Hokapsig

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    not yet, but as part of the zoning for a winery, we have to grow grapes. We will put in an acre of grapes and use them as a "You Pick" revenue stream and still get the good grapes from Erie/NY, Cali and Chile. We'd like to put in Blackberry, Elderberry and Blue berry if possible.
     
  20. Jan 9, 2019 #20

    BenK

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    where are you located? Im in green bay, Wi
     

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