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Sarah Ward

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

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Learning the process of how to open a wine bar is similar to opening a coffee shop, restaurant, or bar business. There are some unique wine bar needs. There are also many standard business plans you’ll need to prepare for. It’ll be a long journey, but so worth it when you open up your very own wine bar. 

There are more and more wine bars in the world these days, but there is still room for growth. As younger generations find their own way of appreciating wine, the market is opening for more innovative wine bar spaces. This BinWise blog post outlines the basics of what you need to open a wine bar. From there, you can take it in any direction you like. 

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8. Write a Wine Bar Business Plan

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

  • An executive summary
  • Financial projections
  • Market research and SWOT analysis
  • Brand conceptualization
  • Funding requirements
  • Inventory needs, like cases of wine

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. Choosing the right brand elements will set you apart from your competitors. Beyond choosing the right design elements, designing your brand is tied to your branding and marketing strategy. From content marketing to email marketing to small business marketing, your brand is part of every interaction with your customers that you have. 

6. Set Up Wine Bar Inventory

Wine bar inventory is all about your bottle count–well, and everything else. Whether you have a collection of 500 or 5,000 bottles in your inventory, you need to keep it organized. Setting up your inventory program and working with a perpetual inventory system will help you stay on top of it. 

5. Source Your Wine

Sourcing your wine is one of the most important steps in learning how to open a wine bar. Unless you’re also looking into buying a winery, you’ll need to find a way to get wine. You can buy wine wholesale or source it directly 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.

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4. Set Up Menus

Setting up your menus will fall into place after you’ve sourced your wine. You’ll also need to work on some wine pairing options. Perhaps something along the lines of a wine chicken pairing, lamb wine pairing, or wine steak pairing. 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. You should look into it sooner rather than later, as it can take time. 

2. Find Your Space

Of all the things you need to source, your specific location is one of the most important for the foundation of your wine bar. There are only so many buildings available in the best areas of any given town, but there are other creative options. You can start a pop-up wine bar, or even convert a double-decker bus into a bar. 

1. Plan Your Hiring

Planning your hiring is something you don’t need to focus too much energy on until most of your other plans are complete. That said, when it’s time to hire, you want to do it with care. Depending on the style of wine bar you open, you should hire people who have a vast knowledge of wine. 

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

Frequently Asked Questions About Starting Wine Bars

Starting a wine bar takes a lot of information and solutions for any issues that come up along the way. Our answers to these frequently asked questions will give you a leg up on wine bars, and the bar industry in general. If you’re just starting out, it’s best to arm yourself with knowledge, so you can plan ahead with the industry in mind. 

Is Running a Wine Bar Profitable?

Yes, running a wine bar is profitable. You can expect a 7-10% profit. A standard bar is between 10% and 15%, so a wine bar isn’t far behind. You can increase profits by making your wine bar also a wine shop. 

The more you invest in the creativity behind your wine bar and what you offer, the more profits you’ll bring in. Start small and build your way up to being the wine bar everyone wants to visit on a Friday night. 

How Do You Make a Wine Bar?

The steps to make a wine bar a feasible business follow along with a regular business plan. They include market research, brand conception–learn about the importance of branding, and all the legal aspects of opening a wine bar. 

You might even need to learn about direct to consumer wine shipping laws. It all comes together to make a unique wine bar where you can make your mark. 

How Do You Set Up a Wine Bar at Home?

Setting up a home wine bar mainly involves stocking up on wine and creating the right space. That can mean building an actual bar for your home. It could be as simple as designating a shelf for your wine collection, glasses, and decanter. 

It all depends on what you’re building a home wine bar for. If you’re doing easy nights, something small works. If you’re entertaining large parties, you’ll want something more intensive. 

What Type of Bar Is Most Profitable?

There are three most profitable types of bars:

  1. Bar and restaurant combinations: this combination is a killer deal. It gives customers everything they could be looking for. Yes, it costs more to operate, but the profits in return are worth it.
  2. Sports bars: these are popular with a wide range of people. Sports fans gather for the games, and everyone else tags along for the cool bar food ideas and drinks. 
  3. Clubs: clubs make their money with popular cocktails. Yes, some food may be involved, but mainly clubs make their money with the high profitability of cocktails. 

These three types of bars are set up to bring in great profits. That said, a wine bar brings in a tidy profit, and has a unique brand and place in the world of bars. 

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

Learning how to open a wine bar is the first step in opening your wine bar, excelling at customer service, and bringing in profits. It’s a long process with a lot of hard work and patience. The process of licensing and funding is just the start. However, when you stick with it, you’ll begin to see the rewards. 

When you’re ready for inventory management and order management, reach out to BinWise and BlueCart. The BinWise Pro platform, with the BinScan mobile app, can manage your inventory program. BlueCart can handle all your order management system needs. 

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