How to start a winery

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vacuumpumpman

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I am helping a friend who wants to start their own winery in Illinois - I am looking for advice and costs and how long of a process this takes and most of all the mistakes that was made along the way and is it profitable ?

Thanks in advance -

please feel welcome to PM me as well - as most of you know I prefer to talk over the phone rather than type
 

DoctorCAD

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Step 1. Get a million dollars.
Step 2. Lose a million dollars.

Or, dont make wine YOU like, make wine that sells. Remember, "all my friend love my wine" is just your friends being nice and drinking free wine. They aint going to buy it at $20 or more a bottle.
 

balatonwine

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Starting a winery.

1) See if you can afford it:

http://www.ohiowines.org/winery_starter_kit.shtml

2) If you can afford it, do a market survey and write a business plan:

https://www.illinois.gov/dceo/SmallBizAssistance/BeginHere/Documents/Winery2008.pdf

3) If the business plan and marketing survey shows the winery can be profitable, start filling out the paperwork:

https://www.illinois.gov/ilcc/Pages/Applications.aspx

Mistakes: not doing all the above steps completely, rigorously and honestly (i.e. such as underestimating the startup costs is a common mistake).
 
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skyfire322

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In the midwest (I live in Indiana) smaller wineries starting to gain a little more traction, with Michigan being the hot spot. A lot of marketing goes into it though.

The two big things I've noticed is that the price point for bottles is really low (on average $10-$20) and a lot of grapes are sourced from different states, so fruit wines are more prominent.
 

vacuumpumpman

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Starting a winery.

1) See if you can afford it:

http://www.ohiowines.org/winery_starter_kit.shtml

2) If you can afford it, do a market survey and write a business plan:

https://www.illinois.gov/dceo/SmallBizAssistance/BeginHere/Documents/Winery2008.pdf

3) If the business plan and marketing survey shows the winery can be profitable, start filling out the paperwork:

https://www.illinois.gov/ilcc/Pages/Applications.aspx

Mistakes: not doing all the above steps completely, rigorously and honestly (i.e. such as underestimating the startup costs is a common mistake).
THANKS A LOT !!

This is what I was looking for - to start out

Any other input is gratefully appreciated
 
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salcoco

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among all of the reference I noted that checking with local authorities probably the most important step. Zoning laws will dictate the commercial winery. If special use permits are required you will be battling the local populace for approval many who will be against any commercial effort. Best to locate in Agricultural zoning outside of city limits than zoning will not be problem. Next research limits on what you can produce. some states limit wine production to only what can be purchased in the state. this can limit winery. if these two obstacles are overcome then proceed with the recommendations for business plan etc. TTB, the fed government has a good page on what is required from the feds.

Sequence should be 1. do I have funds 2. local authority approval impact 3. marketing limits. all affirmative write business plan and then proceed with legal requirements.
 

skyfire322

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among all of the reference I noted that checking with local authorities probably the most important step. Zoning laws will dictate the commercial winery. If special use permits are required you will be battling the local populace for approval many who will be against any commercial effort. Best to locate in Agricultural zoning outside of city limits than zoning will not be problem. Next research limits on what you can produce. some states limit wine production to only what can be purchased in the state. this can limit winery. if these two obstacles are overcome then proceed with the recommendations for business plan etc. TTB, the fed government has a good page on what is required from the feds.

Sequence should be 1. do I have funds 2. local authority approval impact 3. marketing limits. all affirmative write business plan and then proceed with legal requirements.
Agreed 1000% in regards to the local zoning laws/ordnances. There was a semi popular winery in NOVA who broke the ordnance having extended summer hours for live music and events past a certain time and there ended up being quite a legal battle.

Alcohol licensing is pretty important as well. Obviously it probably varies from state to state, but in Virginia I believe you needed two. You needed one license if you produced more than a certain amount of alcohol, then you needed another one for selling and serving.
 
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