Making wine at home is a hobby for many people. If you're one of them, you might want to put your skills to further use by setting up a business and selling the fruits (no pun intended!) of your labour. Read on for our top tips on how to do just that.
1) Start simple
As with any business, it's always best to start small to minimise your risks. Don't aim to produce dozens of wines at the beginning - you'll soon find this pretty exhausting! It can also be expensive if you don't manage to sell them all pretty quickly.
Instead, identify a few of what you think are the wines most likely to sell (get feedback from friends and family to get a good idea of this) and use those as your launch products. If you find success with them, you can then look at expanding your range.
2) Look beyond grapes
The UK doesn't exactly have the best grape-growing climate, apart from a few lucky regions in the south. If you're keen to grow your own fruit and make wine from your produce, you could consider using locally-grown products like elderflowers, apples, pears or sloes instead.
Of course, you will need to ensure there is demand for this kind of wine before you take the plunge, but this can be a great way to make sure your products are thoroughly British and get your business to stand out in a crowded marketplace. It can also be much cheaper than buying imported grapes to manufacture your wine.
3) Invest in expansion
If your business starts to take off, you will need to adapt accordingly. For example, pouring your wine into bottles by hand may have seemed feasible when you were only selling a few cases a month, but a sharp increase in orders will mean looking into filling machines becomes a very good idea.
Similarly, there may come a point when you can't go it alone any more. Don't be put off by the potential cost of employing other staff; it's amazing how much having an extra pair of hands or two can help your business. A good, reliable employee should be well worth what you pay them.
4) Offer a unique selling point
We've already touched upon the potential benefits of selling a completely British product and making this your unique selling point (USP), but there are lots of other ways to differentiate your wine business from the rest of the market.
For example, the now booming Naked Wines was set up by a group of friends who wanted to sell wines made by small businesses that don't have the capabilities to properly market their own products. While this is certainly a USP in itself, other notable features of the company are its low-cost next-day delivery and transparent customer reviews.
You just have to find a similar certain something that will make your company really stand out to consumers - ideally, something that other wine outfits don't offer, so you can fill a gap in the market.
5) Be patient
This can apply to the process of establishing a business in any sector. Unless you're offering something truly amazing, you're unlikely to see booming sales and worldwide fame overnight. So, be prepared to work hard over quite a long period of time before your efforts come to fruition.
Don't be put off by this - pretty much all of the biggest companies in the world would have started off extremely humbly indeed, showing that perseverance really can pay off as long as you have the right products and business plan in place.