The wealthy and their vineyards

vineyard california
BREAKING: it takes a long time and lots of money to make a profit in winemaking. But it’s cool to look at the view and have a glass of your own wine in the vineyards with your adult children.

Oh, and it turns out that it’s hard to get distribution and selling wine can be a lot harder than making it. And constructing a wine to get a 100-point score is risky. But if you hold one for a generation or two, you could make $50 million or even $500 million. These are some items in a “Wealth Matters” column in the NYT over the holiday weekend.

Of course, if you really want to make money from year one in the wine biz, do as Warren Buffett did and buy a wine and spirits distributor.

The story does provide some color to our previous discussions about how high costs, a search for ROI, and an aspirational product/lifestyle explain in part why there are so few tasty domestic wines under $15. Also, it was fun to learn that Jim Laube got a wine from a vintner via their mutual golf pro and then gave that wine 97 points. Fore!

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7 Responses to “The wealthy and their vineyards”


  1. Interesting that CNBC had a similar item this weekend http://www.cnbc.com/id/47588827


  2. Sorry it’s the same one!


  3. I had a hunch that it wasn’t as easy or glamerous as it sounded.


  4. working at a winery is a fantastic job, but the income is not as glamorous as the job title.

    i once told my friend josh that i wanted to work in the vineyard, but could make more money working in the cellar. he told me if i wanted to make money, i should get a job working at a bank. its amazing how many times i’ve reminded myself about that statement.


  5. The wine industry is most certainly at a pivot-point, there is so much discontent with the 3-tier system and the disparity between what the producer profits versus the middle tiers and the end tier and the satisfaction of the end-user of wine.

    Price discovery has made life quite difficult for the wine industry, but in the end that will benefit the industry as a whole once the dust settles. Price discovery has hurt the producer and the retailer (restaurants too) the most. Wholesalers are only irritated by the inconvenience of it and the whining of both their suppliers (wineries) and clients (retail & restaurants). The more pain felt the quicker the changes.


  6. This is where I need to be


  7. Not an easy business – and particularly challenging if you own a winery in Ontario Canada and have essentially one customer – the Liquor Control Board of Ontario. I kind of liken it to owning a sail boat – lots of money pored in – not much pored out!


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