Sunday, October 9, 2016

A Savvy Breed of Winemaker Takes Business Sense to the Winery

“You purchase three acres of grapevines and throw all the money you have into making the best possible 400 cases of wine. At $500 a bottle, this isn’t a big business. Yes, you might get a very high score, but this only equals out to a couple million dollars. When you take into account the fixed costs of a winemaker, vineyard crew and winemaking facility, you can’t expect to make a lot of money when all is said and done.”

He calls his own approach the chateau model — a profit-minded business, though hardly a large conglomerate. “I tried to figure out, what’s the maximum number of cases I can make without compromising quality?” he said. “And that came out around 10,000.” (According to Napa Valley Vintners, a trade association, 80 percent of its members make 10,000 cases a year or fewer.)