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Can a winemaker become licensed making wine in their home?


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Hello,


My name is Kris, and I am currently an Accountant for a defense contractor in Northern Michigan. I enjoy my work, but find wine making to be a fun and fulfilling activity. I hope to put my business degree to good use, and work toward becoming a full time vintner. I am 35 years old, have a beautiful wife, and two wonderful boys.
I have been making wine for a few years from my Mother's concord grape vine. That lead to a hobby that is now very interesting to me. I am working toward turning this hobby into a business venture. I am hoping to get in touch with some other Michigan wine producers that may be willing to help guide me on this path. I am gathering equipment in the pursuit of becoming a "small winemaker" by the licensing standards. My goal is to eventually replace my day job by owning a winery. Any advice is MUCH appreciated!
 

bkisel

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Welcome to the forum! Very nice introduction BTW.

Just a hobbyist myself but believe there are a number of members here that have taken their hobby to a commercial level. Hopefully they'll read your thread and chime in. You're probably best to start (a) new thread(s) with questions particular to starting your business venture. Good luck!
 
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From what I've heard it is good to keep your day job to help fund the winery until you can get your feet on the ground (ie. a regular customer base).

Good luck and welcome to WMT!
That's definitely the plan. Doing the math, I would have to make a whole lot of wine to replace my income. It would be an awesome feeling!
 

ceeaton

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That's definitely the plan. Doing the math, I would have to make a whole lot of wine to replace my income. It would be an awesome feeling!
And you would have to sell all that wine. It's one thing to make it, it's another to actually sell it on a regular basis. You can't put it in the income column until it is sold!
 

grapeman

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As far as the TTB(federal) views it, it has been done but is usually frowned upon. It needs to be in a lockable section of the home with no direct entry into the living quarters. I have seen it done in a basement before but that make things more difficult when you need to scale up production to become profitable. Everything needs to be brought in and out, including equipment. Having a walkout basement would make it easier. Each state varies with their own set of rules.

When you outgrow the basement you will be starting anew again in all likelihood as you will probably need new equipment and storage vessels as well as the building. I need to agree with ceeaton about the need to sell the wine that is made before counting on it as income. Some folks have great luck with it while others seem to struggle. Good luck with the journey and above all have fun and enjoy it!
 
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