There are forward thinking individuals who want to escape the nine to five and start their own business instead. We can’t really blame them as the times get more and more difficult; the only way to get ahead is either cheat your way to the top or you can start your own business. There could be a lot of business ideas for the right person with enough amount of capital. If you are interested and quite inclined toward farming and wines, you might want to start your own vineyard or buy one. Starting small business or a vineyard for that matter is no joke. You need to be serious about it or you’ll end up losing all your money. To avoid such from happening, below are some of the things that you must know about starting a vineyard.
1. Be sure you want it.
A vineyard business will be demanding. You do not only need money but lots of time and knowledge about it. Many vineyard owners and businessmen are hobbyists first. They did not do it in a day, a week or a month. They spent years of studying about grapes – what varieties are great for wines; know the surroundings, the climate; how to go about starting a winery, etc. They love growing grapes; they love the taste of a good wine. If you do not possess any of these, you need to start from scratch and spend more time learning and loving all about grapes, wines and the vineyard business. You must be sure about it. It is a great investment you don’t want to easily lose.
2. Just like any business, location is key for a vineyard.
Grapes are sensitive. They need a good location to grow well. You must at least have a large space to grow your grapes when you are thinking of having a winery eventually. Not all vineyards have winery business. Many become grape suppliers to wineries. If you choose to have both, you need to have a large area for enough grapes to supply your winery. A great location for your vineyard has a good source of water for irrigation, enough sunlight and drainage. The best locations are sloping land areas. This allows for an effortless and natural drainage system. Grapes do not need a lot of water. They need a good balance of sunlight and just enough water to produce the best fruits.
3. Know your grapes.
There are a lot of grape varieties and many produce great wines. Decide what types of wines you want to specifically produce. You will need different varieties of grapes in producing white wine and red wine. If you have a very large space, you can choose to produce both; why not? Choosing the type of vines to plant may also be dependent on your location. There are grape varieties that cannot withstand changes in climate and seasons especially the cold when they get frosted. This could spell major disaster to a vineyard. If you are not sure and you think you do not have enough knowledge about grape varieties, you can ask an expert about it.
4. Know as much about vineyard management.
Vineyard management starts from choosing the right type of grape vines up to the harvest time. It takes 3 springs to have a good harvest of grapes ready to be made into wine. The first year will be crucial as it will determine the type of mature grape vines you will get. Nurture young vines and train them to climb up their trellises until they grow to bear fruits. In this entire period, you need to watch out for climate changes as well as pests that may harm your vines. You don’t want to spend a lot of time taking care of your vineyard only to be destroyed by some insects, right? So learn about pest control and also consider the surrounding crops as they may be the host of said pests.
Another thing that should be taken into consideration is pruning. You do not need to do much effort on it when you are growing new vines. But with repeated harvests, your grape vines also grow old and this is where pruning is very much needed. Pruning is essential in producing healthy and high quality fruits. Remember that the quality of your wine depends on the quality of your grapes.
If weeds are starting to grow in your vineyard, don’t allow them to grow tall as they are great competitors to your vines’ sunlight, water and soil nutrients. Provide protection to your vines when the fruits are already ripe. Put some netting atop your vines attached to the trellises to prevent birds and other pests from eating your fruits.
5. Timing is everything when you harvest grapes.
It is not enough that you think your grapes are ready for harvest. You must know. Taste them. If you have a good taste in wine, you will at least know the quality of the fruit to produce a great tasting wine. You can bring in help if you are not sure. You will know when to harvest depending on the fruits’ color, size and of course taste. Some vineyard owners hold a feast to celebrate a good harvest.
6. Thoroughly think about putting up a winery.
A winery will demand more capital. It is a huge investment. You need another space for it and you need to have a building for storage and for your machines. If you are new to the business, it is wiser to add a winery later and just focus on your vineyard for the mean time. You can supply grapes to other wineries first and from it, you can slowly start learning the trade.
Opening a business just like a vineyard or a winery isn’t simple. It will take a lot of effort, money and time. You need to think it through and you might want to discuss it with your family or friends who have a business background and see what they have to say about your plan.