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A Complete Guide to Opening a New Wine Bar - Costs, Tips, and What to Avoid

Chez Phinney

Opening a wine bar is a fantastic business idea, especially since many people are ready and willing to go out again. The challenge is that it's not so easy to get a bar off the ground and make the business profitable. Without a doubt, many entrepreneurs have tried the open wine bars and ultimately failed, but why? What were they missing that you should avoid? 

Most likely, these defunct businesses never sustained profits because they didn't open up the proper way from the start. Opening a wine bar takes meticulous planning and a little anticipation because everything doesn't go according to plan no matter how much you try.

Anything could go awry when you open a bar, and it always seems to happen just when you don’t need it least. You could have problems with the building contractors, the alcohol distributor, your employees, or the regulations in your home state.

Notwithstanding those difficulties, you can open a successful wine bar if you get a great start and understand that you'll have to stay agile since it's your customers who will be the judge of whether or not you have a viable business.

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So, to show you the general process of opening up a wine bar, this article will outline the essentials, so you can tailor your bar’s concept to your target market and become a staple of the wine-drinking community in your hometown.

How Much Does it Cost to Open a Wine Bar? What’s the Bottom Line?

Most entrepreneurs begin with this question: How much does it cost to open a wine bar in the first place? The answers depend on how large of an establishment you’d like to open, how much wine stock you can afford, and the state licensing requirements you have to consider as well.

Not every state has the same laws concerning beer, wine, and liquor sales. Some have loose restrictions; others make you jump through several hoops before you can get a license to sell alcohol. For instance, in a state like Texas, counties have different requirements. In Harris County, you’ll find few zoning regulations aside from community-based ordinances, but in Travis County, you’ll likely have more bureaucratic hurdles to overcome from a zoning perspective.

While the cost of a license to sell alcohol varies state-to-state, a full liquor license (i.e., selling hard liquor on-premises) costs about $17,500 per year in Texas, but a license to sell beer and wine only costs about $1,000 per year. Most states will have similar expenses, but some licenses come with over-the-top prices. For example, in Utah, a liquor license costs much more because you'll need many permits for each individual location, which can quickly add up when it comes to annual renewals.

That should give you an idea of how to open a wine bar ahead of time, so it's always best to understand the particular laws in your state because, depending on where you live, you may not need very much licensing at all. On the other hand, if your state regulates alcohol sales and distribution heavily, you can expect to pay significantly more for basic licensing.

So, when opening a bar, the top costs include items like:

  • Construction and renovation
  • Licensing requirements
  • Marketing, advertising, and promotion
  • Operational supplies and vendors (e.g., glassware and linens)
  • Interior design and decor

Altogether, these expenses can total anywhere between $100,000 to $500,000 , but some entrepreneurs go into the business with far more capital to absorb unexpected losses and costs.

But before we go any further with this guide, we want to make sure that you know which pitfalls and mistakes can derail your fledgling business.

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Top Three Mistakes to Avoid when Opening a Wine Bar

No matter how hard you try, things can go wrong at any start-up business, especially an alcohol-serving establishment like a wine bar. You may begin with a great plan, but if you make these three mistakes, you’ll make it much harder on yourself than it needs to be.

The top three mistakes entrepreneurs make include things like:

  • Worrying more about interior design more than the businesses’ concept
  • Relying solely on word-of-mouth marketing
  • Ignoring your target market’s expectations

Now, let's go over each one to understand better why you should avoid these situations.

Worrying More About Interior Design than the Business Concept

Here's a  common, yet still hypothetical, example of why interior design and decor should come last, not first as many wine entrepreneurs believe. You can never force a certain ambiance into an establishment no matter how hard you try; your guests create the atmosphere, not the type of chairs you choose.

You may think that wood-grain, round bar tables would look great in your new wine bar, but will your guests feel the same way? Honestly, are you serving your own sensibilities, or are you serving customers' needs instead? These questions need honest answers because you have to pinch every penny when opening up an alcohol-serving establishment. Interior decor can devour your operating budget like no other expense.

Interior design, decorations, and ambiance should be your last concern if you want to open a wine bar correctly from day one.

Relying Solely on Word-of-Mouth Marketing

Another major mistake is relying solely on word-of-mouth marketing, which is slow and inefficient, to say the least. Still, it's tempting to ignore investments in marketing and advertising and roll the dice with word-of-mouth marketing. It’s cheap (i.e., free), and the results coincide accordingly.

Listening to your guest is absolutely important, yet you have to use their feedback in the right way, meaning that you use those insights to adjust your offerings. Most entrepreneurs assume that building those personal relationships amplifies your bar’s brand; it doesn't. Making close friends in the wine-drinking community is one thing, but relying on word-of-mouth to promote your new business is another one entirely.

In the end, you have to invest in actual marketing and advertising to get the business off the ground. Then, you listen to your market and tailor your offerings to their expectations.

Ignoring your Target Wine Market’s Expectations

Along those lines, the biggest mistake you could possibly make is completely ignoring your target market’s feedback, especially their expectations. All it takes is a few bad reviews on social media to damage your brand irreparably, which can be a death blow to a new business since your target market will assume that your business doesn't care about its customers.

Once again, the issue boils down to a lack of empathy and misunderstanding the value of making genuine connections with your customers. Personally, you may love Cabernet Sauvignon more than any wine in the world, but should you stock your entire bar with it? And what if, after a few weeks, your guests start to request lesser-known varietals like Pinot Gris and Malbec, but you never put them on the menu?

It sounds ludicrous, yet those are real-world examples of how entrepreneurs can serve their own ego rather than fulfill their customers' desires. Honestly, it happens all the time in the bar business -  and that's precisely why the majority of companies go belly-up within the first two or three years of business.

Having said that, let’s get into more details about the costs you can expect when opening a wine bar.

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Typical costs - Necessary Expenses and Nice-to-Haves

The great thing about starting a business is that it’s an adventure, but it can become an expensive one if you’re not careful about controlling costs, such as the following.

Construction and Renovation

The common wisdom is that renovating a structure costs less than building a free-standing building from the ground up. Unfortunately, that's not always the case because there are Small Business Administration loan programs -  and state-run small business programs, too - that can cut the cost of opening a business out-of-pocket.

But the biggest consideration of all is the value of the land where you want to open the bar.

If you want to open a wine bar in a vineyard mecca like Sonoma County, California, you can expect real estate to cost much more than other parts of the state. On the other hand, if you open a bar in a city like Dallas with relatively low real estate prices, you can afford to spend more on construction and renovations.

Ideally, you want to find a location that used to be a bar because the building should already have most of what you need already inside, such as a long bar top and shelves to store wine and glassware. Not only that, but some cities try to attract new businesses to a town center of sorts, so if you decide to go in this direction, you could save money on building costs as well.

Licensing Requirements

We've already touched upon the cost of licensing, but let's go one step deeper and get into the details. No matter which state you call home, there will be several types of alcohol licenses that you will need.

For example, in Texas, you need a license to sell alcohol on-premises and another if you want to sell alcohol and allow your guests to leave the premises with it (e.g., a convenience store selling beer versus a bar selling the same item). Texas alone has 47 different types of permits and licenses regarding alcohol sales, so which state laws apply to your business?

That's one of the most important questions you have to answer since you will have to renew your liquor license regularly, most of the time annually, no matter what part of the country you call home. Still, the bottom line price can range anywhere between $1,000 to $10,000 or more depending on the type of business you plan to open (e.g., a wine bar that also serves food).

Marketing, Advertising, and Promoting your Business

Now we come to the fun part of opening a business: marketing, advertising, and promotion! This point is usually where bar entrepreneurs begin, and it's a safe assumption that you need to conduct copious marketing research. But the real question is this: which facts and statistics matter most to the business? Are you looking to open up in an area with a specific demographic, or are you trying to open up a bar in a bustling urban area where demographics aren't necessarily your top concern?

The assumption is that a successful wine bar must tailor its services to the sophisticated, well-off clientele. This thinking might be true if you live in a place like Napa Valley, California. Still, if you live in a college town like Austin, you might be shooting yourself in the foot, especially if the local demographic tilts more towards the upper-middle-class millennial market.

There's a number of ways you could go wrong when it comes to marketing (i.e., growing the business steadily at an affordable price), but stereotyping people is the worst thing you could do. You need numbers to justify every business decision you make because when it comes time to invest in advertising and promotions, you need a guiding star, or else you could ultimately waste valuable dollars chasing dead ends.

A prime example is offering special discounts before you establish a certain sales volume.

Your Wine Bar Inventory

Along those lines, let's talk about inventory and wine stock. Generally, you want to offer a wide variety, yet you don't want to get too esoteric with your offerings until your guests ask for them. You can never go wrong with an extensive wine inventory as long as you can store the bottles properly, so they don't spoil. We'll get more into that later on near the end of the guide.

But at a minimum, a wine bar should carry essential varietals like:

  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Pinot Grigio
  • Sauvignon Blanc
  • Sparkling wine

That's your starting point, so use that as a basis to add the lesser-known varietals like Petite Sirah, Spanish Garnacha, Viognier, or Port.

Another way to do it is to organize your wine list by region, but remember to add all of the greatest hits from that particular part of the world. The best wine lists have balance and a few surprises you don't expect, like a red blend from a local boutique winery.

No matter how you look at it, the idea is to give your guests a wine-drinking experience instead of only placing a glass of wine in front of them at the right price.

Give your target market a clear reason to stop by your establishment rather than buying the very same wine you serve but at a lower price from a liquor store. Why should they visit your wine bar instead of saving money? That's the crux of why it's so challenging to open up a wine bar.

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Operational Supplies and Wine Vendors

At this point, you should have a pretty good idea about what you want your wine bar’s concept to be. You have a great location, marketing statistics, demographics, and a great selection of wines from all parts of the world. So, the next step is to line up all of the vendors to provide you with all of the operational supplies you'll need.

But this still doesn't mean interior design and fashion! It's more practical and down-to-earth than that because you'll need plenty of glassware for both red and white wines, linens and napkins, wine aerators, wine openers, and all sorts of other materials that your staff needs to be successful. Cleaning supplies are another excellent example of something that you could purchase through a vendor rather than paying for it out-of-pocket at retail price.

The idea is to get wholesale prices through a vendor whenever you can, and the good news is that there are no shortages of restaurant and bar supply distributors to choose from.

Labor & Support

Moving along our list of essentials, we come to labor costs. You can have a perfect business plan for a wine bar in the world and have all the marketing, promotions, and interior design ready, but what happens when you can't find any employees?

Are you going to work the bar yourself, or are you going to find a solution to the problem today, not three weeks after your grand opening when half of your staff quits since it's obvious that they won’t earn enough money?

Before the pandemic changed everything, it was relatively easy to find outstanding bartenders and servers. Without a doubt, the best ones are incredibly loyal to their employer, so they will not leave their current job unless they know for a fact that they will earn a better living.

That's the bottom line truth about hiring staff for a wine bar, an ordinary bar, or a restaurant. Labor is the lifeblood of your business because your team will own the point of sales, not you, and you'll depend upon them to grow revenue.

In other words, you can't keep your labor costs down until you can prove that working for your wine bar is a better option. It sounds simple, but it's not so easy, especially post-COVID, when health and safety remain top-of-mind for everyone in the industry.

Interior Design of your Wine Bar

Finally, we come to interior design and decor. This step is usually where most wine bar entrepreneurs begin, and it's absolutely the worst mistake imaginable. Please, don't assume that your market will enjoy the same styles and fashions that you do. It will be evident the moment that they walk in the door that you're not serving their needs.

For instance, you made love the concept of a lounge-like wine bar with comfortable sofas and small cocktail tables lining the walls. You dim the lights, light candles all over the bar top, and maybe add some soft, relaxing music in the background. But this setup is actually the worst type of environment for a wine bar because it's simply impractical to serve people alcohol this way.

A better environment would be a layout where your guests can mingle, walk around, and have plenty of space to do so. Before COVID hit, wine bars could get away with the quaint, cute appeal in a small, cozy bar; however, it’s the worst way to do it nowadays.

So before you reach for the artwork and sconces, make sure everything else is in order to maximize the value, but you can also save money in other ways, like when you buy a WineEmotion dispenser.

Copia Wine Bar

Why Should You Consider a WineEmotion Dispenser for Your Wine Bar?

We've already gone over a lot of considerations up to this point. No matter what, it's challenging to open up a bar, especially a wine bar that may or may not appeal to the people you want to serve.

Among other considerations, we've already gone over the fact that you need a comprehensive inventory to be successful. Still, the risk is that you'll end up wasting valuable stock because the wine spoils or isn't stored correctly. Bartenders often over-pour wine to their favorite regulars as another example of how you could lose inventory.

But a wine dispenser by WineEmotion solves both of those problems in one appliance. Not only is it safer for employees, but it'll also give your guests a way to drink a perfect glass of wine once the bottle is already opened. Usually, a wine only lasts for a few days or less if it isn't stored correctly.

That's the problem with opening up a wine bar. It's all too easy to lose inventory because it goes bad. Ideally, you want your sales volume to do the heavy lifting for you, but starting, you'll need a way to keep costs reasonable.

Additionally, a WineEmotion dispenser by the glass is a great way to save valuable space. You may think that you have plenty of room to store wine until you start a collection. As a solution, WineEmotion dispensers can store up to 8 bottles per unit, and they will also preserve wine for an extended period of time since the system uses Argon gas to seal bottles between servings.

You can store wine for as long as 30 days or more, and it will still taste great and won’t lose any aromas. Also, some products come with automatic cleaning capabilities and software integrations as well.

It's one thing to have a wine dispenser by the glass, but integration with your current POS system is another one entirely. The best dispensers on the market today work well with the most popular restaurants and bar software. You can keep track of wine stock down to the ounce if configured correctly instead of guessing how much remains in each bottle.

Ultimately, you can take a huge gulp of success and open up a popular, thriving wine bar. All it takes is a plan, the right vendors and equipment, and a way to control inventory costs while offering excellent service and an even better atmosphere.

Are you curious to see what else a WineEmotion dispenser by the glass can do? Click to see industry-grade solutions on our website.



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Wine Bar Business Plan PDF Example

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  • February 28, 2024
  • Business Plan

the business plan template for a wine bar

Creating a comprehensive business plan is crucial for launching and running a successful wine bar. This plan serves as your roadmap, detailing your vision, operational strategies, and financial plan. It helps establish your wine bar’s identity, navigate the competitive market, and secure funding for growth.

This article not only breaks down the critical components of a wine bar business plan, but also provides an example of a business plan to help you craft your own.

Whether you’re an experienced entrepreneur or new to the food and beverage industry, this guide, complete with a business plan example, lays the groundwork for turning your wine bar concept into reality. Let’s dive in!

Our wine bar business plan is crafted to include all key components necessary for a thorough strategic framework. It outlines the bar’s operational guidelines, marketing approaches, industry landscape, competitive analysis , management team structure, and financial outlook.

  • Executive Summary : Provides a concise overview of the Wine Bar’s proposition, emphasizing a sophisticated and relaxed atmosphere for wine enthusiasts, market analysis showcasing the sector’s growth and demand, the expertise of the management in wine selection and business operations, and a financial strategy that outlines investment opportunities and revenue forecasts.
  • Wine Bar & Location: Describes the wine bar’s strategic location and elegant space, designed to offer guests a tranquil setting to enjoy a diverse range of wines sourced from local vineyards and international regions for example.
  • Supply & Operations: Details the wine bar’s supply chain management, emphasizing partnerships with local wineries and global importers to curate an extensive wine list, and outlines efficient inventory management and operations to enhance the guest experience.
  • Key Stats: Presents data highlighting the market size , growth trends, and statistics that underscore the potential and necessity for sophisticated wine bars.
  • Key Trends: Highlights significant trends such as the growing interest in organic wines, experiential dining with curated tastings, and food pairings.
  • Key Competitors: Analyzes the main competitors in the vicinity, their offerings, and how the wine bar’s unique approach and services set it apart.
  • SWOT Analysis : Conducts a comprehensive analysis of Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats to strategically position the wine bar.
  • Marketing Plan : Details marketing strategies aimed at building brand visibility, attracting new guests, and retaining them through superior service, educational experiences, and targeted marketing efforts.
  • Timeline : Sets forth key milestones and objectives from the wine bar’s setup to its launch and key growth phases.
  • Management: Highlights the experienced team leading the wine bar, from certified sommeliers to business operations managers, emphasizing their roles in ensuring high-quality wine selection, guest satisfaction, and smooth operations.
  • Financial Plan: Projects the financial outlook for the wine bar over the next few years, detailing revenue models from wine sales, events, and potentially retail products, cost management strategies, profit margins, and expected return on investment, ensuring a clear route to financial sustainability and growth.

the business plan template for a wine bar

Wine Bar Business Plan

small wine bar business plan

Fully editable 30+ slides Powerpoint presentation business plan template.

Download an expert-built 30+ slides Powerpoint business plan template

Executive Summary

The Executive Summary introduces your wine bar’s business plan, providing a succinct overview of the establishment and its offerings. It should outline your market positioning, the variety of wines and related services you offer, its location, size, and a brief on daily operations. 

This section should also delve into how your wine bar will integrate into the local community, including an analysis of direct competitors in the vicinity, identifying who they are, along with your wine bar’s distinctive selling points that set it apart from these competitors. 

Moreover, you should include information about the management and founding team, detailing their roles and contributions to the wine bar’s success.

Additionally, a summary of your financial projections, including revenue and profits over the next five years, should be presented here to give a clear view of your wine bar’s financial strategy.

Make sure to cover here _ Business Overview _ Market Overview _ Management Team _ Financial Plan

Wine Bar Business Plan executive summary1

Dive deeper into Executive Summary

Business Overview

For a Wine Bar, the Business Overview section can be succinctly divided into 2 main components:

Wine Bar & Location

Briefly describe the wine bar’s physical environment, focusing on its design, ambiance, and the inviting atmosphere that greets guests. Highlight the wine bar’s location, emphasizing its accessibility and the convenience it provides to patrons, such as proximity to cultural centers or ease of parking. Discuss why this location is strategic in attracting your target clientele.

Supply & Operations

Detail the range of wines and related offerings available, from local and international selections to pairings with small plates or artisanal snacks. Outline your sourcing strategy, emphasizing relationships with vineyards and distributors to ensure a diverse and high-quality wine selection. Present your pricing strategy , making sure it reflects the value of the experience provided and aligns with the market you’re targeting. Highlight any unique experiences, membership clubs, or loyalty programs that offer added value to your patrons, encouraging repeat visits and customer loyalty.

Make sure to cover here _ Wine Bar & Location _ Supply & Operations

Business Plan_Wine Bar Business Overview

Market Overview

Industry size & growth.

In the Market Overview of your wine bar business plan, start by examining the size of the wine industry and its growth potential. This analysis is essential for understanding the market’s breadth and identifying opportunities for expansion.

Key market trends

Proceed to discuss recent market trends , such as the increasing consumer interest in artisanal and boutique wines, organic and biodynamic vineyards, and unique wine-tasting experiences.

For example, highlight the demand for wine bars that offer curated selections from small producers, educational wine-tasting events, and pairings with gourmet snacks or meals.

Key competitors

Then, consider the competitive landscape, which includes a range of establishments from upscale wine lounges to casual, neighborhood wine bars, as well as the trend of at-home wine tasting kits.

For example, emphasize what makes your wine bar stand out, whether it’s through an unparalleled wine selection, exceptional customer service, or a unique ambiance that enhances the wine-tasting experience. This section will help articulate the demand for wine bar services, the competitive environment, and how your wine bar is positioned to succeed within this vibrant market.

Make sure to cover here _ Industry size & growth _ Key market trends _ Key competitors

Wine Bar Business Plan market overview

Dive deeper into Key competitors

First, conduct a SWOT analysis for the wine bar, highlighting Strengths (such as an exclusive wine selection and knowledgeable staff), Weaknesses (including potential high operational costs or strong competition in the area), Opportunities (for example, a growing interest in wine culture and pairing experiences), and Threats (such as economic downturns that may reduce consumer spending on dining and entertainment).

Marketing Plan

Next, develop a marketing strategy that outlines how to attract and retain customers through targeted advertising, promotional events like wine tastings, an engaging social media presence that showcases your wine selections and events, and involvement in community activities to enhance local visibility.

Finally, create a detailed timeline that outlines critical milestones for the wine bar’s opening, marketing initiatives, customer base growth, and expansion goals, ensuring the business advances with clear direction and intent.

Make sure to cover here _ SWOT _ Marketing Plan _ Timeline

Wine Bar Business Plan strategy

Dive deeper into SWOT

Dive deeper into Marketing Plan

The management section focuses on the wine bar’s management and their direct roles in daily operations and strategic direction. This part is crucial for understanding who is responsible for making key decisions and driving the wine bar toward its financial and operational goals.

For your wine bar business plan, list the core team members, their specific responsibilities, and how their expertise supports the business.

Wine Bar Business Plan management1

Financial Plan

The Financial Plan section is a comprehensive analysis of your financial projections for revenue, expenses, and profitability. It lays out your wine bar’s approach to securing funding, managing cash flow, and achieving breakeven.

This section typically includes detailed forecasts for the first 5 years of operation, highlighting expected revenue, operating costs and capital expenditures.

For your wine bar business plan, provide a snapshot of your financial statement (profit and loss, balance sheet, cash flow statement), as well as your key assumptions (e.g. number of customers and prices, expenses, etc.).

Make sure to cover here _ Profit and Loss _ Cash Flow Statement _ Balance Sheet _ Use of Funds

Wine Bar Business Plan financial plan

Privacy Overview

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Wine Bar Businesses: 11 Factors of Wine Bar Businesses

Wine bar businesses are a lucrative and creative business venture. If you’re looking to open a wine bar, or grow your current wine bar business, this wine bar businesses solution-focused collection of information is the place for you. These 11 factors of wine bar businesses will help you learn how to open a wine bar and run it with operational efficiency. 

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How to Open a Wine Bar: 8 Key Tips to Open a Wine Bar

Learning how to open a wine bar takes plenty of business knowledge and wine appreciation. This guide is dedicated to helping you learn how to open a wine bar. This initial section in particular will cover the business plan and initial setup for wine bar businesses.

8. Write a Wine Bar Business Plan

Writing a wine bar business plan includes everything you need in a typical restaurant business plan :

  • An executive summary
  • Financial projections
  • Market research
  • Brand conceptualization
  • Funding requirements
  • Inventory needs

Within the details of those plans, you’ll craft your wine bar business plan. It’ll include everything from where you’re buying your wine to what you’ll sell each glass and bottle for. 

7. Design Your Wine Bar

Designing your wine bar is all about branding and aesthetics. It includes, branding and marketing , content marketing , email marketing , and small business marketing , Your wine bar design is every facet of your brand.

6. Set Up Wine Bar Inventory

Wine bar inventory includes your wine inventory and everything else. Setting up your inventory program and working with a perpetual inventory system will help you manage your inventory.

5. Source Your Wine

Sourcing your wine is one of the most important steps in learning how to open a wine bar. You could plan for buying a winery , or buy wine from the best wineries . If you’re going directly to wineries, make sure you work with a few different states and locations in case of poor production years.

4. Set Up Menus

Setting up your menus will include some wine pairing options. Plans for a wine chicken pairing , lamb wine pairing , or wine steak pairing will help. You should also consider a dessert pairing menu, to serve all the cravings your customers have. 

3. Permits and Licensing

Sorting your permits and licensing is one of the most crucial parts of learning how to open a wine bar from a technical standpoint. You’ll need to check your local rules and regulations. BinWise doesn’t offer legal advice, we can tell you that you’ll need licensing, but the specifics will be based on your location. 

2. Find Your Space

Of all the things you need to source, your specific location is both crucial and time-consuming. With limited buildings in the area you’ll want, it’s best to start this search early on.

1. Plan Your Hiring

Hiring will come later in the opening a wine bar process, but you can start planning for it now. Post your jobs on job boards, and find like-minded wine lovers to support your business.

Opening a Wine Bar: Open Your Bar, Then Open a Bottle

Learning how to open a wine bar is a long process. You’ve got a good start, now it’s time to learn about the cost of opening a wine bar. 

"Key Takeaway: As younger generations find their own way of appreciating wine, the market is opening for more innovative wine bar spaces."

How Much Does It Cost To Open a Wine Bar? 5 Key Cost Factors

The question of “How much does it cost to open a wine bar?” Is answered with many parts. There are furnishing costs, wine costs, permit costs, and more. This section will cover five common costs you’ll face in opening a wine bar.

5. Furnishing Costs

Furnishing costs start once you’ve found your wine bar location. Budget for chairs and tables, storage, and any other furniture-related support you want to have in your design. 

4. Operational Expenses

Operational expenses and overhead expenses are two sides of the same coin. Your operational expenses are typically accounted for after you’ve opened your wine bar. They are often the same services and fees you will have for overhead expenses. 

3. Wine Costs

Your wine costs are one of the most wine bar specific costs. You’ll have them before you open, to source wine and get a solid quantity in your initial inventory. As you take inventory you’ll have wine costs on a weekly basis. 

2. Employee Costs

Employee costs relate to paying your employees and taking care of them. You’ll want to pay your employees a livable wage for the location you’re in, so look into that before you publish any job postings. 

1. Licensing and Permits

Licensing and permits are one of the most important costs of opening a wine bar. You’ll need a liquor license, as well as specific wine bar permits. Your location state by state–or by country–will have different requirements. Research those thoroughly before you open the doors. You can also look into direct to consumer wine shipping laws .

The Cost To Open a Wine Bar: Check Costs, then Wine About Them

The cost to open a wine bar includes many items for yourself and your customers. One of the most important is the wine, especially the wine and supplies for a wine tasting flight.

Wine Tasting Flight: 7 Unique Wine Flight Options

A wine flight is a key factor in your wine bar experience. Setting up wine tasting flight options gives you a way to share your wine with customers and draw them in for more. These seven aspects of a wine tasting flight will get you started.

7. Wine Tasting Notecards

Wine tasting notecards can be relatively plain, with a few areas for notes on different aspects of each wine. You can give them a design of a wine bottle print.

6. Flight Boards

Flight boards are vital for your wine tasting flight. These are the wooden boards with a small circular notch in place for each wine glass or small carafe. 

5. Key Notes

Key notes to provide for a wine tasting flight are the initial tasting notes about the wines in the tasting. This can be a part of the wine tasting notecards. You can also keep them on a notice board in your wine bar. 

4. Wine Pairings

Cheeses, crackers, olives, and some meats are a good idea to keep on hand for wine pairing options. You can also provide notes on what pairs well with each wine. 

3. Winery and Region Knowledge

Winery and region knowledge is extra information beyond tasting notes. This is something you should keep in your back pocket to share with guests who have a particular interest in the wine. 

2. Wine Tasting Guidelines

Wine tasting guidelines include the plans and needs we’ve outlined in this section. They’ll also be the place where you can keep rules on the structure of your specific wine tasting events. They will come in handy for your employees. 

1. Dedicated Pricing

A wine tasting flight leads to more profits when people buy a bottle of the wine from the tasting. It’s a price break for customers who want to sample several types of wine. You should keep a dedicated price that rides the line between budget-friendly and a profit source for you.

Wine Tasting Flights: Let Taste Buds Soar with Wine Tasting Flight Options

A wine tasting flight gives you a unique way to showcase your wine. It also utilizes your wine bar supplies, giving you a way to make use of your supplies and show off your talent as a wine bar owner.

"Key Takeaway: A wine tasting flight is a top tier way to showcase the wines you have to offer and draw in new customers. They can promote your wine in a way that leaves you with great profits."

Wine Bar Supplies: 9 Key Wine Bar Supplies to Stock Up

Your wine bar supplies cover a range of items. Yes, wine is among them. However, this list also includes the tangibles of setting up a wine bar. These nine key items will be necessary for your success. 

9. Seating and Tables

Seating and tables are a base need for your wine bar supplies checklist. Your major stock of cleaning supplies should come first. That’ll make it easier to move everything in. 

8. Decorations

Decorations come along after seating and table arrangements. They should also be brought in after you set up wine storage and shelving, so you can decorate with those central pieces of furniture. 

You’ll want enough towels on hand so you only need to bring them to the laundromat once every two weeks. You’ll need some crisp white napkin-style towels to use when you are pouring wine . It goes over your arm to show off the wine and be available for potential spills. You’ll also need bar mop towels.

6. Wait Staff Uniforms

Wait staff uniforms are something you might want to decide on early so you can spend time finding them. There are uniform stores where you can get a batch of items for your wait staff . Something sleek and simple, like a vest or apron with a button-down, is usually a good plan. 

5. Bar Books

The best bar books and the best cocktail recipe books , are good to keep around your wine bar. This is especially important if you’re serving up wine cocktails. However, even if you’re not serving cocktails, bar books can help. 

4. Glassware

Your glassware is an item you should stock up on early. Due to the nature of glass, you’ll also end up having to replace some of your glassware over time. Invest in quality glassware, it’ll last longer and give your place a high-quality vibe with the right bar glasses .

3. Menu Supplies

Menu supplies are related to everything you need to showcase your menu. If you’re doing a QR code menu , you’ll need to get squared away with software. SproutQR can help you there, with custom QR code software and support. If you want paper menus, single-use menu options are nice to work with, so you can change it up with ease. 

2. Cleaning Supplies

Cleaning supplies should be one of the first things you buy once you’ve found your location. You’ll need them for preparing the space, and you’ll never stop needing them. It’s best to buy them wholesale. 

Wine is one of the most important wine bar supplies on the list. It’s a constant need. You’ll start with a steady inventory of the best options, and continually reorder. 

Supplying a Wine Bar: Snacks, Glasses, and Everything That Goes with Wine

Wine bar supplies cover a lot of ground. An important part of the supplies you’ll need are your wine bar cabinet and shelf storage spaces.

Wine Bar Cabinet and Shelf Storage: 6 Storage Tips

Your wine bar cabinet and shelf storage is separate from the previous wine bar supplies list, because it’s a foundation of your wine bar. These six storage tips will help you find the right storage options.

6. Find Your Brand

Finding your brand is the first step to finding the right wine bar cabinet and shelf storage. Your storage should fit your brand, so decide on it first. 

5. Measure Your Space

Measuring your space is crucial. It would be awful to bring in cabinets and shelving only to discover you don’t have the room for them. Once you’ve found the right location, measure twice and buy once!

4. Choose Wood Types–or Metal

You can use many different materials for wine storage. Wood is common, while metal is used for industrial setups. If you choose custom pieces you can use whatever you’d like.

3. Purchase Quality Pieces

Invest in quality pieces for your cabinets and shelving. This furniture will be with you for the long haul. Buy quality items and take good care of them.

2. Consider Larger Wine Bottles

If you’re going to sell larger wine bottles, factor that into your cabinets and shelving purchases. You should learn about wine bottle dimensions to help this process.

1. Plan Around Your Patrons

Planning cabinets and shelving storage starts with your customers. Whatever you buy, you want it to work for them. It should be inviting and practical. 

Wine Bar Cabinets and Shelving: Shelve, Store, and Sell Wine

Wine bar cabinet and shelf storage is a key part of keeping your wine collection together and in good form. When your wine is stored well, the next step is to learn how to open a wine bottle, to present it to your customers.

"Key Takeaway: Your wine bar cabinet and shelf storage is one of the most important features of setting up your wine bar."

Opening a Wine Bottle: 6 Factors to Open Wine Bottles

Opening a wine bottle will be a part of your everyday work in your wine bar business. These six factors of opening wine bottles will come in handy in your wine education. 

6. Presenting the Bottle

Presenting the bottle is the start of opening a wine bottle at your wine bar. It’s meant to show the label to the person who ordered the wine . This is particularly important for fine wine options. 

5. Chilling the Bottle–or Not

Some wines are meant to be chilled, some are not. White wines are typically the options that should be chilled. The best types of white wine have specific requirements for chilling time. 

4. Cutting the Foil

You should cut the foil around the top of the bottle right underneath the lip of the bottle. This makes for a minimal mess with the line of the cut. It also helps to avoid spills.

3. Centering the Corkscrew

Centering the corkscrew is important for two reasons. It looks better. That’s purely for the aesthetic of opening the wine bottle. It also makes it easier to remove the cork cleanly. 

2. How Many Half Turns?

Most folks will tell you it takes six half turns of a fully manual wine opener. If you’re using a winged wine opener, it also takes around six or seven twists to get the corkscrew in the cork. 

1. Sediment and Spill Cleanup

If there is any cork or wine sediment around the top of the bottle, give it a wipe before you pour the first glass. This is where the white cloth over your arm comes in handy. 

Opening Wine Bottles: Pop the Cork

Opening wine bottles is different depending on the type of wine. Next, it’s time to learn about the best types of red wine, and how to open red wine for your guests. 

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Best Type of Red Wine: 7 Red Wines to Serve and Try

The best type of red wine is entirely a matter of opinion. We’ll give you some options to serve up, but it’s all a matter of personal preference. First, let’s take a look at the proper way to serve red wine. 

If you’re a bar owner or manager, or a wait staff worker who serves wine, there are some tricks you can learn:

  • Most red wines should be served slightly cooler than room temperature, but not cold. That temperature falls between 55 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • A cheaper red wine benefits from being served on the cooler side, this masks any imperfections the wine may have. 
  • Red wines benefit from decanting. An aerator or decanter can help with this process, to help the wine breathe and bring out the flavor profile. 
  • Red wines also benefit from being served in a classic red wine glass with a wide and tall bowl. This shape helps to continually aerate the wine, and they make it easy to swirl your wine and enjoy it. 

Beyond these tips, serving red wine is all about showcasing the wine. The upcoming seven best types of red wine are all well-suited to being served with care. 

  • Red Zinfandel
  • Tempranillo

You can’t go wrong with any of these options. They’re all recognized world-wide as some of the best wines. 

Best Types of Red Wine: Wine Not Open a Bottle of the Best?

Red wine’s sister vine of white wine deserves an equal space in your wine bar. Read on to learn about the best types of white wine.

"Key Takeaway: The best type of red wine is subjective to the wine enthusiast or mixologist, to the occasion, and to the wine pairing options."

Best Type of White Wine: 7 White Wine Options for Wine Bars

Like the best type of red wine, the best type of white wine is a matter of personal preference. Because of that, it’s good to have a variety available at your wine bar. Before we dive into the best seven types of white wine, we’ll walk through serving white wine. 

When it comes to light white wines, they should be served chilled. The ideal temperature is somewhere between 44 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit. For white wines with more oak or body, the ideal temperature is between 50 and 55 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s a subtle difference in temperature, but it makes all the difference in bringing out the wine flavor. 

The seven upcoming wines all suit some level of these chilled guidelines:

  • Grenache Blanc
  • Vinho Verde
  • Chenin Blanc
  • Sauvignon Blanc
  • Pinot Grigio

These seven white wines can pair with any meal. They’re light, airy, and perfect for your wine bar menu.

Best Types of White Wine: Light, Airy, and Everything Bright

The best types of white wine should be readily available in your wine bar. They’ll make up a decent portion of your wine lists.

Wine Lists: 7 Facets of Wine Lists In Your Wine Bar

Wine lists are a feature of every bar, restaurant, and, yes, wine bar. Wine bar businesses are based on having the best wines available, and your wine list is a reflection of your ability to source the right wine. These seven types of wine and wine drinks to include on your wine lists will have you set up for success. 

7. Red Wine Selections

Your red wine selections are a decent portion of your wine lists. You should have at least 10 options, if not 15 or 20 for your red wine selections. You can choose from popular options like Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, and Syrah. 

6. White Wine Selections

A mix of Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, and Riesling is a good place to start for your white wine selections. From there, check out some local white wine options. 

5. Wine Cocktails

Wine cocktails aren’t something you'll find on every wine list, but they’re a unique combination of cocktails and wine that will excite your customers. The New York Sour with red wine, bourbon, simple syrup, lemon juice, and lemon zest is a great option. 

4. Sparkling Wine and Champagne

You should have equal numbers of these sparkling options as you do for red and white wine lists. A mix in price ranges will keep these available for every customer. 

3. Rosé Wines

Between 8 and 10 is a good option count for rosé wines.  You can add to this list in the summer months, as those are the times when rosé is most popular. 

2. Wine By the Bottle

Wine by the bottle is a classic wine list option. You can have a separate list, or keep them listed under the different wine selections. 

1. Wine Information

Wine information is a key part of your wine lists. The region, flavor notes, and pairing options are recommended to keep on hand.

Wine Bar Wine List: Curating Your Wine Lists

Your wine lists are a part of what can make your wine bar one of the best wine bars. The following section outlines the other factors that go into building a special wine bar. 

"Key Takeaway: Organizing your wine lists is a vital component of how to open a wine bar."

Best Wine Bars: 6 Facets of Inspiration For Your Wine Bar

The best wine bars are scattered around the world, in every country, with every type of wine imaginable. When you’re opening your wine bar, you can lean into the best wine bars for inspiration. These seven common facets of the best wine bars will help you pull from these timeless ideas.

6. Find a Theme

Finding a theme gives you something to build around. It’s based on your branding, your chosen space, your wine, and the goal you have for your guests and customer service. 

5. Focus on the Wine

Focusing on the wine is key for every wine bar.  Above all else, the wine you serve is what customers come to experience and enjoy. It should be a close part of your business plan.

4. Be Inspired By Your Location

Your location may be your city, state, or neighborhood. Listen to the people, check out the street-side artwork, and pull from those inspirations to fit your wine bar to the space. 

3. Put Time Into Decorations

Putting time into decorations includes everything from decorative centerpieces for each table to portraits of wine-related scenes for the walls. It all makes your space unique.

2. Take Cues from Customers

As your business grows with regular customers, listen to them if they talk about a particular wine or a place they visited and enjoyed. Take those cues and build them into your wine bar plan as they suit you. 

1. Pour Passion Into Each Glass of Wine

Your passion for your wine bar business should shine through in the care you give your customers and your business. Take care each step of the way, with each time you’re pouring wine. 

How to Be the Best Wine Bar: Best of the Rest

Curating one of the best wine bars isn’t for the faint of heart. It takes a wine bar manager with experience and passion for the job and the industry at large.

Wine Bar Manager: 5 Facets of the Manager Job Description

//A wine bar manager is the person who ties a wine bar together. This might be you, or you might hire a specific manager. Either way, these five facets of the wine bar manager job description are something you should be aware of. 

5. Organizational Skills

You’ll need organizational skills to manage the team, the customers, and the physical location and inventory. Organizational skills get their own spot on this list because of how crucial they are. 

4. Attention to Detail

Attention to detail is often overlooked but extremely important in managing a business. The daily work of a wine bar manager is busy, you’ll be pulled in many different directions. Attention to detail in each direction you’re pulled will help you manage everything with care. 

3. Employee Support

Employee support is one of the most constant responsibilities of a wine bar manager. It’s your job to make sure you are backing up your employees.

2. Wine Knowledge

Wine knowledge is specific for a wine bar. You can start by enjoying some wine options and learning about the main wines you sell. Beyond that, studying wine and taking some sommelier classes will help you learn more. 

1. Customer Service

Customer service comes in at the number one spot because it is the primary focus of any customer-based business. Experience in a bar is extra helpful. That said, any level of customer service experience will be sufficient. 

Wine Bar Managers: Mind Your Wine

As a wine bar manager, you’ll have a lot on your plate at any given time. With the information you’ve learned in this guide to wine bar businesses, however, you’ll be prepared for anything.

"Key Takeaway: The job of a wine bar manager is to keep a wine bar running smoothly, with customer satisfaction always in mind."

Opening and Operating Wine Bar Businesses: Pour, Pair, There You Go

Opening and operating wine bar businesses is a way to find your voice in the world of bar and restaurant businesses. It’s a unique business concept with a lot of room for growth. Now that you’ve read through this guide to opening wine bars, you’re ready to begin.

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How to Open a Wine Bar Step-by-Step


Opening a wine bar is an exciting venture. There are many things to consider, from the licensing and permitting process to the layout of your bar. This article will walk you through the entire process, from start to finish .  

Here are nine steps you can take to start a wine bar .

Nine Steps to Launching a Wine Bar  

1. name your wine bar  .

Give your wine bar an identity so people will consider it a well-known and respected brand. You can take the name of your wine bar business from your industry, focus on a geographical location, or use your name, among other options.

The main goal of naming your wine bar business is to make it sound appealing and trustworthy so people will visit it.

2. Determine Your Wine Bar Business Model

There are several possible types of business models for a wine bar business, including:

  • Wine bar that serves food
  • Wine bar that does not serve food
  • Restaurant with a wine bar
  • Wine bar that has live music 

No matter which model you choose, ensure that it aligns with your goals and the patrons you serve.

3. Choose a Legal Form for Your Business

Incorporating your wine bar will limit your liability. You can incorporate as a Limited Liability Company (LLC), a C Corporation (C-Corp), or an S Corporation (S-Corp). Or you can operate as a sole proprietorship.

The business structure you choose for your wine bar business will determine the taxes you pay and which state or federal tax forms you need to file.

Read our article comparing the most common wine bar business structures .

4. Write a Wine Bar Business Plan

All wine bar owners should develop a business plan. 

A business plan is a document that outlines the goals, strategies, and operations of a business. It can be used to secure funding from investors or lenders, as well as to guide the day-to-day operations of the business. The business plan should include information on the company’s products or services, market analysis, financial projections, and management team.

Read our article about how to write a wine bar business plan .

5. Apply for the Necessary Permits and Licenses

You may need to obtain the required licenses and permits before opening your wine bar .

For example, you will need to obtain a liquor license. The process for obtaining a liquor license can vary from state to state. You will also need to get a business license, which you can get from your local city or county clerk’s office.

You must also register your wine bar as a legal entity with the state where you plan to do business. You can simply file an online form through your Secretary of State website.

Registering with the federal government is also essential so you can properly pay taxes for your business. You will also need an Employer Identification Number (EIN), which you can apply for at the IRS website, if you plan to hire employees.

Read our article about obtaining the proper wine bar business licenses .

6. Determine Your Budget and Apply for Funding as Needed

In developing your wine bar business plan, you will figure out how much funding you need to start and grow your business.

If you have your funds to invest in your wine bar business, you may consider taking advantage of that. In addition to your personal funds, other forms of potential funding for your wine bar business include traditional bank loans, SBA loans, credit cards, angel investors and family and friends.

Read our article about the costs associated with starting a wine bar to help you determine if funding is needed. 

7. Get the Technology and Software Needed to Run Your Business Efficiently

When you start your wine bar , it’s essential to have the right technology in place to maximize efficiency. You need a computer with Internet access and accounting software for tracking expenses and revenues. You may also want to invest in bar management software to help you with tasks like inventory management and employee scheduling.

8. Market Your Wine Bar to Potential Patrons

Before you can pack your wine bar, you must let the world know you exist. The first step is to create a website so people can learn more about your menu and unique differentiators.

After you launch your website, start promoting it through social media channels like Facebook and Instagram. Also, consider networking with other people in the wine industry through social media so they can help share your business. 

You also need to start gathering the materials needed to execute on your promotions strategy, which is your strategy for attracting new customers. Wine bar s should consider the following promotional strategies.

  • Developing a database of potential customers
  • Designing and distributing print materials like menus and flyers
  • Organizing special events or promotions
  • Advertising in local publications
  • Engaging in online marketing efforts

Read our article about how to market your wine bar for more tips.

9. Get New Customers and Grow Your Business

When you promote your services , you’ll start to get interest from potential customers . 

Make sure you’re ready to serve these customers . Also, be sure to establish systems to ensure consistency and reduce costs. And be sure to find and train the right people to help you grow your wine bar .

Read our article about how to effectively grow your wine bar to learn more.

Starting a Wine Bar FAQs

Why start a wine bar.

The barriers to entry for starting a wine bar business are relatively low, which makes it a great option for entrepreneurs. Additionally, the demand for bars is always high since people love to socialize and drink wine. 

What are Some Tips for Starting a Wine Bar?

Some tips for starting a wine bar business include finding the right location, getting the right technology and software, developing a strong marketing strategy, and hiring the right people. 

When starting a wine bar business, you also need to make sure you have a strong business plan, the right location, the right technology and software, a good marketing strategy, and the right people working for you.

Where Can I Find a Simple Checklist for Starting a Wine Bar?

A simple checklist to use when starting a wine bar is as follows:

  • Name Your Wine Bar : This should be done with care, as your brand is important for attracting the right customers. A simple, memorable name will go a long way.
  • Choose a Legal Form for Your Business : Whether you choose to become a sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, corporation or another option will depend on your business. Ensure that you are aware of all the implications of each type.
  • Determine Your Wine Bar Business Model : Determine how your business will make money. Will you sell products, services, or a combination of both?
  • Write a Wine Bar Business Plan : Your business plan will also help you determine what your start-up costs will be and will provide a roadmap with which you can launch and grow .
  • Apply for the Necessary Permits and Licenses : In most locations you will be required to apply for business licenses and permits before you can begin operations.
  • Determine Your Budget and Apply for Funding as Needed : You will need to know how much money you have to spend on all of your business-related expenses before opening any doors. If needed, apply for a small business loan or other funding options.
  • Get the Technology and Software Needed to Run Your Business Efficiently : You need the right tools to succeed. Implement software that will help you manage your time, contacts, and business operations in general.
  • Market Your Wine Bar to Potential Customers : A solid marketing plan will be crucial to your success. It should focus on attracting the right customers so that you can provide them with the services they truly need. 
  • Get Customers and Grow Your Business : Once you have a solid marketing plan, it's time to actively pursue and secure those who could benefit the most from your services . 

Open a Wine Bar

Opening a wine bar can be a lucrative and exciting business venture. There are many things to consider, such as naming your bar, writing a business plan, getting the necessary permits and licenses, and marketing your business. With the proper planning and execution, you can open a successful wine bar that attracts customers.

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Wine Bar Business Plan

small wine bar business plan

Planning on starting a wine bar? Wine bars can be an excellent way to create a niche business and make a great career in hospitality, but you need detailed planning for it.

That’s where you need a business plan; it will not only help you secure funding but will also provide a roadmap for seamless business operations.

Need help writing a business plan for your wine bar? You’re at the right place. Our wine bar business plan template will help you get started.

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Free Business Plan Template

Download our free business plan template now and pave the way to success. Let’s turn your vision into an actionable strategy!

  • Fill in the blanks – Outline
  • Financial Tables

How to Write a Wine Bar Business Plan?

Writing a wine bar business plan is a crucial step toward the success of your business. Here are the key steps to consider when writing a business plan:

1. Executive Summary

An executive summary is the first section planned to offer an overview of the entire business plan. However, it is written after the entire business plan is ready and summarizes each section of your plan.

Here are a few key components to include in your executive summary:

Introduce your business:

  • This section may include the name of your wine bar, its location, when it was founded, the type of wine bar (E.g., Vinoteca wine bar, traditional wine bar, specialty wine bar.), etc.

Market opportunity:

Product and services:.

  • For instance, you may include wine selection, food pairing, wine flights, and some of your value-added services.

Marketing & sales strategies:

Financial highlights:, call to action:.

Ensure your executive summary is clear, concise, easy to understand, and jargon-free.

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2. Business Overview

The business overview section of your business plan offers detailed information about your business. The details you add will depend on how important they are to your business. Yet, business name, location, business history, and future goals are some of the foundational elements you must consider adding to this section:

Business description:

  • Traditional wine bar
  • Wine lounges
  • Wine retail and tasting bars
  • Vinoteca wine bar
  • Wine and music bars
  • Describe the legal structure of your wine bar, whether it is a sole proprietorship, LLC, partnership, or others.
  • Explain where your business is located and why you selected the place.

Mission statement:

Business history:.

  • Additionally, If you have received any awards or recognition for excellent work, describe them.

Future goal:

This section should provide a thorough understanding of your business, its history, and its future plans. Keep this section engaging, precise, and to the point.

3. Market Analysis

The market analysis section of your business plan should offer a thorough understanding of the industry with the target market, competitors, and growth opportunities. You should include the following components in this section.

Target market:

  • For instance, your wine business may target wine enthusiasts, couples and groups, tourists, and event planners based on their drinking habits.

Market size and growth potential:

Competitive analysis:, market trends:.

  • For instance, we can see wine bars offering local wines becoming popular, so describe how you will work with local wineries to provide unique flavors to customers.

Regulatory environment:

Here are a few tips for writing the market analysis section of your wine bar business plan:

  • Conduct market research, industry reports, and surveys to gather data.
  • Provide specific and detailed information whenever possible.
  • Illustrate your points with charts and graphs.
  • Write your business plan keeping your target audience in mind.

4. Products And Services

The product and services section should describe the specific services and products that will be offered to customers. To write this section should include the following:

Wine selection:

Beverage menu:, ambiance & atmosphere:, additional services:.

In short, this section of your wine bar plan must be informative, precise, and client-focused. By providing a clear and compelling description of your offerings, you can help potential investors and readers understand the value of your business.

5. Sales And Marketing Strategies

Writing the sales and marketing strategies section means a list of strategies you will use to attract and retain your clients. Here are some key elements to include in your sales & marketing plan:

Unique selling proposition (USP):

  • For instance, you may describe wine flights, wine-tasting events, and a wine selection menu as some of your USPs.

Pricing strategy:

Marketing strategies:, sales strategies:, customer retention:.

Overall, this section of your wine bar business plan should focus on customer acquisition and retention.

Have a specific, realistic, and data-driven approach while planning sales and marketing strategies for your wine bar, and be prepared to adapt or make strategic changes in your strategies based on feedback and results.

6. Operations Plan

The operations plan section of your business plan should outline the processes and procedures involved in your business operations, such as staffing requirements and operational processes. Here are a few components to add to your operations plan:

Staffing & training:

Operational process:, equipment & supplies:.

  • Explain how the equipment help you maintain quality standards and improve the efficiency of your business operations.

Adding these components to your operations plan will help you lay out your business operations, which will eventually help you manage your business effectively.

7. Management Team

The management team section provides an overview of your wine bar’s management team. This section should provide a detailed description of each manager’s experience and qualifications, as well as their responsibilities and roles.


Key managers:.

  • It should include, General manager, Wine director, Master Chef, and other key managers involved in the business operations, including their professional background and any relevant experience in the hospitality industry.

Organizational structure:

Compensation plan:, advisors/consultants:.

  • So, if you have any advisors or consultants, include them with their names and brief information consisting of roles and years of experience.

This section should describe the key personnel for your wine bar, highlighting how you have the perfect team to succeed.

8. Financial Plan

Your financial plan section should provide a summary of your business’s financial projections for the first few years. Here are some key elements to include in your financial plan:

Profit & loss statement:

Cash flow statement:, balance sheet:, break-even point:.

  • This exercise will help you understand how much revenue you need to generate to sustain or be profitable.

Financing needs:

Be realistic with your financial projections, and make sure you offer relevant information and evidence to support your estimates.

9. Appendix

The appendix section of your plan should include any additional information supporting your business plan’s main content, such as market research, legal documentation, financial statements, and other relevant information.

  • Add a table of contents for the appendix section to help readers easily find specific information or sections.
  • In addition to your financial statements, provide additional financial documents like tax returns, a list of assets within the business, credit history, and more. These statements must be the latest and offer financial projections for at least the first three or five years of business operations.
  • Provide data derived from market research, including stats about the industry, user demographics, and industry trends.
  • Include any legal documents such as permits, licenses, and contracts.
  • Include any additional documentation related to your business plan, such as product brochures, marketing materials, operational procedures, etc.

Use clear headings and labels for each section of the appendix so that readers can easily find the necessary information.

Remember, the appendix section of your wine bar business plan should only include relevant and important information supporting your plan’s main content.

The Quickest Way to turn a Business Idea into a Business Plan

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This sample wine bar business plan will provide an idea for writing a successful wine bar plan, including all the essential components of your business.

After this, if you still need clarification about writing an investment-ready business plan to impress your audience, download our wine bar business plan pdf .

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Frequently asked questions, why do you need a wine bar business plan.

A business plan is an essential tool for anyone looking to start or run a successful wine bar business. It helps to get clarity in your business, secures funding, and identifies potential challenges while starting and growing your business.

Overall, a well-written plan can help you make informed decisions, which can contribute to the long-term success of your wine bar.

How to get funding for your wine bar business?

There are several ways to get funding for your wine bar, but self-funding is one of the most efficient and speedy funding options. Other options for funding are:

Small Business Administration (SBA) loan

Crowdfunding, angel investors.

Apart from all these options, there are small business grants available, check for the same in your location and you can apply for it.

Where to find business plan writers for your wine bar business?

There are many business plan writers available, but no one knows your business and ideas better than you, so we recommend you write your wine bar business plan and outline your vision as you have in your mind.

What is the easiest way to write your wine bar business plan?

A lot of research is necessary for writing a business plan, but you can write your plan most efficiently with the help of any wine bar business plan example and edit it as per your need. You can also quickly finish your plan in just a few hours or less with the help of our business plan software.

About the Author

small wine bar business plan

Upmetrics Team

Upmetrics is the #1 business planning software that helps entrepreneurs and business owners create investment-ready business plans using AI. We regularly share business planning insights on our blog. Check out the Upmetrics blog for such interesting reads. Read more

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How to Open a Coffee and Wine Bar

How to Start a Coffee and Wine Bar

Coffee & Wine Bar Business

Opening a coffee and wine bar is an exciting prospect. A coffee and wine bar provides a great business opportunity for those who want to combine their love for coffee and passion for serving great wine.

A coffee and wine bar startup is an excellent way to attract a wide variety of customers throughout the day – increasing service hours from morning till night – and having two core profit streams.

With over 200 million Americans drinking coffee daily and roughly 75% of American adults drinking wine, there has never been a better time to open a coffee and wine bar.

What is a Coffee and Wine Bar?

A coffee and wine bar is a retail food and beverage establishment that sells both coffee and wine. It caters to both coffee and wine customers. It is generally not thought of as a bar. However, due to differing regulations regarding the wine and beer permits in different counties and states, a coffee and wine bar may need to provide a more extensive menu than a coffee shop.

In today's post, we will talk about how to open a coffee and wine bar and what steps you need to take to get your planning off the ground.

small wine bar business plan

Below, we'll outline clear steps on how to start a coffee and wine bar. Then, depending on your location, specific vision, and budget, you can amend the suggestions and work on what suits you.

1. Decide on Your Concept (Get Specific)

A coffee and wine bar is a specific business concept that centers itself on selling coffee and wine. First, however, we want you to dive a little deeper into the details.

What type of business coffee and wine bar will you want to be? For example, some cafés serve wine and beer in addition to their coffee. Others only serve wine at night while providing coffee all day long. Answer the following questions:

  • Will your coffee and wine bar serve a deep menu offered by a full kitchen?
  • Is serving coffee and wine from specific regions on the menu?
  • Will you provide light snacks and hors d'oeuvres with live music?
  • What will be the topic that binds coffee and wine at your business?

Your concept should be squarely focused on appealing to your target market, which we will discuss next.

2. Focus on Your Target Market

Your coffee and wine bar target market will be your ideal customers who will be attracted to your offerings and pricing.

The development of your business concept, coffee and wine menu, your messaging, and location choice – will all come from your assessment of your target market.

A coffee and wine bar isn't like your typical coffee shop. The “wine and coffee bar concept” generally leans towards the higher-end clientele.

Consider researching potential areas where there is a higher propensity of your target market. To start with, you can reach out to your local chamber of commerce for local information. Get available real-estate data, income level information, and other vital demographics that would tend to hold your target customer.

Understand who your customers will be, where they shop, what they eat, and what they value. And then develop your coffee and wine bar around them.

3. Determine Your Coffee and Wine Bar Menu

small wine bar business plan

What type of food items will you offer?

Some options include:

  • Full-kitchen menu (lunch and dinner)
  • Light snacks (appetizers and hors d'oeuvres)
  • Vegan, Kosher, or ethnic dishes
  • Pastries, cakes, and tarts
  • Soups and sandwiches

The possibilities are limitless when it comes to your coffee and wine bar menu. Just as important as your menu is exactly how you will serve your menu and your price points. For example, will your coffee and wine bar offer a full-table service? What price points will you provide for your menu items? Your prices on your menu will either appeal to your target market – or fall flat.

Your menu is the lynchpin of your entire coffee and wine operation (in addition to your wine or coffee). Finally, your menu will determine your coffee equipment choices, marketing, branding, hiring decisions, space requirements, and other elements – all important to your first planning stages.

Further Reading: Great Coffee Shop Concepts and Ideas to Consider

How to start a coffee and wine bar

A Look a Coffee and Wine Bars

Write a Coffee and Wine Bar Business Plan

Now that you have settled on your coffee and wine bar concept, you've determined your target market and your menu – it's time to put it all together in a business plan.

Your coffee and wine bar business plan will be the map to your final destination: opening a coffee and wine bar successfully.

Writing your business plan will help you iron out the details in a precise and methodical way. In addition to articulating your vision, your business plan will be necessary to help you get the funding required, entice potential partners, and investors, and appeal to your property manager.

Your business plan will articulate your:

  • Concept and vision
  • Define your management & team
  • Detail your operations
  • Discuss your target market
  • Menu details
  • Financial projections
  • Competitor analysis
  • Timeline and benchmarks
  • Branding and marketing
  • Exit strategy

For more information on writing your business plan, please read, How to Start Your Coffee Shop Business Plan .

Determine Your Budget

An essential part of your coffee and wine bar planning is to determine your budget. There are two central budgets when you start your coffee and wine bar. The first is your coffee shop startup budget . Your startup budget should include everything necessary to get your coffee and wine bar operational.

Your coffee and wine bar startup budget includes the following:

  • Research and planning costs
  • Legal and Administrative
  • Consulting costs
  • Equipment costs
  • Permit and licenses
  • Build out costs
  • Branding, marketing, and promotion costs
  • Labor costs
  • Security deposits

Depending on your coffee and wine bar concept, you'll have other startup costs too, but these listed items should give you a generally good idea of what they consist of. Next will be your operational costs (otherwise known as overhead costs).

This operational budget includes the following costs:

  • Monthly rent
  • Inventory costs
  • Insurance premiums
  • Hourly labor costs and salaries
  • Various fees
  • Occasional costs (license renewals, maintenance, training)

Like the previous example, these operational cost examples should give you a good idea of what to expect per month.

Developing a startup's and operational budgets will be essential to your planning. But it's also important to note that you probably won’t be profitable in the first few months to a year. So, you will need an adequate cash flow to sustain your operation until you reach profitability.

For more information on sample costs, please read our post, How Much Does a Coffee Shop Cost?

Focus on Customer Experience

The chances are that your coffee and wine bar will ultimately appeal to premium clients, though you will have to envision what type of customer experience they will want to have.

The experience your customers have entails everything from your ambiance, seating, and table options, music, interior and exterior seating, lighting, cafe design – and all other sensory possibilities.

Your customer experience may begin even before they enter your wine and coffee bar. For example, can they park and easily access your entrance or have a valet parking option? What will your outdoor signage look like, and how good is your online representation?

Look for Your Location

A woman pours wine for customers.

Depending on where you live or plan to operate your coffee and wine bar, you may have to start your search early. Additionally, you may also need professional help from a commercial real estate broker.

Searching for the perfect location for your café will have to include a variety of essential factors.

These location factors include:

  • Accessibility
  • Sizeable market base
  • Geographically convenient for your target market
  • Proper zoning
  • Available leasing opportunities
  • Existing competition
  • Taxes and regulations
  • Your budget

For more information on choosing the right location, please read How to Pick The Right Location for Your Coffee Shop .

Choose Your Equipment

Choosing your coffee and wine bar equipment will ultimately depend on your coffee and wine bar menu.

If you offer a full-kitchen or straightforward coffee and wine bar concept, you may or may not need separate kitchen and coffee equipment.

There will be some staple coffee equipment choices that you will need to make. These include choosing a commercial espresso machine, coffee grinders, blenders, refrigerators, ice machines, and other items. Other items include display cases, shelving, and storage.

Please read our post, Coffee Shop Equipment You Need , to look at coffee and wine bar equipment options more in-depth .

Competitor Analysis

It's essential to analyze the entire market area, including looking at your competitors. For example, with a coffee and wine bar, you may have two very different types of direct competitors: coffee shops and bars.

Before looking at your competitors, I like to advise clients to look at your wine and coffee bar's strengths. What is your Unique Selling Proposition? That is, what's going to make the coffee and wine bar special?

From there, you can then analyze the local competition. These may include bars and independent or chain coffee shops. Understand that customers buying coffee at a fast-food restaurant or gas station are not your target customer base.

Determine who your competitors are and figure out why their customers are buying from them. What are they offering on their menu or customer experience that is appealing? How can you leverage your actions to compete with them fairly? For more information, please read our post, How to Beat the Coffee Shop Competition?

Research Your Permits and Licenses

Now that you've decided on your location, you will want to research the various local government agencies you will need to work with. Each government agency will have a focus issue their license and permits.

For starters, you will have to register your business structure. Many coffee shops, cafes, bars, and restaurants often establish their businesses as LLCs. Coffee shop LLCs offer benefits that you should determine before you move forward with applying for other permits and licenses.

Next, you will want to research regulations required by your local health department. Your health department's job is to ensure your business protects your customers from foodborne illnesses.

Next, you will want to visit your building's department, which will need to inspect your facility for safety and occupancy regulations. Additionally, you will need to apply for a beer and wine license from the agency in your state or county that issues these particular permits.

Further Reading: Should You Serve Alcohol at Your Coffee Shop?

Steps To Open a Coffee and Wine Bar

small wine bar business plan

A Look a Coffee and Wine Bar Businesses

Look for your wine & coffee vendors.

When you start a coffee and wine bar, you will have vendors that make everything run smoothly. They are silent partners that ensure you have the necessary ingredients to sell your goods in many respects. Let's quickly mention the two important ones:

Coffee Beans Supplier

Serving alcohol at a cafe

A wholesale coffee roaster will be able to provide you with the type of coffee beans you are looking for – in the quantity you need.

For more information on picking the right coffee roaster, consider reading How to Choose a Wholesale Coffee Roaster .

Wine & Beer Distributor

Serving your wine, you can go to the wholesale wine store. In addition, there are several top restaurant B2B stores where wine, beer, and alcohol are stored. You may also set up an account directly through wine and beer distributors, who may also be able to drop off your inventory.

Kitchen Supplies

If you intend to offer a more extensive menu, you will determine which vendors will provide the best ingredients to build your menu. This could mean anything from delivering your eggs, milk, meat, and seasoning to your flour, grains, and oil. Of course, you may decide to buy your pastries and desserts wholesale, too.

Get your coffee and wine bar menu and determine how you intend to get all the necessary items on your menu, who to shop with, or which wholesale accounts you need to open.

Design Your Coffee and Wine Bar Space

Chances are, the location you choose will need to undergo some remodeling. However, if your space was previously built for a similar coffee shop or wine bar, you may only need minimal buildout.

However, you may need some major remodeling and require professional assistance from an architect, designer, and contractor. At the very least, you must hire carpenters, painters, plumbers, and electricians.

While you could do much of the work yourself, your plumbing and electrical systems will have to be installed by certified contractors.

Nevertheless, you want to design your cafe space with your customer's experience in mind.

Your Coffee and Wine Bar Brand

If you haven't already done so, you will want to decide on a business name for your coffee and wine bar.

Choosing your coffee and wine bar name is essential in defining and building your brand. Everything from your logo, menu, colors, aesthetics, and messaging works to build your brand.

Your customers will gravitate towards your brand in the face of stiff competition or market noise. Your logo and brand will ultimately help you develop trust among your customers.

Hire Amazing Staff

A coffee and wine bar will need a mix of talented, reliable, and customer-friendly staff to succeed. That is, your hiring choices will ultimately impact the success of your business.

Hiring great staff will help you reach your profitability goals and create goodwill between you and your customers. Honest and reliable staff are a godsend that deserves to be valued.

Delivering value includes training staff, paying them well, creating a gratuity system that works for everyone, and providing them with other essentials: flexibility, medical, dental, and paid vacations. Because you will be serving alcohol, you’ll have to look at hiring staff members that are a little older than if you were just selling coffee. Be sure to check your local hiring laws to determine your hiring practices.

For more information, please read How to Hire the Best Baristas for your Coffee Shop.

Market and Promote Your Coffee and Wine Bar

Before you open your doors, you will want to begin promoting your wine and coffee bar. At first, it can be as simple as posting a sign or banner above your doors announcing that you will be opening soon.

Additionally, you will want to create a marketing plan that incorporates your brand, helps to define you, and reaches your target market.

Marketing and promoting would entail:

  • Interior signs
  • Exterior signs
  • A-frame signs
  • Social media
  • Outreach to local media and bloggers
  • Paid advertising

For more information, please read our post How to Promote and Market Your Coffee Shop .

We have covered the first steps to opening a coffee and wine bar. As you can see, you will need comprehensive planning. You can do several things to start your coffee and wine bar before spending any real money.

Additionally, because of the nature of the business, it will require a different level of knowledge from your average coffee shop startup.

The first is deciding on a concept, figuring out your menu, developing a budget, and putting it all down in a well-thought business plan.

We encourage you to get the further help you need by exploring our coffee shop business blog – and reading other trending articles that will help you pique your interest.

Trending Articles on Coffee Shop Startups:

small wine bar business plan

Coffee and Wine Bars

Additional Questions:

Should you serve alcohol at your café?

A coffee and wine bar, by its nature, serves alcohol. This may pose a dilemma for some coffee shop owners who are unsure whether they should opt for this business concept. Indeed, coffee and wine bars are not necessarily kid-friendly businesses but can be family-friendly. In addition, serving alcohol at your coffee shop has advantages – from higher margins, to more sales, and greater hours of operation. However, this may also come with other issues that you will need to consider.

Please read our post, The Pros and Cons of Serving Alcohol at Your Coffee Shop , for more information .

How much does a coffee and wine bar cost?

A coffee and wine bar costs depend entirely on the size, location, and concept. Determining your startup costs will depend on where you plan to open (a large city, small town), the condition of the space (significant buildout), and labor costs. Other than those variables, you will have fixed costs such as coffee equipment, kitchen equipment, legal and administrative fees, etc.

The average cost is $150,000 to $350,000. However, the costs of adding a wine bar to an existing coffee shop may come in the form of additional inventory. Dozens of wine bottles may need to be on hand and purchased on a weekly basis. Additionally, a more extended menu may need to be added due to some liquor licensing agency regulations. 

Consider reading our post, How Much Does a Coffee Shop Cost?

How much money can I make as a coffee shop owner?

Your coffee and wine bar can be profitable. This is because the margins on both coffee and wine are very high in general. However, if you are wondering just how much money you can make as a coffee and wine bar owner, the answer is simply this:

It depends.

The amount of income you make as a coffee and wine owner depends on several important factors. These include your number of sales, your average receipt price, and your overhead costs.

For more information, please read our post, How Much Does a Coffee Shop Owner Make?

small wine bar business plan

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Based in Seattle, Washington, USA, Coffee Shop Startups is dedicated to providing you with the most relevant information on how to start a coffee shop business successfully. Over the last 11 years, we've helped thousands of aspiring coffee business owners worldwide. We harness the experience, wisdom, and knowledge of many successful coffee shop owners to help you increase your chances of success and profits. We support business owners who want to start a coffee business by providing them with valuable information on starting their coffee business successfully.

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All of our kits are delivered digitally. No physical delivery is made.

Based in Seattle, Washington, USA, Coffee Shop Startups is dedicated to providing you with the most relevant information on how to start a coffee shop business successfully.

Over the last 10+ years , we’ve helped thousands of aspiring coffee business owners worldwide. We harness the experience, wisdom, and knowledge of many successful coffee shop owners to help you increase your chances of success and profits.

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Wine Shop Business Plan Template

Written by Dave Lavinsky

wine shop business plan

Wine Shop Business Plan

Over the past 20+ years, we have helped over 500 entrepreneurs and business owners create business plans to start and grow their wine shops.

If you’re unfamiliar with creating a wine shop business plan, you may think creating one will be a time-consuming and frustrating process. For most entrepreneurs it is, but for you, it won’t be since we’re here to help. We have the experience, resources, and knowledge to help you create a great business plan.

In this article, you will learn some background information on why business planning is important. Then, you will learn how to write a wine shop business plan step-by-step so you can create your plan today.

Download our Ultimate Business Plan Template here >

What is a Wine Shop Business Plan?

A business plan provides a snapshot of your wine shop as it stands today, and lays out your growth plan for the next five years. It explains your business goals and your strategies for reaching them. It also includes market research to support your plans.

Why You Need a Business Plan for a Wine Shop

If you’re looking to start a wine shop or grow your existing wine shop company, you need a business plan. A business plan will help you raise funding, if needed, and plan out the growth of your wine shop to improve your chances of success. Your wine shop business plan is a living document that should be updated annually as your company grows and changes.

Sources of Funding for Wine Shops

With regards to funding, the main sources of funding for a wine shop are personal savings, credit cards, bank loans, and angel investors. When it comes to bank loans, banks will want to review your business plan and gain confidence that you will be able to repay your loan and interest. To acquire this confidence, the loan officer will not only want to ensure that your financials are reasonable, but they will also want to see a professional plan. Such a plan will give them the confidence that you can successfully and professionally operate a business. Personal savings and bank loans are the most common funding paths for wine shops.

Finish Your Business Plan Today!

How to write a business plan for a wine shop.

If you want to start a wine shop or expand your current one, you need a business plan. The guide below details the necessary information for how to write each essential component of your wine shop business plan.

Executive Summary

Your executive summary provides an introduction to your business plan, but it is normally the last section you write because it provides a summary of each key section of your plan.

The goal of your executive summary is to quickly engage the reader. Explain to them the kind of wine shop you are running and the status. For example, are you a startup, do you have a wine shop that you would like to grow, or are you operating a chain of wine shops?

Next, provide an overview of each of the subsequent sections of your plan.

  • Give a brief overview of the wine shop industry.
  • Discuss the type of wine shop you are operating.
  • Detail your direct competitors. Give an overview of your target customers.
  • Provide a snapshot of your marketing strategy. Identify the key members of your team.
  • Offer an overview of your financial plan.

Company Overview

In your company overview, you will detail the type of wine shop you are operating.

For example, you might specialize in one of the following types of wine shops:

  • Specialty wine: Some wine shops specialize in one particular type of wine such as a high-end or locally sourced brand.
  • General wine: This type of wine shop sells a variety of wines from low-cost to premium quality wines.
  • Wine shop and bar: This type of wine shop includes a bar area where patrons can order wine to try in-store or purchase a bottle to take home.
  • Winery: At a winery, grapes are usually grown and the wine is made on site. Wineries often include restaurants and wine tasting events.

In addition to explaining the type of wine shop you will operate, the company overview needs to provide background on the business.

Include answers to questions such as:

  • When and why did you start the business?
  • What milestones have you achieved to date? Milestones could include the number of customers served, the number of products sold, and reaching $X amount in revenue, etc.
  • Your legal business Are you incorporated as an S-Corp? An LLC? A sole proprietorship? Explain your legal structure here.

Industry Analysis

In your industry or market analysis, you need to provide an overview of the wine shop industry.

While this may seem unnecessary, it serves multiple purposes.

First, researching the wine shop industry educates you. It helps you understand the market in which you are operating.

Secondly, market research can improve your marketing strategy, particularly if your analysis identifies market trends.

The third reason is to prove to readers that you are an expert in your industry. By conducting the research and presenting it in your plan, you achieve just that.

The following questions should be answered in the industry analysis section of your wine shop business plan:

  • How big is the wine shop industry (in dollars)?
  • Is the market declining or increasing?
  • Who are the key competitors in the market?
  • Who are the key suppliers in the market?
  • What trends are affecting the industry?
  • What is the industry’s growth forecast over the next 5 – 10 years?
  • What is the relevant market size? That is, how big is the potential target market for your wine shop? You can extrapolate such a figure by assessing the size of the market in the entire country and then applying that figure to your local population.

Customer Analysis

The customer analysis section of your wine shop business plan must detail the customers you serve and/or expect to serve.

The following are examples of customer segments: individuals, families, and corporations.

As you can imagine, the customer segment(s) you choose will have a great impact on the type of wine shop you operate. Clearly, individuals would respond to different marketing promotions than corporations, for example.

Try to break out your target customers in terms of their demographic and psychographic profiles. With regards to demographics, including a discussion of the ages, genders, locations, and income levels of the potential customers you seek to serve.

Psychographic profiles explain the wants and needs of your target customers. The more you can recognize and define these needs, the better you will do in attracting and retaining your customers.

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Competitive Analysis

Your competitive analysis should identify the indirect and direct competitors your business faces and then focus on the latter.

Direct competitors are other wine shops.

Indirect competitors are other options that customers have to purchase from that aren’t directly competing with your product or service. This includes other types of wine retailers, wineries, bars, and restaurants that serve wine. You need to mention such competition as well.

For each such competitor, provide an overview of their business and document their strengths and weaknesses. Unless you once worked at your competitors’ businesses, it will be impossible to know everything about them. But you should be able to find out key things about them such as

  • What types of customers do they serve?
  • What type of wine shop are they?
  • What is their pricing (premium, low, etc.)?
  • What are they good at?
  • What are their weaknesses?

With regards to the last two questions, think about your answers from the customers’ perspective. And don’t be afraid to ask your competitors’ customers what they like most and least about them.

The final part of your competitive analysis section is to document your areas of competitive advantage. For example:

  • Will you make it easier for customers to acquire your product?
  • Will you offer products or services that your competition doesn’t?
  • Will you provide better customer service?
  • Will you offer better pricing?

Think about ways you will outperform your competition and document them in this section of your plan.  

Marketing Plan

Traditionally, a marketing plan includes the four P’s: Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. For a wine shop business plan, your marketing strategy should include the following:

Product : In the product section, you should reiterate the type of wine shop company that you documented in your company overview. Then, detail the specific products or services you will be offering. For example, will you provide a wide variety of wine brands, locally produced wines, or specialty wines?

Price : Document the prices you will offer and how they compare to your competitors. Essentially in the product and price sub-sections of your plan, you are presenting the products and/or services you offer and their prices.

Place : Place refers to the site of your wine shop company. Document where your company is situated and mention how the site will impact your success. For example, is your wine shop located in a busy retail district, a business district, a standalone shop, or purely online? Discuss how your site might be the ideal location for your customers.

Promotions : The final part of your wine shop marketing plan is where you will document how you will drive potential customers to your location(s). The following are some promotional methods you might consider:

  • Advertise in local papers, radio stations and/or magazines
  • Reach out to websites
  • Distribute flyers
  • Engage in email marketing
  • Advertise on social media platforms
  • Improve the SEO (search engine optimization) on your website for targeted keywords

Operations Plan

While the earlier sections of your business plan explained your goals, your operations plan describes how you will meet them. Your operations plan should have two distinct sections as follows.

Everyday short-term processes include all of the tasks involved in running your wine shop, including answering calls, helping customers make their selections, collecting payments, restocking inventory, etc.

Long-term goals are the milestones you hope to achieve. These could include the dates when you expect to acquire your Xth customer, or when you hope to reach $X in revenue. It could also be when you expect to expand your wine shop to a new city.  

Management Team

To demonstrate your wine shop’s potential to succeed, a strong management team is essential. Highlight your key players’ backgrounds, emphasizing those skills and experiences that prove their ability to grow a company.

Ideally, you and/or your team members have direct experience in managing wine shops. If so, highlight this experience and expertise. But also highlight any experience that you think will help your business succeed.

If your team is lacking, consider assembling an advisory board. An advisory board would include 2 to 8 individuals who would act as mentors to your business. They would help answer questions and provide strategic guidance. If needed, look for advisory board members with experience in managing a wine shop or running a small wine brand.  

Financial Plan

Your financial plan should include your 5-year financial statement broken out both monthly or quarterly for the first year and then annually. Your financial statements include your income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statements.

Income Statement

An income statement is more commonly called a Profit and Loss statement or P&L. It shows your revenue and then subtracts your costs to show whether you turned a profit or not.

In developing your income statement, you need to devise assumptions. For example, will you sell wine by the bottle or the case and will you offer discounts for repeat customers? And will sales grow by 2% or 10% per year? As you can imagine, your choice of assumptions will greatly impact the financial forecasts for your business. As much as possible, conduct research to try to root your assumptions in reality.

Balance Sheets

Balance sheets show your assets and liabilities. While balance sheets can include much information, try to simplify them to the key items you need to know about. For instance, if you spend $50,000 on building out your wine shop, this will not give you immediate profits. Rather it is an asset that will hopefully help you generate profits for years to come. Likewise, if a lender writes you a check for $50,000, you don’t need to pay it back immediately. Rather, that is a liability you will pay back over time.

Cash Flow Statement

Your cash flow statement will help determine how much money you need to start or grow your business, and ensure you never run out of money. What most entrepreneurs and business owners don’t realize is that you can turn a profit but run out of money and go bankrupt.

When creating your Income Statement and Balance Sheets be sure to include several of the key costs needed in starting or growing a wine shop:

  • Cost of equipment and office supplies
  • Payroll or salaries paid to staff
  • Business insurance
  • Other start-up expenses (if you’re a new business) like legal expenses, permits, computer software, and equipment

Attach your full financial projections in the appendix of your plan along with any supporting documents that make your plan more compelling. For example, you might include your wine shop location lease or a list of brands you carry.  

Writing a business plan for your wine shop is a worthwhile endeavor. If you follow the template above, by the time you are done, you will truly be an expert. You will understand the wine shop industry, your competition, and your customers. You will develop a marketing strategy and will understand what it takes to launch and grow a successful wine shop.

Wine Shop Business Plan FAQs

What is the easiest way to complete my wine shop business plan.

Growthink's Ultimate Business Plan Template allows you to quickly and easily write your wine shop business plan.

How Do You Start a Wine Shop Business?

Starting a wine shop business is easy with these 14 steps:

  • Choose the Name for Your Wine Shop
  • Create Your Wine Shop Business Plan
  • Choose the Legal Structure for Your Wine Shop
  • Secure Startup Funding for Your Wine Shop (If Needed)
  • Secure a Location for Your Business
  • Register Your Wine Shop with the IRS
  • Open a Business Bank Account
  • Get a Business Credit Card
  • Get the Required Business Licenses and Permits
  • Get Business Insurance for Your Wine Shop
  • Buy or Lease the Right Wine Shop Equipment
  • Develop Your Wine Shop Marketing Materials
  • Purchase and Setup the Software Needed to Run Your Wine Shop
  • Open for Business

Don’t you wish there was a faster, easier way to finish your Wine Shop business plan?

OR, Let Us Develop Your Plan For You

Since 1999, Growthink has developed business plans for thousands of companies who have gone on to achieve tremendous success.   Click here to see how a Growthink business plan writer can create your business plan for you.

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Here's how you open a profitable wine bar establishment.

wine bar profitability

Launching a wine bar is an exciting venture for oenophiles and entrepreneurs alike, offering a sophisticated space to indulge in the world of fine wines and connect with fellow wine lovers.

Whether you're a seasoned sommelier aiming to curate a unique wine experience or an enthusiast ready to transform your passion into a thriving business, establishing a wine bar requires strategic foresight and commitment.

In this blog post, we'll navigate you through the crucial stages of opening a wine bar, from the initial vision to the celebratory first pour.

How you should prepare to open a wine bar establishment

Market research and concept, choose a concept.

Choosing a concept is one of the first steps in opening a wine bar because it will influence the atmosphere you want to create, the selection of wines you'll offer, and the clientele you aim to attract.

This decision will shape your entire business strategy, including the location, interior design, menu, pricing, and marketing approach. A well-defined concept can help your wine bar stand out and draw in the desired patrons.

Essentially, selecting the right concept is like deciding on the theme of your story before you set the stage and write the dialogue.

To assist you in making an informed choice, we have compiled a summary of the most popular concepts for a wine bar in the table below.

business plan wine pub

Pick an audience

When opening a wine bar, it's crucial to tailor your concept to the specific audience you aim to attract.

For instance, if you're targeting sophisticated clientele who appreciate fine wines, your wine bar might offer a curated selection of rare and aged wines, with a focus on providing an upscale and intimate atmosphere. You might choose a location in an affluent neighborhood or a bustling downtown area known for its nightlife.

Conversely, if you're looking to draw in a younger, more casual crowd, you might focus on offering a variety of affordable and approachable wines, possibly with a fun theme or interactive wine-tasting events. The decor could be trendy and the location in a hip, urban area with a lot of foot traffic from millennials.

Understanding your target audience is essential because it influences every aspect of your wine bar, from the wine selection to the ambiance, and even the location. It's similar to selecting a present; you consider the recipient's tastes before choosing the gift to ensure they'll enjoy it.

Additionally, knowing your audience allows you to communicate with them more effectively. If you're aware of who you're trying to attract, you can determine the best methods to advertise your wine bar. For example, if you're aiming for a younger demographic, social media marketing might be the most effective strategy.

In our business plan for a wine bar , we have outlined different customer segments that could be relevant for your establishment.

To provide you with a clearer picture of potential audiences for your wine bar, we've compiled a few typical examples below.

Get familiar with the industry trends

When venturing into the wine bar business, it's crucial to stay informed about the emerging trends in the industry and integrate them into your concept.

Staying on top of trends can help you capture the interest of the public. By offering trendy wines or experiences, you can draw in a clientele that's excited to explore the latest developments in the wine world. This also sets you apart from other wine bars that may be more traditional in their selections and ambiance.

Actually, we update our business plan for a wine bar biannually to include the newest emerging trends. We believe this will assist you in creating a more successful wine bar.

For instance, there's a noticeable shift towards organic and biodynamic wines, as consumers become more environmentally conscious and interested in sustainability.

Additionally, wine bars that offer a variety of experiences, such as wine tastings, pairings with local cuisine, or educational events, are becoming more popular as people seek more than just a drink—they want an experience.

With the rise of technology, offering virtual wine tastings and online sommelier consultations can cater to those who prefer the comfort of their own home or are still cautious about public gatherings.

Moreover, the aesthetic of your wine bar, including its Instagrammable spots and unique design elements, can significantly enhance your online presence and attract a younger, social media-savvy demographic.

We have compiled a list of more trends in the table below.

However, there are also some declining trends.

As people become more health-conscious, there's a decline in the popularity of wines with high levels of additives and sulfites.

Also, the traditional, stuffy wine bar atmosphere is becoming less appealing compared to more relaxed, inclusive, and modern environments.

Finally, with a growing awareness of environmental issues, wine bars that fail to offer sustainable practices, such as recycling or reducing carbon footprints, may fall out of favor with environmentally conscious consumers.

business plan wine bar establishment

Choosing the ideal location

Choosing the ideal location for your wine bar is a critical decision that can greatly influence its success. This process requires careful consideration of several key factors.

Understanding the local demographics is the first step. A wine bar will likely attract a clientele interested in a sophisticated and relaxing atmosphere. Consider areas with a higher concentration of adults aged 25-50, who may have more disposable income and a taste for fine wines. If the neighborhood is affluent, you might focus on a selection of premium, high-end wines. In contrast, a more diverse or younger area might appreciate a variety of affordable and approachable options.

Visibility and accessibility are just as important for a wine bar as for any other business. A location that's easily noticeable and reachable by foot, car, or public transportation can significantly increase spontaneous patronage. Look for spots with high foot traffic, such as near popular restaurants, theaters, or cultural venues.

Accessibility also includes the availability of parking or being within a comfortable walking distance from residential or commercial areas where potential patrons reside or work.

Competition can be beneficial to a point. While you wouldn't want to open next to another wine bar, being in an area with a few can indicate a strong market. However, it's crucial to find a unique angle or niche that sets your wine bar apart from others.

The cost of rent is a major factor. Prime locations with high visibility often come with higher rents, so it's essential to weigh the potential for increased patronage against the lease costs. The rent should be manageable based on your projected revenue. Sometimes, a less visible location with significantly lower rent may be more profitable in the long run.

Negotiating favorable lease terms can have a significant impact on your wine bar's financial health. This could include securing a lease with renewal options, negotiating limits on rent increases, or obtaining a reduced rent period initially to offset setup costs.

Consider the growth potential of the neighborhood. Is it an up-and-coming area with new developments that could attract more patrons to your wine bar? Having the option to expand your space in the future without relocating can be a great advantage as your business grows.

Market research and demographic analysis tools can be invaluable in pinpointing the best locations for your wine bar. These tools can help identify neighborhoods with the ideal customer base for your offerings.

The choice between a bustling city center and a quieter residential area will depend on your target market and business model. City centers can provide high foot traffic but also come with higher rents and increased competition. Residential areas might offer a more dedicated customer base with potentially lower rent but may require more marketing to become a known destination.

Being situated near cultural hotspots, community centers, or business districts can ensure a steady stream of potential customers, especially if your wine bar offers a selection that caters to the tastes and preferences of these groups.

It's also important to understand local zoning laws, health regulations, and other legal requirements to ensure that your chosen location is viable for a wine bar. Compliance with these regulations from the outset can prevent costly delays and modifications.

Finally, assessing the long-term potential of a location is vital. Look into future developments in the area that could impact your business, either positively by drawing in more customers or negatively by increasing competition or rent.

Startup budget and expenses

Calculate how much you need to start.

On average, the initial capital needed to open a wine bar can vary significantly, ranging from $50,000 to $100,000 for a modest establishment to $150,000 to $300,000 or more for a sophisticated venue in a prime location .

If you want to know the precise budget you will need for your own wine bar and also get a comprehensive list of expenses, you can use the financial plan we have created, specifically for wine bars . This excel file is designed to be intuitive and will provide you with an immediate and detailed analysis of your future venture.

The budget can fluctuate greatly depending on the location of the wine bar. High-end neighborhoods or bustling urban areas typically command higher rents, which can substantially increase startup costs.

The size of the wine bar is another important factor in the initial investment. A larger venue not only means higher rent but also necessitates more inventory, staff, and furnishings, which contribute to greater operational expenses.

The selection of wines and the quality of the furnishings are other significant factors. A diverse and high-quality wine inventory can be costly, but it attracts discerning customers. Similarly, upscale decor and comfortable seating can be expensive but are crucial for creating an inviting atmosphere. On the other hand, starting with a more limited wine selection or simpler furnishings can help to keep initial costs down, with the possibility of expanding as the business grows.

Even with a limited budget, it's possible to open a wine bar, but it requires strategic planning and smart budgeting. The very minimum budget might be around $30,000 to $60,000 , if you opt for a less expensive location, keep the scale of your operation small, source second-hand furnishings, and handle much of the work yourself. This approach demands a proactive strategy, focusing on a niche market or a smaller, curated wine list to minimize complexity and costs.

To maximize a limited budget, consider the following tips.

business plan wine bar establishment

Identify all your expenses

The expenses when starting a wine bar include equipment purchases, licensing and permits, insurance, marketing and advertising, technology and software, staff training, inventory of wines and related products, and a reserve for unexpected expenses.

Essential equipment for a wine bar includes wine refrigerators, glassware, bar furniture, point-of-sale systems, and decor. Costs can vary widely based on the quality and source of the equipment. On average, you might spend between $20,000 to $150,000. High-end or new equipment will be at the upper end of this range, while you can save by purchasing used equipment. Wine refrigerators and proper glassware are crucial as they directly impact the quality of the wine served.

Licenses and permits are critical for legal operation. Costs vary by location but typically range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars. This includes liquor licenses, food service licenses, health department permits, and possibly entertainment permits if you plan to host live music or events.

Insurance is essential to protect your business against liability, property damage, and other potential risks. Essential policies include liquor liability, general liability, property insurance, and workers' compensation if you have employees. Annual premiums can range from $3,000 to $10,000 or more, depending on your coverage levels and wine bar size.

Allocating funds for marketing and advertising is crucial for attracting customers. Initially, you might spend between $2,000 to $10,000 on marketing efforts, including social media advertising, traditional advertising, and creating a website. The amount can vary based on your strategy and the competitiveness of your market.

Investing in technology and software for point-of-sale systems, inventory management, and accounting software is important. Costs can range from $1,500 to $15,000, depending on the sophistication of the systems you choose. Subscription-based services may have ongoing monthly fees.

There are also training costs for staff to ensure knowledgeable service about wine and related products. Setting aside $1,000 to $5,000 for initial training and ongoing professional development can help ensure high-quality service. This also includes any costs for obtaining or maintaining personal certifications.

Establishing and maintaining an inventory of wines, spirits, and other necessary items is an ongoing expense that can fluctuate based on market prices and your wine bar's volume. Initial inventory setup can cost between $10,000 to $50,000. Developing relationships with reliable suppliers and considering bulk purchases for popular items can help manage costs.

Finally, setting aside a reserve for unexpected expenses or emergencies is crucial. A good rule of thumb is to have at least six months' worth of operating expenses saved. This can cover unforeseen repairs, equipment failures, or shortfalls in cash flow.

Here is a summary table to make it easier to digest. For a full breakdown of expenses, please check our financial plan for wine bars .

Business plan and financing

Make a solid business plan.

You may have heard it time and again, but it bears repeating: crafting a business plan when opening a wine bar is indispensable.

Why is this the case? A business plan acts as a strategic guide for your venture, detailing your objectives, methods for achieving them, and the potential obstacles you may encounter. A meticulously prepared business plan is not just a tool for maintaining organization and direction but is also crucial when seeking financial backing from investors or banks, as it showcases the feasibility and prospective profitability of your wine bar.

The essential elements of a wine bar business plan encompass market analysis, financial planning, and operational strategy, among other components. Market analysis is vital for understanding your target clientele, their tastes, and the competitive environment. This involves examining trends in the wine industry, pinpointing your primary competitors, and discovering a niche or unique value proposition that distinguishes your wine bar from others.

Financial planning is another fundamental aspect. This section should detail your anticipated revenue, cost of goods sold (including wine inventory and bar supplies), staffing expenses, and other operational costs. It should also feature forecasts for profit and loss, cash flow, and a break-even analysis. Financial planning offers you and potential financiers a transparent view of your wine bar's fiscal health and prospects for growth. You will find all of this in our financial plan for a wine bar .

While a wine bar business plan shares commonalities with other business plans, the focus on certain areas may vary.

For instance, a wine bar will emphasize product selection (curating a diverse and attractive wine list), supplier relationships (securing high-quality and unique wines), and location analysis (choosing a spot with the right ambiance and customer traffic). Additionally, it's crucial to show adherence to regulations specific to alcohol service and consumption.

To achieve success and create a persuasive wine bar business plan, thorough research is essential, and you must be realistic about your financial estimates and capabilities. Engage with potential patrons to grasp their desires, preferences, and spending readiness for your wine offerings. Also, contemplate the scalability of your business model and how you might broaden or modify your selections in the future.

For a wine bar, particular attention should be given to establishing a strong brand identity and marketing approach that connects with your intended audience. Emphasizing the exclusivity of your wine selection, the expertise of your sommeliers, or the atmosphere of your establishment can set your wine bar apart in a competitive market.

Success depends not only on the quality of your wine and service but also on meticulous planning, understanding your market, managing finances prudently, and implementing your operational strategy with precision.

Keep in mind, a business plan is not a static document but a dynamic one that should be revisited and refined as your wine bar grows and adapts.

Get financed

Concerned about how to finance your dream wine bar? There's a variety of options available to help you pour your first glass.

Financing for your wine bar can come from multiple sources: attracting investors, securing loans from banks or financial institutions, and seeking out grants or subsidies.

Each financing method comes with its own set of benefits and things to consider.

Attracting investors means finding individuals or groups willing to put money into your wine bar in exchange for equity. This is great because it doesn't involve regular repayments like a loan does.

However, it does mean parting with some ownership and possibly having less control over certain business decisions.

For a wine bar, this could be a smart move if you're looking to create a high-end establishment in a sought-after location or if you plan to expand quickly. To entice investors, you'll need a robust business plan that shows growth potential, profitability, and a deep understanding of the wine bar scene.

Securing a business loan is another popular option.

While you'll have to pay back the loan with interest, you get to keep full ownership of your wine bar. Loans can be used for a variety of purposes, including buying inventory, covering initial operating costs, or financing interior design and ambiance enhancements.

Banks usually ask for a down payment or collateral, which can range from 15% to 25% of the loan amount. It's crucial to balance the amount of external financing to avoid overwhelming your wine bar with debt. Ideally, your wine bar's projected cash flow should easily cover loan repayments while still allowing for operational costs and growth.

Grants and subsidies are less common but can be a valuable resource.

These funds are typically provided by government bodies or non-profit organizations to support small businesses, particularly in areas that promote culture or tourism. Grants don't need to be repaid, but they're competitive and often come with strings attached.

For a wine bar, grants might not be the main funding source but could help finance specific aspects, like hosting wine education events or creating a local wine tasting experience.

To successfully secure funding from lenders or investors, you must prove that your wine bar is a viable and profitable venture.

This means crafting a comprehensive business plan that includes market analysis, a clear target audience, detailed financial projections, and an effective marketing strategy. Your business plan should showcase what makes your wine bar unique, such as exclusive wine selections, innovative pairing menus, or a prime location.

Lenders and investors will judge your wine bar on various factors, including your creditworthiness, industry experience, collateral, and the strength of your business plan.

They'll scrutinize the financial projections of your wine bar to determine if you can generate enough revenue to cover expenses, repay debts, and still profit. A thorough understanding of the wine bar market, including trends, customer preferences, and competitive analysis, will also strengthen your case.

Below is a summary table of the various financing options mentioned for opening a wine bar, along with their advantages, considerations, and potential uses.

Legal and administrative setup

Permits and licenses.

Opening and operating a wine bar involves meticulous planning and compliance with various regulations and requirements to ensure the safety, health, and enjoyment of your patrons, as well as to safeguard your business.

The specific permits, licenses, health department regulations, inspection schedules, consequences of non-compliance, and insurance policies you'll need will differ based on your location, but there are common standards that are applicable in many areas.

First, you'll need to secure the necessary business permits and licenses.

This typically includes a business license from your city or county, and a sales tax permit if your state imposes sales tax. Since you plan to sell alcohol, you will need a liquor license, which can be one of the most complex and costly permits to obtain, often requiring background checks, training requirements, and a thorough understanding of local alcohol laws. A food establishment permit may also be necessary if you offer small plates or other food items.

It's imperative to consult with your local government to understand the specific requirements for your area.

Regarding health department regulations, wine bars must adhere to food safety and sanitation standards to prevent foodborne illnesses, even if their food service is limited.

This includes proper food handling, storage, and preparation practices, maintaining cleanliness of the facility, and regular training for employees on food safety. Health department inspections are carried out to ensure adherence to these regulations. The frequency of inspections can vary, but they typically occur at least once a year, with additional inspections possible in the event of complaints or past issues. Some jurisdictions may also mandate a pre-operational inspection before the wine bar can open.

Non-compliance with health department regulations can lead to consequences such as fines, mandatory closure of the business until violations are rectified, or, in extreme cases, permanent closure or legal action. It's vital to take these regulations seriously and ensure your wine bar meets all health and safety standards.

Insurance is another essential element of protecting your wine bar business. At a minimum, you'll need general liability insurance to cover accidents or injuries that occur on your premises.

Property insurance is crucial to protect your wine bar's physical assets from damage or theft. If you employ staff, workers' compensation insurance will likely be mandated by law to cover injuries or illnesses that they may suffer as a result of their work.

Additionally, liquor liability insurance is highly recommended, as it can protect your business in the event that a customer causes harm after being served alcohol at your establishment. This type of insurance is often a requirement for obtaining a liquor license.

Business Structure

The three common structures for opening a wine bar are LLC (Limited Liability Company), partnership, and sole proprietorship. Each has their unique features and implications for your business.

Please note that we are not legal experts (we specialize in business and financial planning) and that your choice should be based on how much risk you're willing to accept, how you prefer to handle taxes, and your plans for growing and possibly selling your wine bar.

In simple terms, a sole proprietorship is simple and straightforward but carries personal liability. A partnership allows for shared responsibility but requires clear agreements to manage risks. An LLC offers a balance of protection and flexibility, making it a strong option for many businesses looking to scale.

Consider your long-term goals, and consult with a financial advisor or attorney to make the best choice for your wine bar.

We’ll make it easier for you, here is a summary table.

Getting started to open a wine bar establishment

Offer development, design and lay out.

Designing and laying out your wine bar for operational efficiency and an enhanced customer experience requires careful planning and strategic thinking.

Let's dive into how you can achieve this, focusing on customer flow, balancing equipment needs with budget, and ensuring health and safety.

Firstly, envisioning customer flow is paramount.

Your wine bar's design should guide customers naturally from the entrance to the wine selection area, past the featured wine displays, to the payment counter, and finally to either the pickup area or seating space, if available. This flow should be intuitive, reducing bottlenecks and ensuring a smooth transition from one point to the next. Place your most attractive and popular wines or promotions near the entrance to immediately catch customers' attention.

This setup not only showcases your best offerings but also encourages customers to explore different wines as they follow the designated path.

Regarding the design to facilitate this flow, consider the layout's openness and accessibility.

Wide aisles, clear signage, and a logical arrangement of the space encourage easy movement and comfort. The wine selection area should be clearly marked and separate from the pickup area to avoid confusion and congestion. If your wine bar also has a seating area, ensure it's comfortably distanced from the queue line to maintain a relaxed atmosphere for those enjoying their wine.

Balancing the need for high-quality equipment with budget constraints is a challenge many face.

Start by prioritizing essential equipment that directly impacts the quality of your wine service, such as wine fridges and glassware. These are worth investing in because they are the backbone of your wine bar's operations. For other items, consider buying gently used or refurbished equipment from reputable suppliers to save money without significantly compromising quality.

Additionally, plan for equipment that offers versatility and efficiency, like dual-temperature wine fridges or multi-purpose glassware, to get the most value for your investment.

Health and safety in the wine bar layout are non-negotiable. Your design must incorporate zones designated for different tasks to prevent cross-contamination. For example, separate areas for wine storage, glass cleaning, and serving ensure that each step of the process is contained and controlled. Install handwashing stations at key points, especially near the food preparation and serving areas, to encourage regular hand hygiene among staff.

Specific protocols for wine handling, storage, and serving are crucial for safety and compliance. Implement a system that ensures all wines are stored at the correct temperatures and conditions, with open bottles kept separate from unopened inventory.

Train your staff thoroughly in responsible serving practices, emphasizing the importance of handwashing, maintaining a clean environment, and avoiding cross-contamination between used and clean glassware.

Regularly review and update these protocols to comply with local health regulations and best practices.

Craft your offer

Your wine selection and the ambiance of your wine bar will be the key factors in its success (or failure).

To begin, understand the preferences and needs of your target market through direct engagement, like hosting wine tasting events, and indirect research, such as monitoring trends in the wine industry and analyzing what successful wine bars in your area are doing.

Once you have a solid grasp of your target market's tastes, you can start to curate a wine list that not only caters to their preferences but also distinguishes your bar from others.

Featuring local and seasonal wines is an excellent strategy to boost appeal and support sustainability.

This approach not only backs local wineries and reduces your carbon footprint but also ensures that your wine offerings are unique and of high quality. Forge relationships with local vintners to learn which wines will be available throughout the year. This knowledge allows you to rotate your wine list seasonally, introducing special vintages that can draw in customers eager for the latest and greatest selections. Seasonal rotations also build excitement among your patrons, as they anticipate new discoveries.

To make your wine bar stand out in a crowded market, focus on exclusivity and quality.

This can be achieved by offering rare or exclusive wines, hosting events with guest sommeliers, or providing pairings with gourmet small plates that complement your wine selection. Sharing the story behind your wines, such as the vineyard's history or the winemaker's philosophy, can also add a layer of intrigue.

Ensuring consistency and quality in your wine offerings involves setting high standards and educating your staff.

This includes training your team on the nuances of each wine, proper serving techniques, and the ability to guide customers through the wine selection process. Consistency is crucial for building trust with your customers, as they will come to expect a certain level of knowledge and service with each visit. Invest in maintaining a well-preserved wine collection and consider using technology, like wine preservation systems, to keep open bottles at their best.

Utilizing customer feedback is vital for the ongoing enhancement of your wine bar experience. Establish channels for feedback, such as comment cards, online reviews, and social media interactions, to gauge what your customers enjoy and identify areas for improvement.

Be receptive to constructive criticism and ready to adapt your wine list and services based on customer insights. This not only aids in refining your offerings but also demonstrates to your customers that their opinions are valued, encouraging loyalty and repeat visits.

Determinate the right pricing

When opening a wine bar, it's crucial to establish a pricing strategy that balances profitability with customer satisfaction. Here's a methodical approach to setting your wine prices.

Firstly, you must understand your costs thoroughly, which include the purchase of wines, glassware, labor, rent, utilities, and any other expenses related to operating your wine bar.

This will ensure that your prices not only cover these costs but also contribute to your business's profitability.

Next, conduct market research to understand the pricing landscape. Look at what other wine bars in the area are charging for similar quality and types of wine. This will give you a competitive baseline without necessarily having to match or undercut these prices.

Knowing your target market's spending habits and preferences is key. Gather insights through customer interactions, surveys, or by experimenting with different price points and observing the effects on sales. This will help you find the sweet spot where customers feel they are getting good value without feeling overcharged.

Psychological pricing strategies can also be effective in a wine bar setting.

For example, setting a price of $9.95 instead of $10 can make a significant difference in perception, even though the actual difference is slight. This can be particularly effective for by-the-glass offerings or more affordable bottle options.

However, you should use this strategy judiciously to maintain the upscale image of your wine selection.

The perceived value is crucial when pricing wines.

Enhancing this perception can be achieved through the quality and exclusivity of your wine selection, the ambiance of your wine bar, and the level of service provided. Customers are often willing to pay more if they believe they are receiving a superior experience and product.

Implementing seasonal or happy hour pricing can incentivize customers to visit during slower periods or to try new or seasonal wines. For instance, offering a happy hour discount on select wines can increase early evening traffic, while featuring exclusive seasonal wines can attract customers looking for a unique experience.

When introducing new wines, consider using introductory pricing, such as a special price for the first week or a discount when purchased with a food pairing. Once the wine gains popularity, you can adjust the price accordingly.

For online sales, if applicable, consider how to handle shipping costs. You might include shipping in the price of the wine or charge it separately. Online-exclusive promotions can also drive sales in this channel.

Finally, be cautious with discounting. While promotions can attract customers and boost sales, excessive discounting can harm your brand's perceived value. Use discounts strategically, perhaps for moving inventory that's been on the shelf for too long, but avoid making discounts a regular expectation for your clientele.

Manage relationships with your suppliers

Poor relationships with suppliers could jeopardize your wine bar's success in no time.

On the contrary, nurturing strong connections with wine producers and distributors is crucial for ensuring a diverse and high-quality wine selection.

Engage in regular communication, make payments promptly, and show genuine appreciation for their vintages and services to build loyalty and dependability. Be clear about your wine bar's vision and the types of wines you wish to offer, and make an effort to visit vineyards and tasting events. This will enhance your knowledge of their offerings and the intricacies of wine production, which is invaluable for curating a compelling wine list.

Consider establishing long-term contracts for your most popular or signature wines to lock in favorable pricing and ensure consistent availability. However, it's also wise to cultivate relationships with a variety of suppliers to diversify your portfolio and protect against potential shortages.

For managing your wine inventory, techniques such as First-In, First-Out (FIFO) are essential to ensure that wines are served at their optimal maturity. Regularly review your stock to align orders with consumption patterns, avoiding excess inventory that could lead to overstock of wines that may decline in quality over time. A just-in-time (JIT) inventory approach can also be beneficial, where wines are ordered in alignment with demand, though this requires accurate sales forecasting.

Technology can significantly enhance inventory management and customer experience in a wine bar.

Implementing an inventory management system that integrates with your point-of-sale (POS) system allows for real-time tracking of wine stock and sales data. This can help you anticipate demand more accurately, optimize ordering processes, and spot trends that can guide your wine selection and promotional efforts.

Moreover, digital tools can streamline communication with suppliers, making it easier to adjust orders quickly and collaborate on exclusive offerings or limited releases.

Expanding your wine bar's offerings presents challenges such as maintaining a curated experience, managing increased costs, and ensuring each wine is presented in its best condition. Address these challenges by training staff extensively on wine knowledge, proper storage, and service, and investing in storage solutions that preserve wine quality, such as temperature-controlled cellars.

As your wine selection grows, negotiate with suppliers for volume discounts without compromising on the quality of the wines. Quality control becomes increasingly important as your inventory expands, necessitating rigorous standards and frequent checks to ensure every bottle served meets your wine bar's high standards.

Effective cost control measures involve a thorough examination of sourcing and managing your wine inventory. Regularly reassess contracts with suppliers to ensure you're receiving the best value without sacrificing the caliber of your wines.

Also, explore alternative wines that may offer cost savings or take advantage of seasonal availability. Employ technology to monitor and analyze costs, waste, and inventory levels to pinpoint opportunities for improvement. Minimizing waste not only reduces expenses but also supports sustainable practices, which resonates with eco-conscious patrons.

Hire the right people

When opening a wine bar, you should consider the specific roles you'll need to fill to ensure a smooth operation and an exceptional guest experience. Unlike a bakery, a wine bar focuses on the selection and service of wines, often accompanied by small plates or tapas.

At the heart of your wine bar, you'll need a knowledgeable and passionate team that can cover wine selection, service, and overall management.

For wine selection and service, a sommelier or wine expert is key. This person should have a deep understanding of wine varieties, regions, and pairings. Additionally, skilled bartenders and servers who can educate customers about the wine list and provide recommendations are essential.

For the front-of-house, you'll need attentive and personable servers, as well as a host or hostess to welcome guests and manage seating. A bar manager or owner-operator who can oversee the day-to-day operations, manage staff, and handle administrative duties, such as inventory management, supplier relations, and compliance with alcohol service regulations, is also crucial.

Roles such as a mixologist for crafting wine cocktails, marketing specialists, and additional administrative staff might not be necessary from the outset.

These positions can be added as your wine bar grows and the demand for more diverse services increases. Outsourcing can be a strategic option for roles like accounting, marketing, and even cleaning services, allowing you to concentrate on your core business while benefiting from external expertise.

When hiring for key positions, prioritize candidates with a mix of technical knowledge, experience, and a passion for wine and hospitality.

For sommeliers and wine experts, look for formal training in viticulture or oenology, as well as hands-on experience in the wine industry. Excellent communication and customer service skills are crucial for all front-of-house staff, along with the ability to work efficiently in a busy environment. For managerial roles, seek candidates with experience in hospitality management, a strong understanding of business operations, and leadership capabilities.

To ensure potential hires are a good fit for your wine bar's unique atmosphere and requirements, consider practical assessments in your hiring process, such as wine tasting tests for sommeliers or role-playing customer interaction scenarios for servers.

Look for candidates who show a genuine enthusiasm for wine and hospitality, as well as the flexibility to adapt to the dynamic nature of the hospitality industry.

Finding candidates with the right background and passion for wine and hospitality can be a challenge.

Utilize wine education programs, industry forums, and social media platforms to reach potential candidates. Networking within local wine communities and attending industry events can also be effective strategies. Consider offering internships or apprenticeships to tap into emerging talent from hospitality and sommelier programs.

Here is a summary table of the different job positions for your wine bar, and the average gross salary in USD.

Running the operations of your wine bar establishment

Daily operations.

Running a wine bar smoothly requires attention to detail and a passion for providing an exceptional customer experience. With the right systems and practices in place, you can ensure that your wine bar operates efficiently and remains a favorite spot for wine enthusiasts.

Firstly, a specialized Point of Sale (POS) system for wine bars can be a game-changer. Look for a POS that integrates sales, inventory management, and customer relationship management. This will allow you to monitor sales trends, manage your wine inventory with precision, and maintain a record of customer preferences and purchase histories.

Many POS systems now include features for reservations and table management, which are particularly useful for wine bars where customers may want to book tastings or events in advance.

Effective inventory management is crucial for a wine bar. You'll want a system that can track your bottles and vintages accurately. The best systems will alert you when stock is low and provide insights into which wines are popular, helping you make smart purchasing decisions. This minimizes overstocking and ensures that your selection is always fresh and aligned with customer preferences.

Some systems also offer features like corkage tracking and spoilage logs, which are important for maintaining the quality of your offerings and managing any potential waste.

Supplier relationships are just as important for a wine bar as they are for a bakery. Establish clear communication and set expectations for delivery schedules, wine quality, and payment terms. A strong relationship can lead to better prices and more reliable service. It's also prudent to have connections with multiple suppliers to ensure a consistent supply of your wine inventory.

Creating a positive work environment for your team is essential. Provide regular training on wine knowledge and customer service, set clear goals and expectations, and offer constructive feedback. Recognizing your staff's efforts and achievements can boost morale and encourage excellent performance. Fair and considerate scheduling is also key to maintaining a good work-life balance for your team.

The customer experience in a wine bar starts with the atmosphere, the quality of the wine, and the service. Train your staff to be knowledgeable, hospitable, and efficient. Personal touches, like remembering regulars' favorite wines, can make a visit to your wine bar memorable.

Ensure your wine bar is clean, with comfortable seating, appropriate lighting, and clear signage to contribute to a welcoming environment.

Good customer service policies for a wine bar might include a satisfaction guarantee, transparent return and refund policies, and a system for collecting and acting on customer feedback.

Encourage customers to share their thoughts in person, on your website, or through social media. Address feedback swiftly and constructively, demonstrating that you value their opinions and are dedicated to enhancing their experience.

When dealing with customer complaints, listen fully before responding. Apologize if necessary and offer a solution, such as a complimentary glass of wine, a discount on their next visit, or a private tasting session.

Use negative feedback as an opportunity to refine your wine selection, service, or operations. Transforming a poor experience into a positive one can often secure a loyal patron for your wine bar.

Revenues and Margins

Know how much you can make.

Understanding the financial workings of a wine bar is crucial for its success.

We have an in-depth article on the profitability of wine bars that you might find useful. Below, we'll touch on some key points.

One important metric to consider is the average spend per customer, similar to the average basket size in retail.

The average spend per customer at a wine bar can vary greatly depending on the bar's concept and location. For upscale wine bars with a focus on rare or high-quality wines, you might expect an average spend between $50 and $100 per visit.

Conversely, a more casual wine bar that offers a wider range of affordable wines might see an average spend between $25 and $50 per customer.

Wine bars that also serve food, whether it's small plates or full meals, can see higher average spends, potentially between $40 and $80 per customer.

Revenue for wine bars can also vary widely. In urban areas, a successful wine bar might see monthly revenues ranging from $10,000 to over $150,000 , which translates to annual revenues between $120,000 and $1.8 million .

Rural wine bars, with a smaller customer base, might expect annual revenues on the lower end of that spectrum, perhaps between $60,000 and $300,000 .

Newly opened wine bars may experience lower revenues initially as they work to establish a customer base and reputation, while well-established wine bars can benefit from repeat business and word-of-mouth referrals.

Wine bars with a niche focus, such as organic or biodynamic wines, might have a smaller customer base but can potentially charge higher prices, affecting their revenue potential.

Now, let's explore the various revenue streams a wine bar can tap into beyond just selling glasses and bottles of wine.

If you're looking for inspiration, here's a table that outlines many different ways a wine bar can generate income.

Understand your margins

Running a wine bar involves more than just pouring glasses of wine; it's about creating an experience while also managing the financials effectively. Revenue is just the starting point; understanding the margins is key to determining the true profitability of your wine bar.

Let's delve into the gross and net margins, which are critical for assessing the financial success of your establishment.

To calculate your own margins and get a precise figure for your potential profit, you can adjust the assumptions in our financial model designed for a wine bar .

The typical range of gross margins for wine bars can vary, but they generally fall between 50% to 70%.

Gross margin is calculated by subtracting the cost of goods sold (COGS), which includes the direct costs associated with acquiring the wines and other beverages sold, as well as any food offerings, from the revenue generated from sales. This figure is then divided by the revenue and multiplied by 100 to get a percentage.

Net margins consider not only COGS but also all other expenses a wine bar incurs, such as rent, utilities, marketing, administrative expenses, and taxes. This figure is obtained by subtracting all operating expenses from the gross profit.

Net margins offer a more complete view of a wine bar's profitability and are typically lower than gross margins, with industry averages often ranging from 10% to 15%, reflecting the tighter profitability after all costs are considered.

Different types of wine bars—boutique, high-volume, and themed—can have varying profit margins due to differences in their business models, scale of operations, and target markets. Here's a table to illustrate these differences.

As you might expect, the margins of a wine bar are influenced by factors such as the selection of wines, pricing strategy, and scale of operations.

A diverse wine selection can attract a wide range of customers but may increase inventory costs and complexity.

Pricing strategy is crucial; prices must be competitive yet sufficient to cover costs and yield a profit. Scale of operations can impact cost efficiencies, with larger wine bars often benefiting from lower per-unit costs due to higher volume purchases.

Ongoing expenses that affect wine bar margins include wine acquisition costs, labor, rent, and utilities. Wine costs can fluctuate based on market conditions and vintages, affecting gross margins. Labor is a significant expense, especially for establishments with a high level of customer service. Rent can vary greatly by location, and utilities can be substantial, particularly for wine bars with climate-controlled storage.

Wine bars focusing on niche markets, such as organic or biodynamic wines, may experience different margin dynamics compared to those with a broader selection.

While niche wine bars can command higher prices, they also face higher acquisition costs and potentially limited market size, which can impact overall margins.

External factors such as economic conditions, seasonal trends, and consumer preferences also play a crucial role in wine bar margins. Economic downturns can lead to reduced spending on leisure activities like wine tasting, while seasonal peaks can enhance sales. Staying current with consumer trends and adapting the wine selection accordingly can help manage these fluctuations.

The challenge of maintaining healthy margins in the face of rising wine costs and labor expenses is significant. Wine bars can address these challenges through efficient cost management, strategic pricing, optimizing operations for energy efficiency, and investing in technology for inventory and sales tracking.

Regularly monitoring and analyzing financial performance, including gross and net margins, is essential for ensuring the financial health and sustainability of a wine bar. And remember, you can track all of this with our financial model specifically for wine bars .

Implement a strong marketing strategy

Marketing doesn't need to be as complex as some experts make it seem. We know you'll be busy running your wine bar and won't have a lot of time for promoting it. So, we'll make sure to keep things simple and effective, like the marketing strategy we have outlined in our business plan for a wine bar .

Creating a brand for your wine bar is not just relevant; it's essential.

Your brand is how customers recognize and remember you. It's not just your logo or the colors you use, but also the ambiance and experiences you provide. Your brand should reflect the sophistication of your wine selection, the ambiance of your wine bar, and the values you stand for, such as exclusivity or local wine appreciation. This makes your wine bar stand out in a competitive market and builds a dedicated clientele.

For your marketing plan, start by defining your target audience. Who are your ideal patrons? What do they enjoy? Are they connoisseurs, casual drinkers, socialites, or perhaps tourists? Understanding your audience will guide your branding and promotional strategies.

Speaking of promotion, social media and digital marketing are powerful tools for wine bars. Platforms like Instagram and Facebook are perfect for showcasing your wine selection and events through high-quality photos and engaging content.

Share the story behind each wine, which adds depth and shows the knowledge and passion that goes into your selection.

Customer reviews and testimonials can build trust and encourage others to visit your wine bar. Wine pairing tips or educational content can also engage your audience, providing them with value and establishing your wine bar as a knowledgeable destination.

Content strategies that work well for wine bars include highlighting exclusive wine tastings, showcasing your cozy and inviting atmosphere, and promoting special events or wine club memberships. Collaboration with local vineyards or influencers can also boost visibility.

However, not all techniques may be relevant for your wine bar. For example, if your target audience is local professionals, advertising in tourist-centric areas might not be the best use of your budget. Likewise, if your wine bar is focused on rare vintages, a heavy focus on budget-friendly options might not align with your brand.

On a low budget, there are several hacks you can implement to attract new patrons.

First, consider hosting wine tasting events or pairing dinners to introduce people to your wine bar's unique offerings.

You can also offer a complimentary glass of wine with a check-in or review on social media to get people talking about your selection.

Partnering with local restaurants or hotels that do not have an extensive wine list can expand your reach.

Creating a membership program can encourage repeat visits. Simple membership cards or digital rewards programs that offer exclusive benefits can be very effective.

Also, don't underestimate the power of word-of-mouth marketing. Encourage your satisfied patrons to spread the word by offering them incentives for referrals.

Grow and expand

We want you to thrive with your wine bar. We trust that the insights provided here will help you on your journey to growth and success.

Imagine your wine bar is already a local favorite, with a robust selection of wines and a loyal customer base that appreciates your curated experiences. Now, it's time to consider how you can scale and expand your venture.

There's always potential for greater success, and we're here to show you the path to reach it.

Also, please note that we have a 3-year development plan specifically designed for a wine bar in our business plan template .

Successful wine bar owners often possess qualities such as a passion for wine, a knack for creating ambiance, excellent customer service skills, and the ability to adapt to market changes. These traits are essential as they work through the complexities of expanding their business.

Before adding new wines or services, consider the market demand, how these additions will complement your existing selection, and the impact on your operations.

Market research is key. By understanding customer preferences, wine trends, and the performance of similar offerings in the market, you can make informed decisions that resonate with your clientele and fit your wine bar's profile.

To evaluate the success of your current operations, look at sales trends, customer reviews, and operational efficiency. If your wine bar consistently hits sales targets, receives glowing reviews, and operates smoothly, it might be time to think about expansion.

Opening additional locations should be grounded in solid evidence of demand, a deep understanding of the target market, and the financial health of your existing operation.

Franchising can be a way to grow with less capital risk, tapping into the entrepreneurial drive of franchisees. It requires a strong brand, effective operational systems, and the capacity to support franchisees. Alternatively, opening owned branches gives you more control but demands more capital and hands-on management. The choice between these models depends on your business goals, resources, and preferred growth strategy.

Digital channels, including social media and online reservations, can significantly increase a wine bar's visibility and customer base. An online presence allows you to reach patrons beyond your immediate area, meeting the growing need for convenience and online engagement.

This approach necessitates a grasp of digital marketing and the ability to maintain the unique experience of your wine bar online.

Branding is vital as it sets your wine bar apart in a competitive industry. A strong, consistent brand identity across all locations and platforms can foster customer loyalty and attract new patrons. Enhance your brand by ensuring every interaction reflects your wine bar's ambiance, quality, and values.

Ensuring consistency across multiple locations is a challenge but is critical for success. This can be managed through comprehensive operational guidelines, staff training, and quality control measures.

Regular visits and audits, coupled with a strong, cohesive culture, help ensure each location maintains the high standards that made your original wine bar a hit.

Financial indicators that you're ready for expansion include consistent profitability, robust cash flow, and meeting or exceeding sales forecasts over a considerable time.

Having a scalable business model and the operational capacity to support growth are also essential.

Forming partnerships with local businesses and participating in wine events can introduce your wine bar to new customers and markets. These collaborations offer opportunities for community engagement and increased brand visibility, aiding in your wine bar's growth.

Scaling up to meet higher demand may involve logistical considerations such as investing in better wine storage solutions, managing inventory effectively, and potentially expanding your space. It's crucial that your supply chain can sustain the increased volume without compromising on the quality of your offerings.

Ultimately, it's vital that your expansion efforts remain aligned with your wine bar's core values and long-term objectives. Growth should not come at the cost of the unique qualities that made your wine bar successful.

Regularly revisiting your business plan and values can help ensure that your expansion strategies stay true to your vision, preserving the essence of your wine bar as it grows.

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small wine bar business plan

Small Business Trends

How to start a wine business: from grape to glass.

Starting a wine business can be as exciting as it is complex. It is a journey that marries passion with practicality. Whether you’re dreaming of owning a winery or contemplating starting an online wine shop, our How to Start a Wine Business guide is designed to help you navigate the intricacies of the wine industry.

We cover everything from understanding market trends and selecting the right business model to practical steps for starting your winery business, legal considerations, funding, location selection, and building your wine menu. You’ll even discover insights into opening a wine bar, the costs involved, and how to start a wine business from home or without owning a winery. Rounded out with a ready-to-use wine menu template and answers to your most pressing questions, this guide is your first step towards uncorking your wine business dreams. 

Understanding the Wine Industry

how to start a wine business

The first step in your winery business journey is understanding the industry. You’ll need to familiarize yourself with the market trends, key players, and the overall outlook of the wine industry. By doing so, you’ll understand the dynamics and nuances that can contribute to your success. A point to remember, we are only touching the surface here, as a detailed discussion on this topic is in the works.

And, of course, not all wine businesses are the same. Depending on your passion, expertise, and resources, you may choose from a variety of business types, each with its own unique opportunities and challenges. Here are some you might consider:

how to start a wine business

  • Wine Company: Here, you’ll engage in wine production, often sourcing grapes from other growers. This option requires less startup capital compared to owning a vineyard, but you’ll still need to navigate production processes and regulatory hurdles.
  • Winery Business/Vineyard: Dreaming of rows of grapevines under a warm sun? Owning a vineyard gives you control over the grape growing and wine production process, but keep in mind that this venture requires significant land, labor, and capital investment.
  • Wine Bars: A place where people can unwind, socialize, and explore various wines. Running a wine bar will test your customer service skills and business acumen.
  • Wine Shop: If you have a knack for curating a diverse and appealing selection of wines, owning a wine shop could be an excellent choice. However, keep in mind the inventory and retail space costs.
  • Wine Storage Facility: Providing a temperature-controlled storage facility for wine collectors and enthusiasts. This business demands a large initial investment for infrastructure setup but generates steady revenue over time.
  • Online Wine Business: The digital world offers vast opportunities for wine sales, whether you’re sourcing wines or producing your own. You’ll need to navigate shipping regulations and e-commerce best practices.
  • Wine Consultancy: If you have a deep knowledge of wine and a talent for communication, a consultancy could be your ticket. You can offer expert advice to restaurants, collectors, and other businesses.
  • Custom Crush Facilities: This involves providing winemaking services to clients who have their own grapes but lack the equipment or expertise to make wine. It’s a niche but growing segment of the industry.

Steps to Starting a New Wine Business

how to start a wine business

Starting a winery business is more than just uncorking a bottle of passion and letting it flow. It’s a series of meticulous steps that help transform your dream into a thriving enterprise.

Here is a quick summary:

Let’s explore these steps one by one.

Market Research and Idea Validation

In the world of wine, one size does not fit all. Before you venture into the winemaking industry, understanding your potential customers and market is paramount. Use surveys, interviews, and existing data to uncover consumer preferences, emerging trends, and the competitive landscape. This validation step will ensure that your business idea has a promising target market.

Creating a Wine Business Plan

This is your road map to success. Your business plan will outline your business model, target market, marketing strategy, operational plan, and financial projections. It helps guide your startup process and proves invaluable when seeking funding. For instance, consider a hypothetical business, “Vinofy” – an online platform selling organic and sustainable wines. The business plan might highlight the growing trend towards eco-conscious consumption, detail marketing strategies aimed at eco-conscious millennials, and include projections of increasing profitability as awareness and market share grow.

Legal Considerations and Wine Compliance

Wine businesses face a number of legal and regulatory requirements. Some of these include:

  • Acquiring federal, state, and local permits
  • Complying with Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau regulations
  • Understanding and adhering to shipping laws if selling online
  • Ensuring compliance with food and beverage safety standards
  • Meeting label and advertising requirements Be sure to consult with a lawyer familiar with the wine industry to navigate these complexities.

Funding Your Wine Business

Raising capital is often a crucial part of starting a winery business. Some funding options include:

  • Personal savings
  • Crowdfunding
  • Investor funding

Government grants or loans for small businesses or agricultural projects. The choice depends on your business type, growth plans, and personal financial situation.

Choosing the Right Location

Your location can greatly influence the success of your wine venture. For a vineyard, you’ll need suitable land for growing grapes. For a wine bar or shop, a high-traffic area with an affluent or hip customer base could be ideal. For an online winery business, a location with good shipping infrastructure will be beneficial.

Building Your Wine Menu

Whether you’re selling at a wine bar or curating a collection for your online shop, your wine menu should be appealing and varied. Understand your customer base and include both popular and unique options. Regularly innovate and update your offerings based on customer feedback, emerging trends, and new discoveries. The key is to balance variety with quality to ensure your customers keep coming back for more.

Wine Menu Template

how to start a wine business

Creating an appealing wine menu is an art and a science, and it’s crucial to the success of your wine business. Here’s a simple template to get you started:

[Your Business Name] Wine Menu

White Wines

  • Name of Wine – Region – Year – Brief Description – Price

Sauvignon Blanc

Cabernet Sauvignon

Sparkling Wines

Featured Wines of the Month

Remember to customize this template to suit your business and customer preferences. Keep your descriptions succinct but engaging, highlight any unique features, and make sure your pricing is clear and fair.

How to Open a Wine Bar

how to start a wine business

Opening a wine bar is a fantastic venture for those who love wine and social engagement. Here’s a step-by-step guide to get you started:

  • Market Research: Understand your local market, customer preferences, and competition. Look for gaps in the market that your wine bar could fill.
  • Business Plan: Outline your vision for your wine bar, including your target market, menu, location, staffing, marketing, and financial projections.
  • Legalities and Compliance: Ensure you meet all the legal requirements for opening a wine bar. This will include obtaining liquor licenses, and permits and adhering to health and safety regulations.
  • Funding: Determine your startup costs and secure funding. This could be through personal savings, a bank loan, or investors.
  • Location: Find a location that matches your target market. Consider factors like foot traffic, proximity to other businesses, and the local demographic.
  • Design: Create a welcoming and attractive environment that aligns with your brand.
  • Menu: Use the template provided above to build an enticing wine menu. Consider also offering food pairings to enhance the customer experience.
  • Hiring: Find skilled, passionate staff. They will be the face of your wine bar and can greatly enhance customer satisfaction.
  • Marketing: Promote your wine bar through social media, local advertising, wine-tasting events, and partnerships.
  • Opening: Plan a grand opening event to create buzz and attract your first customers.

how to start a wine business

There are many successful bars that only serve wine. But others may also offer additional drink options to serve a wider array of customers, though wine can still be the main focus. This also requires learning how to price liquor and other beverages on your cocktail menu. If you want to branch out even more, consider learning how to start a brewery or how to start a drink business with other beverages.

Vikram and Jesal talk about leaving the corporate world to open up a wine bar:

Remember, starting a successful winery is about creating an experience for your customers, a place where they can explore and enjoy the wonderful world of wine.

How Much Does it Cost to Open a Wine Bar?

how to start a wine business

Starting a wine bar can be an exciting endeavor, but it requires a significant investment. It is one of the most popular types of bars. But the costs can vary widely depending on your location, size, and concept, but here are some key areas to consider:

  • Initial Investments: This includes purchasing or leasing a location, renovations, and decor. This can range from $100,000 to $500,000.
  • Licensing and Permits: Depending on your location, expect to spend between $1,000 and $10,000.
  • Stocking the Bar: Initial bar inventory costs for wine and food can range from $20,000 to $50,000.
  • Staffing: You’ll need to hire bar staff, managers, and possibly kitchen staff and then cover bartender training. Depending on your staff size and local wage rates, this can cost between $20,000 to $30,000 per month.
  • Operating Costs: These include utilities, insurance, taxes, and ongoing inventory restocking. Plan for $10,000 to $25,000 per month.
  • Marketing and Advertising: Expect to spend 2-5% of your expected gross sales on marketing.

Remember, these are rough estimates, and actual costs can vary significantly. It’s always wise to plan for additional unexpected expenses as you get started.

How to Start a Wine Business from Home

how to start a wine business

Starting a wine business from home can be an enticing idea, especially if you’re looking for a venture that aligns with a work-from-home lifestyle. Here are some things to consider:


  • Lower overhead costs.
  • More flexibility in your work schedule.
  • Possibility to integrate work with family life.


  • Space limitations for storing and shipping wines.
  • Potential zoning restrictions or HOA rules.
  • Maintaining work-life balance in a home business environment.


  • Consider starting an online business where you source and ship wines directly to consumers.
  • Become a wine consultant or educator, offering virtual classes or advice.
  • Establish a wine club or subscription service where members receive hand-picked selections each month.

Remember, while starting a wine business from home has its advantages, it’s not without its challenges. Be prepared to navigate logistics and balance personal and professional life in the same space.

How to Start a Wine Business without a Winery

how to start a wine business

While owning a winery is one way to get into the wine industry, it’s certainly not the only path. There are several business models that don’t require vineyard ownership:

  • Wine Bar: Create a social hub where customers can try a variety of wines. Pairing with small plates or appetizers can enhance the customer experience.
  • Wine Retail Store: Curate a selection of wines from various producers to sell in a retail setting. Specialize in a particular style or region to differentiate your store.
  • Online Wine Business: Capitalize on the digital marketplace by selling wines online. This can involve drop shipping or holding your own inventory.
  • Wine Club or Subscription Service: Offer customers the convenience and excitement of new wines delivered to their door each month.
  • Wine Consultancy: Share your expertise with restaurants, businesses, or private clients looking to enhance their wine selections or knowledge.
  • Wine Education or Tasting Events: Offer classes or host tasting events to educate others about wine or various wine and bar terminology. This could be done in person or online.

Each of these models offers a unique way to share your passion for wine without the hefty investment of a winery. Remember, the key to success in any of these ventures is a deep knowledge of wine and a genuine desire to share it with others.

how to start a wine business

FAQs: How to Start a Wine Business

How profitable is owning a winery.

Owning a winery can be profitable, but it often requires a significant upfront investment and several years to turn a profit. Factors affecting profitability include the cost of land, production costs, marketing, pricing strategies, and the quality and popularity of your wines.

How do I start my own wine brand?

Starting your own wine brand involves identifying a unique selling point or niche, sourcing high-quality grapes or wines, ensuring all legal and regulatory requirements are met, creating an appealing brand and label design, and developing effective marketing and distribution strategies.

Is owning a wine business profitable?

Yes, owning wine companies can be profitable, but it depends on several factors including the type of business (winery, wine bar, online store, etc.), location, business model, and how effectively you can market and sell your products or services. There are also bar franchise models that come with extra expenses but may help increase profitability over the long term.

Is it hard to start your own wine business?

Starting a wine business can be challenging due to the initial investment, regulatory requirements, market competition, and the need for in-depth knowledge of wine and the industry. However, with careful planning, a strong business model, and a passion for wine, it can also be a rewarding venture.

What is wine list menu?

A wine list menu is a curated selection of wines that a business offers to its customers. It typically includes details like the name, grape variety, region, vintage, tasting notes, and price for each wine. It may be categorized by wine type, region, or other factors.

What are common wines for dinner?

Common wines for dinner often depend on the meal being served. For example, white wines like Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay often pair well with chicken and fish dishes, while red wines like Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon are typically served with red meat or hearty pasta dishes.

Do wine bars make money?

Yes, wine bars can be profitable. However, their success depends on factors like location, overhead costs, the quality and pricing of their wine selection, the appeal of their venue, and their reputation among customers. Factor in various expenses, from your bar manager salary to inventory.

What are the major challenges in the wine industry?

Major challenges in the wine trade include dealing with regulatory requirements, managing the impact of climate change on grape growing, staying competitive in a crowded market, adapting to changing consumer tastes and trends, and effectively marketing and distributing wines.

What skills do I need to start a wine business?

Starting a wine business requires a combination of skills, including a deep understanding of wine, business acumen, marketing and sales expertise, financial management, and, depending on the type of business, possibly hospitality or e-commerce skills.

How long does it take to start a wine business?

The timeline for starting a wine business can vary widely. Opening a wine shop or bar may take several months while starting a winery from scratch can take several years due to the time required to plant vines and produce the first bottles of wine.

What are some successful marketing strategies for wine brands?

Successful marketing strategies for wine brands include telling a compelling brand story, leveraging social media, hosting wine tastings and events, partnering with restaurants or other businesses, offering wine clubs or subscription services, and focusing on SEO for online businesses.

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small wine bar business plan


Wine Bar Business Plan [Sample Template]

By: Author Tony Martins Ajaero

Home » Business ideas » Food Industry » Wine Business ideas » Wine Bar

Wine Bar Business

Are you about starting a wine bar business? If YES, here is a complete sample wine bar business plan template & feasibility study you can use for FREE .

Wine is one universal thing that is being consumed all over the world.  A lot of people are beginning to be involved in the production of wine. There are different types of wines- from the alcoholic to the nonalcoholic. The truth remains that the consumption of wine isn’t going to plummet ever.

This is because of the age long tradition of wine. If you do not want to go into the wine bar business for anything, then you should because it is an age old tradition.

A Sample Wine Bar Business Plan Template

1. industry overview.

A wine bar is a bar or small restaurant where wine is the main drink available; a characteristic feature of many standard wine bars is a wide selection of assorted wines available by the glass. Some wine bars are profiled on wines of a certain type of origin, such as Italian wine or Champagne.

In the united states of America just like in any part of the world, bar and nightclub industry is indeed a very lucrative industry. In the United States alone, statistics has it that the bar and night club industry generate a whooping sum of $20 billion in revenue annually from about 45,000 established and recognized bars and night clubs in the US.

It is on record that American started producing wines well over 300 years ago. Currently, wine production is undertaken in all 50 states, with the State of California responsible for producing 89 percent of all US wine. The United States is reputed to be the fourth-largest wine producing country in the world after countries like France, Italy, and Spain.

No doubt, The North American continent is home to several native species of grape, such as Vitis labrusca, Vitis riparia, Vitis rotundifolia, and Vitis vulpina. But the wine making industry is based on the cultivation of the European Vitis vinifera, which was introduced by European settlers.

Although people still gather to socialize in bars, just as they have always done in time past, but with factors such as driving while intoxicated and increase in crime rates, the drinking pattern in bar is being affected.

Also, the growing concern as regards health and fitness toward the end of the 20th century was part of what redefined not alcohol consumption in the US. In essence, the rate at which people consumes beers and other drinks both alcoholic and non – alcoholic is what determines the growth of bar and night club industry.

Statistics has it that the Wine Bars industry in the United States of America, is worth $656 million, with an estimated growth rate of 4.1 percent.

There are about 1,151 legally registered and licensed wine bars businesses scattered across the United States of America and they are responsible for employing about 11,504 people. The industry is an open industry hence a low level of market share concentration.

Any entrepreneur who wants to start a wine bar business in the US would definitely be confronted with tough competition out there. The truth is that, you will not only compete with wine bars in your location or city, but you would be competing with every other entertainment options such as night clubs, restaurants, casinos et al where wines are retailed.

For instance, people go to bars to drink and socialize and they tend to get more when they go to night clubs or other entertainment hub. In night clubs, people do not only drink and socialize, but they also dance if they choose to and get entertained.

Lastly, it is important to state that as much as starting a wine bar business can be profitable and rewarding; the success of any new wine bar business in the United States is not automatic. The chances of new wine bars to struggle within the first 6 months of launching can’t be ruled out.

As a matter of fact, it can take between two to five years before most wine bars can recover their initial investment. In order words, just like loads of new businesses, the statistics for wine bars do not favor the startups, you just have to have a long term investment plan if you intend starting your bar business.

2. Executive Summary

Our business is called Crespo and Tina® Wine Bar, and it  is a neighborhood wine bar that will be located in downtown Los Angeles; at 300 S. Grand Central Parkway in Los Angeles, California. The facility is centrally located and it is close to the popular Market Center and a residential estate in LA.

We are set to make available assorted red wines, white wines, food service and nonalcoholic beverages, beer and liquor, roses and sparkling wines, crafted beers, wines, liquors, distilled spirits, martinis, non-alcoholic drinks, beverages ( Serving wine for immediate consumption, offering wine tasting for patrons, and preparing and serving food for immediate consumption ) to the people in Los Angeles in a conducive environment that is specifically designed for socializing and networking and free from all forms of violence.

Our bar facility is centrally located in a busy street and it has the capacity to accommodate 100 people per time. Crespo and Tina® Wine Bar is designed and constructed to meet both the health and safety standard as recommended by the local authority.

Our customers are going to be treated with good music at all times. We have made provision for live band, karaoke, country side music and jazz et al.  This will be played at the background to create the ambience that our customers will cherish.

We are in business to make profits at the same to give our customers value for their money; we want to give people the opportunity to choose from the wide range of wines and other drinks that are manufactured in the United States of America.

Crespo and Tina® Wine Bar will go all the way to make available in our bar most of the brand of wines produced in the United States of America and in other parts of the world especially in countries like Italy and France.

Our goal is to make every day a day of celebration, networking and socializing for as many people that will patronize our wine bar.

No doubt, we will become the talk of town amongst the socialites in Los Angeles because we have put plans in place to make our wine bar lively 24 hours a day and 7 day a week and highly secured because we want to attract everybody (celebrity and non-celebrity alike).

We will ensure that all our employees are selected from a pool of qualified and customer centric people in and around Los Angeles – California and also from any part of the United States.

We will make sure that we take all the members of our workforce through the required trainings that will position them to meet the expectation of the company and to compete with other players in the United States and throughout the globe.

Crespo and Tina® Wine Bar is owned by Crespo Columbus and his wife Tina Columbus. Crespo Columbus has managed several bars and nightclubs in Los Angeles and Las Vegas prior to opening his own. He has the magic wand to attract people who go to bars on a regular basis.

The business will be managed by his trusted associate for many years, McQueen Osteen who coincidentally was recruited and trained by him 5 years ago in downtown Las Vegas.

3. Our Products and Services

Crespo and Tina® Wine Bar is going to operate a standard wine bar that will make available every product that can be found in a standard bar in the United States. We will ensure that we go all the way to make available assorted wines and drinks in our bar.

These are some of the products that will be found in our bar;

  • Serving wine for immediate consumption
  • Offering wine tasting for patrons
  • Preparing and serving food for immediate consumption
  • Assorted red and white wines such as Kendall-Jackson, Sutter Home, Beringer Vineyards, Franzia Winetaps, Inglenook, Yellow Tail, Copper Ridge, Cavit, Woodbridge, Salmon Creek, Foxhorn Vineyards, Barefoot Cellars, Almaden, Taylor California Cellars, Ecco Domani, Sycamore Lane, La Terre, Stone Cellars, Chateau Ste. and Mezzacorona
  • Beer and liquor
  • Roses and sparkling wines
  • Distilled spirits
  • Small Chops
  • Non – alcoholic beverages

4. Our Mission and Vision Statement

  • Our vision is to establish a standard and secured wine bar Los Angeles, CA that will be the melting pot of all lovers of wine, alcoholic and non – alcoholic drinks.
  • Our mission is to establish a wine bar business that will make available all the brands of wine, alcoholic and no – alcoholic drinks in the United States and other parts of the world at every given time to our highly esteemed customers and a place where people can network and socialize.

Our Business Structure

Crespo and Tina® Wine Bar is a business that is established to be a pacesetter when it comes to how standard wine bars should be run in Los Angeles and even in the United States of America.

We have the goal of assembling a team of dedicated workforce who will give our customers excellent customer service at all times, a team that will ensure that we will continue to have repeated customers and a team that will indeed make us the melting pot for beer lovers and socialites in Los Angeles.

In view of the above, we have been able to follow suits on what is obtainable in standard wine bars in the US and perhaps improve on the structure with time when the need arises. We will work hard to ensure that we only attract people with the right mindset to help us achieve our business goals and objectives in record time.

Below is the business structure that we will build Crespo and Tina® Wine Bar;

  • Chief Executive Officer (Owner)
  • Bar Manager
  • Bartender / Baristas
  • Accountants / Cashiers
  • Procurement Officer

Greeters / Customer Service Agent / Table Attendant

Security Officers

5. Job Roles and Responsibilities

Chief Executive Officer – CEO:

  • Increases management’s effectiveness by recruiting, selecting, orienting, training, coaching, counseling, and disciplining managers; communicating values, strategies, and objectives; assigning accountabilities; planning, monitoring, and appraising job results; developing incentives; developing a climate for offering information and opinions; providing educational opportunities.
  • Responsible for providing direction for the business
  • Creates, communicates, and implements the organization’s vision, mission, and overall direction – i.e. leading the development and implementation of the overall organization’s strategy
  • Defines job positions for recruitment and managing interviewing process
  • Carries out staff induction for new team members
  • Responsible for training, evaluation and assessment of employees
  • Designs job descriptions with KPI to drive performance management for clients
  • Responsible for signing checks and documents on behalf of the company
  • Evaluates the success of the organization

Bar Manager:

  • Responsible for managing the daily activities in the wine bar
  • Ensures that the facility is in tip top shape and conducive enough to welcome customers
  • Interfaces with vendors
  • Reports to the Chief Executive Officer
  • Attends to Customers complains and enquiries
  • Prepares budget and reports for the organization
  • Responsible for Training and Development in the organization
  • Responsible for procuring of raw materials and equipment
  • Handles any other duty as assigned by the CEO

Bartender / Baristas:

  • Interacts with customers, takes orders for drinks and snacks.
  • Plans and present bar menu.
  • Checks identification of the guest to make sure they meet age requirements for purchase of alcohol and tobacco products.
  • Mixes ingredients to prepare cocktails and other drinks.
  • Mixes drinks, cocktails and other bar beverages as ordered and in compliance with hotel standard drink recipes.
  • Prepares alcohol or non-alcohol beverages.
  • Services Wine and Beer to guests.
  • Arranges bottles and glasses to make attractive displays .
  • Assesses customers’ needs and preferences and make recommendations
  • Makes lists of supplies in conjunction with the bar manager / management
  • Prepares inventory or purchase requisitions as needed to replenish supplies.
  • Ensures that the assigned bar area is fully equipped with tools and products needed for Mixing beverages and serving guests.

Accountant / Cashier:

  • Responsible for preparing financial reports, budgets, and financial statements for the organization
  • Provides managements with financial analyses, development budgets, and accounting reports; analyzes financial feasibility for the most complex proposed projects; conducts market research to forecast trends and business conditions.
  • Responsible for financial forecasting and risks analysis.
  • Performs cash management, general ledger accounting, and financial reporting for one or more properties.
  • Responsible for developing and managing financial systems and policies
  • Responsible for administering payrolls
  • Ensures compliance with taxation legislation
  • Handles all financial transactions for the company
  • Serves as internal auditor for the company

Disc Jockey (DJ)

  • Ensures that customers are entertained with the best of music per time
  • Manage the sound system for the bar
  • In charge of music collections
  • Provides music at events.
  • Responsible for developing music playlists.
  • Interacts with public at parties.
  • Responsible for mixing music tracks.
  • Opens doors and welcomes customers
  • Ensures that customers feel relaxed and at home
  • Handle customers enquiries
  • Ability to Sell or influence others for up selling and suggestive selling.
  • Provides recommendations and suggestions to guest for choosing Drinks and Snacks.
  • Serves customers in a friendly and helpful manner.
  • Provides guidance to guests on resort activities, dining options and general resort and Regional information.
  • Determine when a customer has had too much alcohol and if required refusing any further serving on a polite way.
  • Demonstrates a thorough knowledge of food and beverage products, menus and Promotions
  • Handles any other duty as assigned by the bar manager
  • Handles and move objects, such as glasses and bottles, using hands and arms.
  • Cleans up after customers and clean work area.
  • Clears ashtrays as and when required.
  • Washes glassware and utensils after each use.
  • Maintains a clean working area by sweeping, vacuuming, dusting, cleaning of glass doors and windows, etc. if required.
  • Ensures that toiletries and supplies don’t run out of stock
  • Handles any other duty as assigned by the bar manager.
  • Ensures that the facility is secured at all time
  • Controls traffic and organize parking
  • Gives security tips to staff members from time to time
  • Patrols around the building on a 24 hours basis
  • Submits security reports weekly
  • Any other duty as assigned by the restaurant manager

6. SWOT Analysis

Crespo and Tina® Wine Bar is established with the aim of becoming the melting point for socialites and lovers of wines in Los Angles which is why we have taken our time to critically analyze and conduct SWOT analysis to be able to identify areas we need to work on if indeed we want to achieve our business goal.

No investor would want to invest his or hard earned money without assessing the risks involved in the venture and also his or her capability to deliver and make profits from the business. The ability to make profits from any business and to favorably compete with competitors in the industry starts with the result you get from your SWOT analysis.

In view of that, Crespo and Tina® Wine Bar hired a business and HR specialist to help conduct SWOT analysis for the business and below is a summary of the result that was generated;

Our strength as a company is excellence and detailed customer service. Wide range of assorted wine both from the United States and other parts of the world, beverages, tobaccos and food. Excellent facility, excellent ambience and perfect location for a bar in metropolitan city like Los Angeles.

Our perceived weakness could be that we are new business, and we may not have the financial muscle to sustain the kind of publicity we want to give our business.

  • Opportunities:

There are unlimited business opportunities available to wine bar businesses in busy cities like Los Angeles; Los Angeles is one of the cities in the world where social life is at its peak. Another opportunity that we stand to leverage on is the fact that we can easily order any brand of wine and drinks directly from the manufacturer with little or no stress.

Just like any other business, one of the major threats that we are likely going to face is economic downturn. It is a fact that economic downturn affects purchasing / spending power. Another threat that may likely confront us is the arrival of a new wine bar or even a night club or restaurant in same location where our target market exist and who may want to adopt same Business model like us.


  • Market Trends

In recent time, the societal shift away from alcoholic drinks toward healthier lifestyles is to a larger extent contributing to a steady decline in the amount of household spending allocated to trips to bars and nightclubs plus the fact that nobody wants to be caught driving while drunk

The recent market trend in the bar industry is such that the increase in the number of consumers choosing packaged beverages for home consumption rather than at bars or nightclubs is also on the increase. This trend is surely going to have lasting impacts on both the bar business and nightclub business alike. Even though the trend of wine bars in the United States was not well received in the 1980s, they began to gain popularity in the 90s.

In the early part of the millennium, wine bars became very popular and started popping up in many metropolitan neighborhoods across major cities in the United States of America. Wine bars now compete with the local hangouts such as coffee shops and local bars. The wine bar sensation offers the taste before you buy philosophy.

No doubt, wine bars put a new spin on wine tasting. They seek to remove the association of wine with high – end clientele and overwhelming wine lists and replace it with a more casual and relaxing atmosphere. Many of these wine bars are furnished with nooks and cozy booths encased in rich colors and plush surroundings in hopes their guests will linger.

Wine bars look to embrace the intellectual stimulation linked to wine and offer an alternative to the bar scene. The phlegmatic environment lends itself to a good socializing setting with a less crowded feel and more intimate appeal.

In recent time, wine bars have begun to incorporate a larger variety of food choices as part of their product offerings. Traditionally associated with cheeses and desserts, wine bars are looking to combine wine with appetizer-sized gourmet selections to increase the enjoyment their customers stands to gain when they patronize them.

The concept brings the tastes of fancy restaurants to a dressed-down setting. So also, it is now common to find restaurant owners and chefs take the opposite approach and use wine bars as an opportunity for expansion.

8. Our Target Market

Before starting our wine bar business in Los Angeles – California, we conducted a market survey and feasibility studies and we are certain that there is a wide range of people who would patronize our bar on a regular basis. In view of that, we have created strategies that will enable us reach out to various group of people who are likely going to become our loyal customer. Below are our target market;

  • Corporate Executives
  • Politicians
  • Celebrities
  • Taxi Drivers
  • Business People
  • Sports Men and Women
  • Government Officials
  • College Students

Our Competitive Advantage

We are mindful of the fact that there are stiffer competition in the wines bars and nightclub industry in the United States of America; hence we have been able to hire some of the best business developer to handle our sales and marketing.

Part of what is going to be our selling point in Los Angeles is the fact that we operate a standard wine bar, in a perfect location for the kind of business that we run and also the fact that bar facility is highly secured. Another factor that will give Crespo and Tina® Wine Bar competitive edge is that we have enough packing space to accommodate the numbers of customers our bar can contain per time.

We are not ruling out the fact that we have a dedicated and customer centric workforce that are willing to go the extra mile to give our customers full value for their money and time whenever the patronize our wine bar

We are not ignoring the fact that we are among the few neighborhood wine bars in downtown Los Angeles that sells almost all the brands of wines available in the United States of America, crafted beers, distilled spirits, liquors et al and obviously, that will surely count towards our advantage in the market place and also the robust experience of our CEO and the bar manager is also a positive for Crespo and Tina® Wine Bar.

Lastly, our employees will be well taken care of, and their welfare package will be among the best within our category ( startups wine bars and night club businesses ) in the industry meaning that they will be more than willing to build the business with us and help deliver our set goals and achieve all our aims and objectives.


  • Sources of Income

Crespo and Tina® Wine Bar is established with the aim of maximizing profits in the wine bar and night club industry and we are going to go all the way to ensure that we do all it takes to attract our target market. The sources of income for Crespo and Tina® Wine Bar are stated below;

  • Sale of assorted red and white wines such as Kendall-Jackson, Sutter Home, Beringer Vineyards, Franzia Winetaps, Inglenook, Yellow Tail, Copper Ridge, Cavit, Woodbridge, Salmon Creek, Foxhorn Vineyards, Barefoot Cellars, Almaden, Taylor California Cellars, Ecco Domani, Sycamore Lane, La Terre, Stone Cellars, Chateau Ste. and Mezzacorona
  • Sale of beer and liquor
  • Sale of Roses and sparkling wines
  • Sale of Distilled spirits
  • Sale of Martinis
  • Sale of Small Chops
  • Sale of Non – alcoholic beverages
  • Sale of Tobacco

10. Sales Forecast

One thing is certain when it comes to wine bars, if your wine bar is well stocked and centrally positioned, you will always attract customers cum sales and that will sure translate to increase in revenue generation for the business.

We are well positioned to take on the available market in Los Angeles California and we are quite optimistic that we will meet our set target of generating enough income / profits from the first six month of operations and grow the business and our clientele base.

We have been able to critically examine the wine bar market and we have analyzed our chances in the industry and we have been able to come up with the following sales forecast. The sales projection is based on information gathered on the field and some assumptions that are peculiar to startups in Los Angeles – CA.

Below is the sales projection for Crespo and Tina® Wine Bar, it is based on the location of our business and other factors as it relates to wine bars start – ups in the United States;

  • First Fiscal Year-: $250,000
  • Second Fiscal Year-: $500,000
  • Third Fiscal Year-: $900,000

N.B : This projection is done based on what is obtainable in the industry and with the assumption that there won’t be any major economic meltdown and there won’t be any major competitor offering same products and customer care services as we do within same location. Please note that the above projection might be lower and at the same time it might be higher.

  • Marketing Strategy and Sales Strategy

Top of the list on our marketing and sale strategy document is generating a buzz for our wine bar via word-of-mouth and leveraging on road show. The model of wine bar we intend running is a neighborhood bar hence we are not going to rely only on the conventional ways of marketing.

We don’t have the plans to run paid adverts on Local TV stations, local radio stations or even local newspaper but we will sure maximize every other available means to promote our business. Our unique selling proposition is that we have a collection of almost all the brand of wine produced in America in our bar, we have assorted drinks and tobaccos et al.

In view of that, we are going to adopt the following marketing strategies to ensure that we do not only attract customers but generate repeated sales from them; Part of the marketing and sales strategies that we will adopt are;

  • Open our wine bar in a grand style with a party for all.
  • Introduce our wine bar by sending introductory letters alongside our brochure to organizations, households and key stake holders in Los Angeles – California
  • Ensure that we have a wide range of wines, beers, liquors, distilled spirits, martinis and non-alcoholic drinks at all times.
  • Make use of attractive hand bills to create awareness and also to give direction to our bar
  • Position our signage / flexi banners at strategic places
  • Position our greeters to welcome and direct potential customers
  • Create a loyalty plan that will enable us reward our regular customers
  • Engage on road shows within our neighborhood to create awareness for our bar.

11. Publicity and Advertising Strategy

Crespo and Tina® Wine Bar is a neighborhood bar and we will ensure that we create the buzz that will make people in our area know about us and what we do. We are quite aware that one of the effective ways of promoting our bar is to create special internal promotions which in turn will help us achieve our aim of leveraging on word of mouth publicity.

Here are the platforms we intend leveraging on to promote and advertise Crespo and Tina® Wine Bar;

  • Encourage the use of word of mouth publicity from our loyal customers
  • Leverage on the internet and social media platforms like; YouTube, Instagram, Facebook ,Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat,  Badoo, Google+  and other platforms (music online forums) to promote our business.
  • Ensure that our we position our banners and billboards in strategic positions all around Los Angeles – CA
  • Distribute our fliers and handbills in target areas in and around our neighborhood
  • Contact corporate organizations, households, landlord associations and political parties by calling them up and informing them of Crespo and Tina® Wine Bar and the products we sell
  • Advertise our wine bar business in our official website and employ strategies that will help us pull traffic to the site
  • Brand all our official cars and vans and ensure that all our staff members and management staff wears our branded shirt or cap at regular intervals.

12. Our Pricing Strategy

The prices of  our Wines, Beers, Locally Crafted Beers, Wines, Distilled spirits, Liquor, Martinis, Small chops, Non – alcoholic beverages, and Tobacco will be what is obtainable in the market. In fact we will try as much as we can to sell below the industry’s average so as to attract loads of customers. We also have plans in place to discount our products once in a while and also to reward our loyal customers.

  • Payment Options

Our payment policy is all inclusive because we are quite aware that different people prefer different payment options as it suits them. Here are the payment options that will be available in every of our pub;

  • Payment by cash
  • Payment via Point of Sale (POS) Machine
  • Payment via online bank transfer (online payment portal)
  • Payment via Mobile money

In view of the above, we have chosen banking platforms that will help us achieve our payment plans without any difficulty.

13. Startup Expenditure (Budget)

In setting up any business, the amount or cost will depend on the approach and scale you want to undertake. If you intend to go big by renting a place, then you would need a good amount of capital as you would need to ensure that your employees are well taken care of, and that your facility is conducive enough for workers to be creative and productive.

This means that the start-up can either be low or high depending on your goals, vision and aspirations for your business. The tools and equipment that will be used are nearly the same cost everywhere, and any difference in prices would be minimal and can be overlooked.

As for the detailed cost analysis for starting a wine bar business; it might differ in other countries due to the value of their money. This is what it would cost us to start Crespo and Tina® Wine Bar in the United of America;

  • The Total Fee for Registering the Business in Los Angeles, CA – $750.
  • Legal expenses for obtaining licenses and permits as well as the accounting services totaling – $1,200.
  • Marketing promotion expenses (2,000 flyers at $0.04 per copy) for the total amount of $3,580.
  • Cost for hiring Consultant – $2,500.
  • Insurance (general liability, workers’ compensation and property casualty) coverage at a total premium – $2,400.
  • Cost of accounting software, CRM software and Payroll Software – $15,000
  • Cost for payment of rent for 12 month at $1.76 per square feet in the total amount of – $105,600.
  • Cost for facility remodeling – $25,000.
  • Other start-up expenses including stationery – $500
  • Phone and utility deposits – ($2,500)
  • Operational cost for the first 3 months (salaries of employees, payments of bills et al) – $60,000
  • The cost for Start-up inventory – $16,027
  • Storage hardware (bins, utensil rack, shelves, glasses case) – $3,720
  • The cost for counter area equipment (counter top, sink, ice machine, etc.) – $9,500
  • Cost for serving area equipment ( glasses, flatware) – $3,000
  • Cost for store equipment ( cash register , security, ventilation, signage) – $13,750
  • Office equipment and furniture – $3,600
  • The cost for the purchase of furniture and gadgets (Computers, Printers, Telephone, TVs, Sound System, tables and chairs et al) – $4,000.
  • The cost of Launching a Website – $600
  • The cost for our grand opening party – $5,000
  • Miscellaneous – $2,500

We would need an estimate of $500,000 to successfully launch our wine bar in downtown Los Angeles, CA. This amount includes the salary of all employees and the CEO (Owner) for 3 months.

Generating Funding / Startup Capital for Crespo and Tina® Wine Bar

Crespo and Tina® Wine Bar is a private business that is owned by Mr. Crespo Columbus and his wife Mrs. Tina Columbus and they intend to finance the business alone. Although they have plans to make the bar manager part owner of the business after 5 or 7 years of services, but that does not stop him from reserving well over 80 percent stake of the business for himself and his family.

Since they are the sole financier of the business, they have decided to adopt the following means to generate start – up capital for the business;

  • Generate part of the start – up capital from his personal savings and sale of his stocks
  • Source for soft loans from family members and friends
  • Apply for loan from my Banks

N.B: Mr. Crespo Columbus and his wife have been able to generate $250,000 the breakdown shows that they generated $150,000 from their personal savings and sale of their stocks and they generated $100, 000 soft loans from their family members and friends. The balance of $250,000 will be generated as loan facility from his bank.

14. Sustainability and Expansion Strategy

The future of a business lies in the numbers of loyal customers that they have the capacity and competence of the employees, their investment strategy and the business structure. If all of these factors are missing from a business (company), then it won’t be too long before the business close shop.

One of our major goals of starting Crespo and Tina® Wine Bar is to build a business that will survive off its own cash flow without the need for injecting finance from external sources once the business is officially running. We know that one of the ways of gaining approval and winning customers over is to properly position our wine bar, ensure adequate security, availability of various brand of wines and excellent customer service et al.

Crespo and Tina® Wine Bar will make sure that the right foundation, structures and processes are put in place to ensure that our staff welfare are well taken of. Our company’s corporate culture is designed to drive our business to greater heights and training and re – training of our workforce is at the top burner.

As a matter of fact, profit-sharing arrangement will be made available to all our management staff and it will be based on their performance for a period of three years or more. We know that if that is put in place, we will be able to successfully hire and retain the best hands we can get in the industry; they will be more committed to help us build the business of our dreams.

Check List / Milestone

  • Business Name Availability Check:>Completed
  • Business Registration: Completed
  • Opening of Corporate Bank Accounts: Completed
  • Securing Point of Sales (POS) Machines: Completed
  • Opening Mobile Money Accounts: Completed
  • Opening Online Payment Platforms: Completed
  • Application and Obtaining Tax Payer’s ID: In Progress
  • Application for business license and permit: Completed
  • Purchase of Insurance for the Business: Completed
  • Renting of facility and remodeling the facility: In Progress
  • Conducting Feasibility Studies: Completed
  • Generating capital from family members: Completed
  • Applications for Loan from the bank: In Progress
  • Writing of Business Plan: Completed
  • Drafting of Employee’s Handbook: Completed
  • Drafting of Contract Documents and other relevant Legal Documents: In Progress
  • Design of The Company’s Logo: Completed
  • Graphic Designs and Printing of Packaging Marketing / Promotional Materials: In Progress
  • Recruitment of employees: In Progress
  • Purchase of the Needed furniture, electronic appliances, office appliances and bar accessories: In Progress
  • Creating Official Website for the Company: Completed
  • Creating Awareness for the business both online and in the neighborhood: In Progress
  • Health and Safety and Fire Safety Arrangement (License): Secured
  • Opening party / launching party planning: In Progress
  • Establishing business relationship with vendors – suppliers of all our needed wine, alcoholic and non – alcoholic drinks, tobacco and small chops: In Progress

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How to Write a Business Plan for a Wine Bar

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  • Business Planning & Strategy
  • Write a Business Plan
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Key Success Factors When Opening a Wine Bar

How to make a restaurant concept statement, adding a division to a business.

  • How to Write a Business Plan for Indoor Party Centers
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However glamorous the thought of opening a wine bar may seem, you have a long road ahead of you if you want to operate a thriving business. Because you are dealing with a specialty bar that emphasizes a particular product, namely wine, you will have to develop a thorough grasp of your niche. Your patrons will expect this. That is where your business plan comes in: not only can it help you secure funding, but it will help you define your concept. Without a solid plan, your elegant wine bar might end up turning into a "regular" bar or pub.

Preface the plan with an executive summary, which can include a pithy mission statement summarizing your goals as a wine entrepreneur and your business philosophy. State who the business participants are and any relevant background experience in the food or hospitality industries that would facilitate opening a wine bar. Specify the amount of any funding you may be asking for if you are addressing potential investors. If you are seeking a loan, include how you intend to repay the lender.

Discuss the legal entity you have chosen for your wine bar. State the reasoning behind being a sole proprietor, corporation or other entity. Use this or a separate management section to describe the organizational structure, key players and any board of directors overseeing the wine bar. Include the documents that verify your status.

Describe the wine bar in detail: its location and strategic proximity to any cultural or business landmarks; the layout and decor; wine offerings and any food accompaniments; managerial staff; and work staff. Identify your target clientele. Highlight your main product -- wine -- by providing sample menus organized by wine varietal, country, etc. Discuss whether the wines will be served by the glass, bottle, or small tasting groups. Emphasize the level of wine knowledge and training that your staff will be expected to have. Give a verbal tour through the eyes of a customer who might enter your establishment, noting features such as the romantic cellar-like atmosphere, the high ceilings, and any music or entertainment you will provide.

Show investors that you are prepared for emergencies. State how you will protect your business with the insurance and security policies you will implement, such as the procedures you will follow in the case of overly intoxicated customers.

Make provision for an existing or pending liquor license. Note whether you are taking over a previous owner's license, as well as your timetable for acquiring a new one.

Market Analysis

Show that you are current with the wine bar industry by noting challenges and trends. Pinpoint who your nearest competitors are and how your bar will provide something they cannot, be it outdoor options, sustainably sourced food or wines, or eclectic cuisine emphasis.

Detail the marketing campaigns you will use to get the public aware of your new venture. Indicate how you will become involved in community or charity events, or perhaps serve as an incubator of talent by sponsoring art exhibits of local artists. Show how you will provide educational incentives to people by offering wine appreciation classes. Give examples of the promotions you will offer, such as wine tasting specials on less busy nights during the week. Comment on your pricing structure and any gross margin targets you wish to achieve.

Note your market entry strategy. Designate your opening day and the schedule you will follow to meet deadlines.

Furnish the following documents related to the financial feasibility of the wine bar: historical (if available) and/or projected capital expenditure budget; cash flow statement; break-even analysis; three-year income projections; and a balance sheet. State any funds you may still require.

Request funds in a more formal separate section. State the type and the amount of the funding you need now and in the future. Make note of any foreseeable financial transactions that might impact an investment decision.

Include supplemental information such as leases, licenses and permits, contracts or market research studies in the business plan appendix.

  • Funding Universe: Bistro and Wine Bar Business Plan
  • Entrepreneur: How to Start a Bar/Club
  • Make sure that your financial projections and figures are in line with the amounts you are requesting. Investors want to see that the amount of funding asked for is justified. If there are discrepancies in your estimates, this could hamper your case.
  • When putting together your concept for a wine bar, avoid going so far afield that you end up with a wine bar that doesn't make sense. For instance, if you choose to play loud music in conjunction with live broadcasts of sporting events, you will send mixed messages. Stay true to your concept, even though that might limit your client base at first.

Timothea Xi has been writing business and finance articles since 2013. She has worked as an alternative investment adviser in Miami, specializing in managed futures. Xi has also worked as a stockbroker in New York City.

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A2 Wine Bar

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Photo of A2 Wine Bar - San Mateo, CA, US. Love the wine glasses

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An aesthetic new wine bar in downtown San Mateo. From the moment you enter, you're warmly welcomed by the two owners. I really appreciated the aesthetics, the seating arrangements, live music, and ambiance of this place. They chose a neutral decor with plants and art pieces throughout. The wine selection may be smaller than other wine bars, however everything was well curated. They gave generous pours and were very thorough on educating us on the wines we chose. I'm a club member at multiple wineries in Napa, and I was even impressed with their selection. They also have charcuterie boards made to order. Excited to try those next time we visit. Hours now are 5-10PM and I was told they are considering outdoor seating when it's warmer. They also have a private room that they plan on renting out for events!

small wine bar business plan

See all photos from Kimberly N. for A2 Wine Bar

Photo of Tanner W.

Popped into A2, a new San Mateo wine bar that is in its soft opening. The space is nicely renovated and centrally located on B Street, next to Philz and across from Kajiken. It used to be a flooring company. We were the only ones there on a Thursday evening, so they really took care of us. Menu is still in progress -- they have a selection of wines (still in flux) and snack/charcuterie boards. Great addition downtown! Hopefully they have an official website or social media presence soon for hours, menus, etc.

small wine bar business plan

My friend suggested we check out the soft opening of this wine bar, A2. We were the first to arrive in a rainy night so we got VIP treatment! There was an organic wine that I enjoyed (a bit too much). The wine bar also has a private room that can be rented for events or karaoke The owners are so nice and shared that it had taken 9 months of renovation and waiting for the city to let them open. They even brought in consultants to make sure everything from the wine to operations is on point. It's hard to run a small business these days so I'm rooting for them! #winebar #femaleowned

Photo of Mancy Y.

As a wine lover and artist. I'm very glad there's a new wine lounge they provide not just good wine but also friendly service. We opened private event there with good price. Owner also invited us to theirs local artist painting and wine tasting event. That was so great day to meet lots of new friends who also loves art and wine. I strongly recommend this vintage wine lounge! Must go place in Bay Area!

small wine bar business plan

See all photos from Mancy Y. for A2 Wine Bar

Photo of Mark R.

We just went here for the first time. Great selection of wine, friendly fantastic service, fantastic decor. We are looking forward to our next visit. We highly recommend the goat cheese and blueberry jam.

Photo of Diana C.

Good vibes, good company, great wines! Definitely the perfect place to unwind after work.

Photo of Holeva F.

Really enjoyed my visit here with a girlfriend. The staff are very sweet and catering to guests. Coquito is full of knowledge about the details of the different wines we tried and pairing. The ambiance is lovely and the space is very chic. Happy to see this establishment in San Mateo and will definitely be returning.

small wine bar business plan

Great wine bar and addition to downtown San Mateo. Loved the wine selection and the live music on Friday night. Highly recommend!

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No Ordinary Rabbit wine and cocktail bar slated to open in Botanical Heights

5 Star Burgers' Steve Gontram and David Zitko plan to serve an array of Eastern Mediterranean-inspired small plates and shareable dishes at the former Nixta space.

by George Mahe

May 9, 2024


Photo by George Mahe

Steve Gontram, a well-respected local chef and restaurateur, is shifting culinary gears—again. Later this summer, the owner of 5 Star Burgers ( 8125 Maryland ) in Clayton plans to open a wine and cocktail bar in the former Nixta  space, at 1621 Tower Grove in Botanical Heights. The restaurant, No Ordinary Rabbit , will serve a wide array of Eastern Mediterranean-focused small plates and shareable dishes. The restaurant is slated to be open Tuesday through Saturday nights. Here’s what we know so far.

The Concept


Courtesy of No Ordinary Rabbit

The idea of a wine and cocktail bar came to Gontram in a roundabout way. For starters, he thinks the world of longtime 5 Star Burgers general manager David Zitko. “He’s the epitome of grace under fire,” Gontram says, “a steady rudder in a rough sea, just the type of person I’d want to be partners with in anything.”

Zitko, who doubles as bar manager at 5 Star Burgers, is a skilled mixologist. “David has fun with cocktails, he has an incredibly inventive hand, and he gets thematic with his creations,” Gontram explains. “So a few seasons ago, he comes up with this entire Monty Python–themed list, including No Ordinary Rabbit, which was part of a famous line in the movie [ Monty Python and the Holy Grail ]. We thought, What a great name for a bar. Maybe we should do a concept together.”

Knowing that a bar/restaurant combination would cast a wider net, the duo began conceptualizing ideas and scouting locations. When Ben Poremba temporarily closed  his three former Botanical Heights restaurants  (Elaia, Olio, and Nixta) in late December to relocate, the search narrowed. A lease for the former Nixta space was inked in late February.

“We both love Botanical Heights and wanted to endear ourselves to the surrounding neighborhoods,” Gontram says. “And we thought that opening a neighborhood cocktail and wine bar in the middle of the action would be a great way to do that.”

No Ordinary Rabbit will offer a wide array of Eastern Mediterranean-inspired dishes. “Lighter, healthier, sharable food is what appeals to me right now,” Gontram says, “and I don’t see any other local places offering the same variety and depth.”

(Asked why he wouldn’t just extrapolate on the Mexican theme at the erstwhile Nixta, Gontram says he’d already gone that route at Tejas, a higher-end restaurant that he opened 20 years ago in Clayton. “At the time, the public expected a certain [lower] price point for that type of cuisine, and I think that years later, it’s still the case.")

The menu at No Ordinary Rabbit will be broken into several categories, tentatively called "Spreads and Dips," "Cured and Cheese," "Plates," and Sweets." While the specifics are still in development, some of the offerings might include Calabrian chile and honey roasted cashews, roasted sunchokes with crème fraiche and Missouri Hackleback caviar, chicken liver mousse with mostarda di frutta,  fried halloumi cheese with escalivada and grilled Union Loafers bread, and teleggio grilled cheese on pita with Pernod-tomato soup. The "Plates" section may include harissa-marinated calamari with oranges; roast cod shakshuka; and a braised rabbit pot pie with ras el hanout , spinach, and aromatic vegetables. And for dessert, cashew baklava cigars and Meyer lemon cheesecake with lemon cookie crust and ginger lemon curd could make the final cut.

Gontram says he created the food menu but will not be the executive chef. That position has yet to be determined, he notes.

On the beverage front, Gontram says, “Dave’s expertise is cocktails; mine is wine.” Guests can expect “a whimsical but well-thought-out cocktail program, one that complements the Mediterranean menu but doesn’t tie itself to it.”

Zitko says that the cocktail menu at 5 Star is simple and very approachable, while the seasonal lists are a bit more adventurous. "It's a way for us to have some fun and put what we think are delicious drinks in front of people that want to try something new." The same principles will apply at No Ordinary Rabbit, he says, adding that "Steve and I are a great team and are putting together a really fun food and beverage experience that will make people happy they spent some time there."

The smallish wine list of 18 white wines and 25 red wines will be presented “at proper temperature, in proper glassware, and decanted where appropriate,” Gontram says, “whatever it takes to optimize the wine experience.” A handful of beers will be offered in bottles but only a few on draft, due to storage limitations. “To be honest, we’re more interested pouring a red and a white wine on tap, along with lower-alcohol wine cocktails, like spritzes,” Gontram says. 

The style of service will be similar to 5 Star, a full-service model that Gontram describes as expedient and efficient. “We take care of the service staff,” he says, “and they take care of our guests. We have a ton of regulars who have come to know that and expect it.”


The existing space, the former Nixta

The single shotgun-style room seats 65 guests, including the bar, as well as 20 on the front patio. Michelle Krauss, who’s had a hand in the design of all of Gontram’s restaurants (including Harvest, Tejas, and three 5 Star Burger locations), has been tasked with the interior finishes as well.

Gontram envisions the vibe as “eclectic but casual, leaning toward casual elegance,” a look accomplished with booth seating, dramatic lighting, bright colors, and expressive wallpaper.

The Background

Gontram grew up in St. Louis and pursued a career in the foreign service before enrolling in the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. After working in a handful of the Bay Area’s most notable restaurants, he moved back to St. Louis and opened Harvest restaurant along with his father and three other partners.

In 2004, Gontram opened Tejas, a higher-end Mexican restaurant in the former Ramon’s Jalapeno space at the corner of Brentwood and Maryland in Clayton, which he sold to an employee two years later.  

In 2010, Harvest was sold to then-executive chef Nick Miller. Not long after, Gontram surprised his fine-dining fans by opening 5 Star Burgers in Clayton. He added two more units (in Creve Coeur and Kirkwood), which subsequently closed. (“Bottom line and, in short, I chose two bad locations,” Gontram admitted.)

He adds that the flagship 5 Star location is off to its best year yet and that he’s not averse to opening another one, but in the near term he’ll be focusing all of his energy on No Ordinary Rabbit and do what he's already accomplished several times: bringing St. Louis a new restaurant concept.

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small wine bar business plan

Small Business Spotlight: This Wine Store Owner Got Started by Buying an Existing Business

O ften when people think about entrepreneurship, the focus is on starting a new business from scratch. But sometimes the best way to "start" a business is to buy a business. Buying an existing business can be a great way for entrepreneurs to get a foot in the door.

There are a few advantages to buying a small business. Existing businesses tend to have an established brand, customer base, and business model. Ideally the business is already profitable, but new ownership can give it a better direction and a new burst of momentum.

Tim Delaney is the owner of Elma Wine & Liquor, which sells online ( and in-person from its brick-and-mortar location in Elma, New York. Tim is a passionate serial entrepreneur who also owns a software startup, a consulting firm, and a portfolio of real estate.

We interviewed Tim about his experience buying a small business, and why acquiring existing companies could be a great strategy for other entrepreneurs.

Lessons from buying a wine store

Elma Wine & Liquor has been in business for 60 years -- but Tim Delaney didn't start it, he bought it. The store has been under Tim's ownership for the past 10 years, and he's led it into a new era of expansion and growth.

Tim used a combination of bank financing and seller financing to buy the business. That's something that a lot of would-be small business buyers should keep in mind: you don't always have to pay cash or get a bank loan or Small Business Administration (SBA) loan to buy a business. There are often flexible options to finance the deal, and former owners can assist you with financing.

Business owners often get to a point where they want to retire, and selling their business is their best chance to cash in on their life's work. Seller financing can be a win-win because it helps the business buyer complete the acquisition and change ownership, and the business seller gets a stream of income from the buyer's future loan payments.

A successful small business , just like a nice house in a great location, is a valuable asset -- and seller financing lets you borrow against that value. Even if you can't get an SBA loan (which can be hard to get for acquiring businesses), if you have some capital of your own to invest, and you can work with the seller to find some financing options, there are various ways to make the deal happen.

How buying a small business created big financial success

By purchasing an existing business with the help of bank and seller financing, Tim Delaney was able to turn a relatively small investment of his own cash into a much larger success story. "I made an investment of $35,000 ten years ago and now I own a cash flowing asset worth over a million dollars," Tim Delaney said. "The first couple years involved long hours and lots of sacrifice of personal time. But I think there is so much untapped potential in the idea of buying a small business, and I am a huge advocate for people to look into buying an existing business."

Buying a small business can be like buying a house that gradually pays for itself. You need to take out a "mortgage" (bank loan/seller financing loan), but then the business creates its own "mortgage payments" (business income). If you have a solid business plan, you might even find that buying an existing small business can help you achieve big profits and growth even faster than if you had built a business from scratch.

In some ways, buying an existing business can be less risky than starting your own -- and can still deliver significant return on investment. Tim saw this happen for Elma Wine & Liquor after he bought the business. He made the company grow in value, while using the profits to pay down the debt from the purchase agreement. Over time, increasing the business's value and reducing debt has led to increased equity, and a higher net worth for Tim.

Small business ownership: Building wealth, creating opportunities, serving the community

Tim Delaney is a longtime entrepreneur who always wanted to be his own boss. But he has also found a great sense of purpose in seeing how his small business serves his community and creates career opportunities for his employees .

"Small businesses really are the drivers and heartbeat of our communities," Tim Delaney said. "Personally I have learned the importance of treating every customer and employee with respect. Over the years of growing the business and building systems to help run it, I've been able to provide even more lucrative management jobs to my staff."

Brick-and-mortar retailers often become their own little hubs of community activity. Elma Wine & Liquor serves that role for the town of Elma, New York, bringing people the joy of a well-chosen bottle of wine. "We strive to provide top notch customer service and offer a mix of tried and true big brands while introducing our customers to unique and different products from around the world," Tim Delaney said. "One of the funniest things that has happened over the years is people thinking that one of my employees was my mother and another my son."

Tim Delaney's success story with Elma Wine & Liquor is a great example of how you don't always have to start a business to be an entrepreneur. Sometimes the best path is to buy an existing business -- and lead it to a new level of growth.

For more about Tim Delaney, check out his website, -- he is available for speaking engagements and podcast appearances.

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Small Business Spotlight: This Wine Store Owner Got Started by Buying an Existing Business

Winery Mavericks Logo Design

How To Write a Wine Business Plan + Template

Business Plan

Creating a business plan is essential for any business, but it can be especially helpful for wine businesses that want to improve their strategy and/or raise funding.

A well-crafted business plan not only outlines the vision for your company, but also documents a step-by-step roadmap of how you are going to accomplish it. In order to create an effective business plan, you must first understand the components that are essential to its success.

This article provides an overview of the key elements that every wine business owner should include in their business plan.

Download the Ultimate Business Plan Template

What is a Wine Business Plan?

A wine business plan is a formal written document that describes your company’s business strategy and its feasibility. It documents the reasons you will be successful, your areas of competitive advantage, and it includes information about your team members. Your business plan is a key document that will convince investors and lenders (if needed) that you are positioned to become a successful venture.

Why Write a Wine Business Plan?

A wine business plan is required for banks and investors. The document is a clear and concise guide of your business idea and the steps you will take to make it profitable.

Entrepreneurs can also use this as a roadmap when starting their new company or venture, especially if they are inexperienced in starting a business.

Writing an Effective Wine Business Plan

The following are the key components of a successful wine business plan:

Executive Summary

The executive summary of a wine business plan is a one to two page overview of your entire business plan. It should summarize the main points, which will be presented in full in the rest of your business plan.

  • Start with a one-line description of your wine company.
  • Provide a short summary of the key points in each section of your business plan, which includes information about your company’s management team, industry analysis, competitive analysis, and financial forecast among others.

Company Description

This section should include a brief history of your company. Include a short description of how your company started, and provide a timeline of milestones your company has achieved.

If you are just starting your wine business, you may not have a long company history. Instead, you can include information about your professional experience in this industry and how and why you conceived your new venture. If you have worked for a similar company before or have been involved in an entrepreneurial venture before starting your wine firm, mention this.

You will also include information about your chosen wine business model and how, if applicable, it is different from other companies in your industry.

Industry Analysis

The industry or market analysis is an important component of a wine business plan. Conduct thorough market research to determine industry trends and document the size of your market. 

Questions to answer include:

  • What part of the wine industry are you targeting?
  • How big is the market?
  • What trends are happening in the industry right now (and if applicable, how do these trends support the success of your company)?

You should also include sources for the information you provide, such as published research reports and expert opinions.

Customer Analysis

This section should include a list of your target audience(s) with demographic and psychographic profiles (e.g., age, gender, income level, profession, job titles, interests). You will need to provide a profile of each customer segment separately, including their needs and wants.

For example, a wine business’ customers may include restaurants, grocery stores, wine bars, and home consumers.

You can include information about how your customers make the decision to buy from you as well as what keeps them buying from you.

Develop a strategy for targeting those customers who are most likely to buy from you, as well as those that might be influenced to buy your products or wine services with the right marketing.

Competitive Analysis

The competitive analysis helps you determine how your product or service will be different from competitors, and what your unique selling proposition (USP) might be that will set you apart in this industry.

For each competitor, list their strengths and weaknesses. Next, determine your areas of competitive differentiation and/or advantage; that is, in what ways are you different from and ideally better than your competitors.

Below are sample competitive advantages your wine business may have:

  • Passion for wine
  • Extensive industry knowledge
  • Proven business model
  • Strong branding and marketing
  • Robust sales and distribution network

Marketing Plan

This part of the business plan is where you determine and document your marketing plan. . Your plan should be clearly laid out, including the following 4 Ps.

  • Product/Service : Detail your product/service offerings here. Document their features and benefits.
  • Price : Document your pricing strategy here. In addition to stating the prices for your products/services, mention how your pricing compares to your competition.
  • Place : Where will your customers find you? What channels of distribution (e.g., partnerships) will you use to reach them if applicable?
  • Promotion : How will you reach your target customers? For example, you may use social media, write blog posts, create an email marketing campaign, use pay-per-click advertising, or launch a direct mail campaign. Or you may promote your wine business via a public relations campaign.

Operations Plan

This part of your wine business plan should include the following information:

  • How will you deliver your product/service to customers? For example, will you do it in person or over the phone only?
  • What infrastructure, equipment, and resources are needed to operate successfully? How can you meet those requirements within budget constraints?

The operations plan is where you also need to include your company’s business policies. You will want to establish policies related to everything from customer service to pricing, to the overall brand image you are trying to present.

Finally, and most importantly, in your Operations Plan, you will lay out the milestones your company hopes to achieve within the next five years. Create a chart that shows the key milestone(s) you hope to achieve each quarter for the next four quarters, and then each year for the following four years. Examples of milestones for a wine business include reaching $X in sales. Other examples include launching a new service, signing up X number of customers, or hiring key personnel.

Management Team

List your team members here including their names and titles, as well as their expertise and experience relevant to your specific wine industry. Include brief biography sketches for each team member.

Particularly if you are seeking funding, the goal of this section is to convince investors and lenders that your team has the expertise and experience to execute on your plan. If you are missing key team members, document the roles and responsibilities you plan to hire for in the future.

Financial Plan

Here you will include a summary of your complete and detailed financial plan (your full financial projections go in the Appendix). 

This includes the following three financial statements:

Income Statement

Your income statement should include:

  • Revenue : how much revenue you generate.
  • Cost of Goods Sold : These are your direct costs associated with generating revenue. This includes labor costs, as well as the cost of any equipment and supplies used to deliver the product/service offering.
  • Net Income (or loss) : Once expenses and revenue are totaled and deducted from each other, this is the net income or loss.

Sample Income Statement for a Startup Wine Business

Balance sheet.

Include a balance sheet that shows your assets, liabilities, and equity. Your balance sheet should include:

  • Assets : All of the things you own (including cash).
  • Liabilities : This is what you owe against your company’s assets, such as accounts payable or loans.
  • Equity : The worth of your business after all liabilities and assets are totaled and deducted from each other.

Sample Balance Sheet for a Startup Wine Business

Cash flow statement.

Include a cash flow statement showing how much cash comes in, how much cash goes out and a net cash flow for each year. The cash flow statement should include:

  • Cash Flow From Operations
  • Cash Flow From Investments
  • Cash Flow From Financing

Below is a sample of a projected cash flow statement for a startup wine business.

Sample Cash Flow Statement for a Startup Wine Business

You will also want to include an appendix section which will include:

  • Your complete financial projections
  • A complete list of your company’s business policies and procedures related to the rest of the business plan (marketing, operations, etc.)
  • Any other documentation which supports what you included in the body of your business plan

Writing a good business plan gives you the advantage of being fully prepared to launch and/or grow your wine company. It not only outlines your business vision but also provides a step-by-step process of how you are going to accomplish it.

A well-written wine business plan is an essential tool for any entrepreneur looking to start or grow a wine company. Your business plan is your roadmap to success. By following the tips outlined in this article, you will be well on your way to writing a winning business plan for your wine company.  

Finish Your Wine Business Plan in 1 Day!

small wine bar business plan

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9 places to nosh on bagels in southern Maine

From old-school spots to foodie favorites, there's a 'hole' lot to try.

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small wine bar business plan

Bread and bagels at The Works Cafe in downtown Portland. Photo by Aimsel Ponti

From New York-style boiled bagels to Montreal-inspired wood-fired ones, there’s lots of great bagels in southern Maine and several shops have the accolades to back that up.

In 2023, Bon Appetit named bagels from Rose Foods and Rover Bagel among the best in the country.

Two years before that,  Food & Wine Magazine put Rover, Forage and Scratch Baking Co. on its list of best bagels in the U.S.

Whether you like yours toasted with cream cheese or as the bread for your breakfast sandwich, you can find plenty of styles and flavors from Biddeford to Brunswick.


The offerings at Beach Bagels include a French toast and marble bagel, and the cream cheese menu comprises spreads like strawberry, olive and honey walnut. Along with breakfast sandwiches, Beach Bagels has hearty breakfast options like omelets and pancakes. Best of all, you’re steps away from a beach stroll. Just don’t let the seagulls steal your bagel. Advertisement

WHEN: 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily WHERE: 34 Old Orchard St., Old Orchard Beach. ______________

Dutchman’s opened in 2022 as a pop-up housed at Nomad pizza in Brunswick’s Fort Andross building. It’s since become a permanent fixture there and uses the pizzeria’s wood-fired ovens to bake its bagels. The hand-shaped, honey-boiled bagels come in plain, roasted garlic, poppy and a bagel-of-the-day flavor.

WHEN: 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday to Sunday WHERE: Fort Andross, 14 Maine St., Brunswick. ______________


Making bagels at Forage Market involves a two-day aging process. The bagels are naturally leavened with wild yeast starter and baked next to a hardwood fire. There are usually five flavors available, including sesame and garlic. Breakfast sandwiches (including vegan options) are available. Forage also has a location in Lewiston. Advertisement

WHEN: 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday WHERE: 123 Washington Ave., Portland. _____________


There are 10 or so Mister Bagel locations in Maine, including South Portland and Falmouth. It all began with the Portland location, which was the first bagel shop to open in Maine. The late Rick Hartglass started Mister Bagel in 1977, and it is still a family business. Music fans will appreciate the breakfast sandwich menu, which includes The David Bowie (bacon, egg and American cheese), the Jimmy Buffett (egg with roast beef and cheddar) and The Lady Gaga (avocado, salt and pepper, with or without egg).

WHEN: 6:30 a.m. to noon Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to noon Saturday and Sunday WHERE: 599 Forest Ave., Portland. ______________

At Rose Foods, the menu varies depending on the day, but there are usually six to eight flavors available. For example, should you pop in on a Friday, you’ll find a poppy and onion bialy (a cousin of the bagel that is not boiled). Rose Foods also makes a number of bagel sandwiches, including the Classic Nova with Nova lox and the Classic Whitefish. Advertisement

WHEN: 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily WHERE: 428 Forest Ave., Portland.



At Rover Bagel, you’ll find wood-fired plain, poppy, sea salt, sesame and everything bagels available most of the time, and the spread game here is strong with cream cheese options like lemon-thyme-honey cream and chili-garlic.

WHEN: 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, 8 a.m. to noon Sunday WHERE: 10 West Point Lane Suite 10-204, Biddeford (Pepperell Mill).

______________ Advertisement


You haven’t lived until you’ve experienced the line of devoted fans waiting for Scratch Baking Co. to open, especially on weekend mornings. Along with the popular Maine sea salt, plain and other everyday flavors, Scratch has a daily special bagel. There’s honeyed rosemary on Wednesday and jalapeno cheddar on Thursday. Scratch is also famous, at least to locals, for its P-Cheese spread. It’s a pimento cheese recipe made with cheddar, mayo, roasted red peppers and seasoning and was passed down to co-owner and head baker Allison Reid by her grandmother, Mern.

WHEN: 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday to Saturday, 7 a.m. to noon Sunday WHERE: 416 Preble St., South Portland. ___________


The Maine Bagel is a drive-thru with several breakfast and other kinds of sandwiches available. With a bagel list that features egg and bialy among the standards, the family-owned spot is the perfect place to stop on your way to Pine Point Beach. The Maine Bagel really shines with a dozen kinds of cream cheese spreads, including raisin-walnut, lox, strawberry, cranberry-nut and bacon-chive.

WHEN: 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. WHERE: 117 Route 1, Scarborough. Advertisement


The Works Cafe is an institution on the edge of the Portland’s Old Port. It opened in 1990 as Bagel Works before it changed its name in 2002. The original shop in this regional chain opened in Manchester, Vermont, in 1988, and there are 11 locations around New England, though just the one in Maine. Gone are the ’90s-era banana-walnut bagels and cold pizza cream cheese, but The Works Cafe is still a reliable place to grab a salt, multigrain or cinnamon raisin bagel, among others. The menu also has bowls, sandwiches and smoothies.

WHEN: 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily WHERE: 15 Temple St., Portland.

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  1. Bar Business Plan Template

    small wine bar business plan


    small wine bar business plan

  3. Free Wine Bar Business Plan Template Web Use This Free Bar Business

    small wine bar business plan

  4. Comprehensive Wine Bar Business Plan Template Archives

    small wine bar business plan

  5. Small Bar Business Plan Template inside Wine Bar Business Plan Template

    small wine bar business plan

  6. Craft Your Perfect Wine Bar Business Plan with Sample Plans

    small wine bar business plan


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  1. Wine Bar Business Plan Template [Updated 2024]

    Wine Bar Business Plan. Over the past 20+ years, we have helped over 500 entrepreneurs and business owners create business plans to start and grow their wine bars. If you're unfamiliar with creating a wine bar business plan, you may think creating one will be a time-consuming and frustrating process, but it won't be since we're here to help.

  2. Wine Bar Business Plan Template (2024)

    Wine bar space build-out: $100,000. Opening inventory, furniture decorations: $100,000. Three months of overhead expenses (payroll, rent, utilities): $50,000. Marketing costs: $25,000. Working capital: $25,000. The following graph below outlines the pro forma financial projections for A'Vin Garde Wine Bar.

  3. 8-step guide on how to open a wine bar

    7. Write the business plan for a wine bar. Once all of the above steps have been completed, it's time to draft up the business plan to open your wine bar. The business plan is made up of two major components: A financial forecast that aims to highlight the expected profitability of the business and the initial financing requirement.

  4. How To Write A Winning Wine Bar Business Plan + Template

    The executive summary of a wine bar business plan is a one- to two-page overview of your entire business plan. It should summarize the main points, which will be presented in full in the rest of your business plan. Start with a one-line description of your wine bar company. Provide a summary of the key points in each section of your business ...

  5. Executive Summary of a Wine Bar: Template & Example

    Financial Plan. Provide an overview of your financial goals and projections, offering insights into revenue targets, profit margins, and anticipated growth trajectories. Example: The Vintage Vineyard Wine Bar aims for a projected revenue of $760,000 annually, targeting a 13% EBITDA profit margin by 2028.

  6. The Complete Guide To Opening A Wine Bar

    Still, the bottom line price can range anywhere between $1,000 to $10,000 or more depending on the type of business you plan to open (e.g., a wine bar that also serves food). Marketing, Advertising, and Promoting your Business ... For instance, you made love the concept of a lounge-like wine bar with comfortable sofas and small cocktail tables ...

  7. Wine Bar Business Plan PDF Example

    February 28, 2024. Business Plan. Creating a comprehensive business plan is crucial for launching and running a successful wine bar. This plan serves as your roadmap, detailing your vision, operational strategies, and financial plan. It helps establish your wine bar's identity, navigate the competitive market, and secure funding for growth.

  8. Wine Bar Businesses: 11 Factors of Wine Bar Businesses

    Designing your wine bar is all about branding and aesthetics. It includes, branding and marketing, content marketing, email marketing, and small business marketing, Your wine bar design is every facet of your brand. 6. Set Up Wine Bar Inventory. Wine bar inventory includes your wine inventory and everything else.

  9. How to Open a Wine Bar Step-by-Step

    The business structure you choose for your wine bar business will determine the taxes you pay and which state or federal tax forms you need to file. Read our article comparing the most common wine bar business structures. 4. Write a Wine Bar Business Plan. All wine bar owners should develop a business plan. A business plan is a document that ...

  10. Wine Bar Business Plan Template (2024)

    Writing a wine bar business plan is a crucial step toward the success of your business. Here are the key steps to consider when writing a business plan: 1. Executive Summary. An executive summary is the first section planned to offer an overview of the entire business plan. However, it is written after the entire business plan is ready and ...

  11. How to write a business plan for a wine bar?

    The projected P&L statement for a wine bar shows how much revenue and profit your business is expected to make in the future. A healthy wine bar's P&L statement should show: Sales growing at (minimum) or above (better) inflation. Stable (minimum) or expanding (better) profit margins. A healthy level of net profitability.

  12. How to Open a Coffee and Wine Bar

    2. Focus on Your Target Market. Your coffee and wine bar target market will be your ideal customers who will be attracted to your offerings and pricing. The development of your business concept, coffee and wine menu, your messaging, and location choice - will all come from your assessment of your target market.

  13. Wine Shop Business Plan Template [Updated 2024]

    Traditionally, a marketing plan includes the four P's: Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. For a wine shop business plan, your marketing strategy should include the following: Product: In the product section, you should reiterate the type of wine shop company that you documented in your company overview.

  14. Here's how you open a profitable wine bar establishment

    Combines a curated wine list with a menu of small plates and tapas, encouraging a social dining experience. Social diners, food and wine pairings enthusiasts. ... please note that we have a 3-year development plan specifically designed for a wine bar in our business plan template. Successful wine bar owners often possess qualities such as a ...

  15. How to Start a Wine Business: From Grape to Glass

    Licensing and Permits: Depending on your location, expect to spend between $1,000 and $10,000. Stocking the Bar: Initial bar inventory costs for wine and food can range from $20,000 to $50,000. Staffing: You'll need to hire bar staff, managers, and possibly kitchen staff and then cover bartender training.

  16. Wine Bar Business Plan [Sample Template]

    A Sample Wine Bar Business Plan Template 1. Industry Overview. A wine bar is a bar or small restaurant where wine is the main drink available; a characteristic feature of many standard wine bars is a wide selection of assorted wines available by the glass.

  17. How to Write a Business Plan for a Wine Bar

    2. Discuss the legal entity you have chosen for your wine bar. State the reasoning behind being a sole proprietor, corporation or other entity. Use this or a separate management section to ...

  18. How to Write a Killer Bar Business Plan

    Then, choose a pour cost percentage (or profit margin) to target. Price the drink by taking the cost of your ingredients and dividing by the target pour cost. That equals your price. Good target pour costs to target are 20 percent for beer, 14 percent for liquor, and 22 percent for wine.

  19. A2 WINE BAR

    7 reviews and 28 photos of A2 WINE BAR "My friend suggested we check out the soft opening of this wine bar, A2. We were the first to arrive in a rainy night so we got VIP treatment! There was an organic wine that I enjoyed (a bit too much). The wine bar also has a private room that can be rented for events or karaoke The owners are so nice and shared that it had taken 9 months of renovation ...

  20. No Ordinary Rabbit wine and cocktail bar slated to open in Botanical

    Steve Gontram, a well-respected local chef and restaurateur, is shifting culinary gears—again. Later this summer, the owner of 5 Star Burgers (8125 Maryland) in Clayton plans to open a wine and cocktail bar in the former Nixta space, at 1621 Tower Grove in Botanical Heights. The restaurant, No Ordinary Rabbit, will serve a wide array of Eastern Mediterranean-focused small plates and ...

  21. Small Business Spotlight: This Wine Store Owner Got Started by ...

    By purchasing an existing business with the help of bank and seller financing, Tim Delaney was able to turn a relatively small investment of his own cash into a much larger success story. "I made ...

  22. Stay in the know about shows with Music Network of Maine on Facebook

    A recent post on the Music Network of Maine Facebook page by singer-songwriter Anni Clark about an upcoming show. Maine music fan and guitarist John Perry started the Music Network of Maine ...

  23. Tsenzura Bar

    Closed now. Write a review. All photos (1) Suggest edits to improve what we show. Improve this listing. The area. Revolyutsii Ave., 39 Kommuna Gastromarket, Voronezh 394036 Russia. Reach out directly. Visit website.

  24. Writing A Wine Business Plan + Template

    The executive summary of a wine business plan is a one to two page overview of your entire business plan. It should summarize the main points, which will be presented in full in the rest of your business plan. Start with a one-line description of your wine company. Provide a short summary of the key points in each section of your business plan ...

  25. 9 places to nosh on bagels in southern Maine

    Gone are the '90s-era banana-walnut bagels and cold pizza cream cheese, but The Works Cafe is still a reliable place to grab a salt, multigrain or cinnamon raisin bagel, among others. The menu ...

  26. DJANGO Bar+Kitchen

    #8 of 483 Restaurants in Voronezh $$ - $$$, Italian, European, Wine Bar Nikitinskaya St., 1 Palace of Culture of Railway Workers, Voronezh 394036 Russia +7 473 258-80-58 + Add website

  27. All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024)

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  28. THE 10 BEST Restaurants in Voronezh Updated May 2024

    8. DJANGO Bar+Kitchen. 183 reviews Opens in 10 min. Italian, European $$ - $$$. The vibe is romantic but also perfect for families as there is a play area with... Great flavors. 9. JUST bar&kitchen. 267 reviews Opens in 10 min.