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.
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
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."
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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
- Pinot Noir
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."
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 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."
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.
//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.