- Author: Jeannette E. Warnert
A story in the Sacramento Business Journal about a common fantasy in the workaday world - quitting one's job and starting a winery - was informed by UC Cooperative Extension research. And the bottom line is sobering.
The story says it will cost $4.5 million to get the winery going and keep the business running through the first three years. If you want to make your own wine, "plan on spending another several hundred thousand dollars to start a small winery," the story said.
Writer Celia Lamb spoke to UC Davis viticulturalist Jim Wolpert about the cost of building the winery.
“Some people have pole buildings with blown-in insulation,” Wolpert was quoted. “They don’t have any great attempt of having a first-class facility that’s going to be on the cover of some magazine.”
Others spend $300 per square foot on a tasting room, he added.
The majority of numbers presented in the story came from a UC cost-of-production study on vineyard establishment, which put the price tag at about $13,402 per acre for the first three years.
The hypothetical grower used in the study already owns property with surface water rights for irrigation and has a building, equipment, tools, a drip irrigation system and a drainage system worth a total of $689,000.
Winery founder John Giguiere warns in the story, “If you’re not at least 25 years old or don’t have a vast amount of experience in the industry, don’t get involved, because it’s a good way to lose a lot of money."