Ok, I’ve got land. I’ve researched applicable regulation and know permits I’ll need to clear the land, plant the vineyard, put in a road, put up initial vineyard buildings, and so on. I’m applying for permits now. I’m sure I’ve missed something. Oh, yeah, the talent.
It really takes a team to start a vineyard. I don’t have all the knowledge, skill, energy, tools and equipment to do everything that’s required in this phase of vineyard establishment.
In addition to my soils consultant (Alex) and real estate agent (Jodi), I need a contractor to clear land and build a farm road and parking area (Dave). I also need a forester (Dan) to help me inventory timber for harvest and sale and to help me arrange a sale. This is important because proceeds from the timber harvest will help pay for land clearing costs. I also need an architect (Tom) to help me design, plan, permit, and build initial vineyard buildings (office, equipment sheds, storage) and, if I’m not a total boob in the vineyard, to help me design, plan, permit, and build adjacent winery and tasting room facilities. I also need someone (Alex) to help me plan and lay out the vineyard blocks after more fulsome soil testing (again, Alex) and to help me to select vines and root stock that fit my land and its characteristics (er, terroir) (Chris), plant vines, erect trellis, install irrigation, permit and build waste water facilities (again, Alex), permit and build wells, and erect pest control barriers (deer fence). Finally, I need a builder and subcontractors to put up buildings. Whew! And, we haven’t even gotten to the farming yet.
While I’ve put many of this team under contract, I’ve still got more work to go. Good thing I’m a lawyer, or I’d need one of them too.
It’s becoming more clear with each passing week that the real money in wine is not growing grapes and producing and selling wine, it’s in consulting for vineyard and winery owners. All part of the deal, and it is just a fabulous experience building something new.