Many people end their hectic days with a glass of delicious wine. Doesn’t it often leave you wishing you could give up your day job and spend your days making wine? Owning a vineyard is a dream shared by many, but how practical is it?
Recent years have seen a major growth concerning owning or managing an Australian winery. One of the first steps to identifying just how practical this investment is would be to discuss your dream with one of the many business lawyers Melbourne residents rely on to give them sound advice. So, what are topics these experts will discuss with you regarding your plans?
The Reality of Owning a Vineyard
If you’re thinking about taking your life’s savings and investing in your dream of owning a winery in Australia it’s important to give this some careful consideration before you take the leap. Our experts have listed a few of the top factors to review and this should make your decision so much easier.
Be Critical and Clear About What You’re About to do
Merely saying you want to own a winery, or a vineyard might sound pretty clear, but it’ll need some more thought than that. Before you invest any money, you need to think through all aspects of this plan.
Ask yourself the following 10 questions:
- Do you want a home with an established vineyard?
- Would you prefer a home with an established vineyard AND winery?
- Do you want a vineyard and/or winery but not live on the property?
- Do you want to sell grapes in addition to making wine?
- Do you want a winery with a hotel or bed & breakfast to supplement your income?
- Do you want to grow anything other than grapes?
- How many types of grapes do you want to grow and what types of wine would you like to produce?
- Where do you want your winery to be? Research the pros and cons of a few different options.
- How much can you afford to spend? Be realistic without placing your financial security at risk.
- Will you manage the property yourself or do you want to employ an experienced manager?
Enlist Local Legal Experts
Once you have an exact idea of what it is you want to do and invest in, it’s time to consult with local legal experts. A lawyer and business broker will be able to advise you on the market, reasonable prices and other aspects related to vineyard economics in Australia.
Do Extensive Research Before Making Any Decisions
It’s important to do extensive research on all factors involving the type of winery or vineyard you want to purchase. While some experienced winery owners may make it look easy, there’s a lot more to making wine than just growing grapes!
Factors you should research in the area you wish to invest in include:
- Terroir (environmental factors that affect the grapes)
- Water sources and costs
- Soil quality
- Prices of grapes (this is especially important when you’re buying grapes and not growing them)
- Operational costs of running the wine farm of your dreams (including staff costs)
- Legal aspects such as permits, potential patents and copyright certificates
- Layout of the property (check if there is potential for growth and expansion)
- Known crop diseases and management of these
- Potential risks such as drought and other natural disasters
Get Some Sound Financial Advice
You might have a hefty nest egg or you might be able to sell a few assets or shares to get your dream started, but, what then? It’s crucial to remember that grapes don’t grow overnight, and the winemaking process can sometimes take months, if not years before you’ll get some ROI.
Speak to a financial expert with experience in the wine industry. They will be able to advise you of costs, expenses and how much revenue you can expect to make in the first few years. Research the current financial situation of the winery you wish to buy. What will you need to do to maintain or improve the winery’s current revenues?
Involve Yourself in the Wine Industry
If your ultimate goal is to have your own winery or vineyard, it’s worth noting that it won’t happen overnight. In the meantime, it’s a good idea to get involved in the wine industry. This will expose you to people, places and the general practices of winemaking, so you’re more experienced once you start living your dream.
A few ways to do this:
- Attend various wine tastings where you can ask questions about different processes
- Join winemaking, wine tasting and wine learning groups and clubs
- Build relationships with people already in the industry (you’ll definitely meet some in the groups and clubs)
- Join Wine Australia CONNECT – Australia’s largest wine community
Walking away from the rat race isn’t impossible and you could be a successful winemaker-to-be. The trick is to do extensive research and speak to experts already in the field before you make any hasty decisions.
Find a way to get involved in the wine industry and familiarise yourself with terminology and concepts. If it truly is your dream, extensive planning and research is how you ensure future success!