5 Things to Know in Opening a Wine Bar

If you love wine, then did the idea of opening up your own wine bar ever cross your mind? This prospect should be quite attractive because there is a lot of perks involved: 1) You would be your own boss; 2) you would look forward to every working day because you would love what you do; and, 3) you can take a sip out of as numerous bottles as possible. If I am to list the top things to know – supposing you are, indeed, interested – in starting up a wine bar, here is the top five:

Entrepreneurial Mettle


Giuseppe Gullo leads the team behind the very successful Dalla Terrra Wine Bar in London.

The first thing to know is more on the personal side. You would have to evaluate if your skills, temperament and attitude are suited to entrepreneurship. Erstwhile New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg – who is first and foremost a successful entrepreneur – once said, for instance, that an entrepreneur must be prepared to fail. So ask yourself, do you have what it takes to deal with the challenges and failures that are often entailed in running a business? If you say no, then – by all means – stick to your job with all the stability that it could provide. Otherwise, read on, because at this early, you just have proven your entrepreneurial mettle.


Variables such as location, competitors and consumer demographics and preferences can be condensed in one important factor – the market. This can be addressed with proper research and must be included in a business plan. For cool ideas, check the wiine.me business model or the wine adventures and business tips of this girl or the market insights from this wine industry insider.

Wine Producers

The quality, diversity and the length of the wine list is a big consideration why people troop to a particular wine place. It is a big factor that defines the character of the establishment (in addition to the employed sommelier who must know his business, the ambience of the place and, of course, the crowd). Therefore, it is imperative to know wine producers both on the local and international levels. International wine merchants could provide tremendous assistance in this respect. Based on this information, an excellent wine list could be developed. In addition, a systematic and cost-effective approach to procurement and supply management also becomes possible.


The business will sell alcohol and, therefore, it is covered by certain rules, ordinances and statutes. If you are in the US, for instance, you might find this article and this legal resource for alcohol and wine retail enlightening. There are establishments that were closed down or, worse, have faced criminal charges because of non-compliance. More than ever, ignorance is not an excuse. For instance, there is the case of selling alcohol to minors and the age restrictions in bar employees. Knowledge in this respect will keep you out of hot waters.


inventoryA critical information – if ever you intend to succeed with your wine bar – is what I sweepingly categorized as “numbers”. This includes  all the costs, pricing, inventory, salary of staff – yep, the figures which many of us tend to avoid like the plague. These must be understood and managed in order for the bar to run effectively and profitably.

Many of small wine bar owners start small, counting themselves as the first employees. It saves money and allow a degree of control given that the business circumstance can be brutal and frustrating at times. But equipped with sufficient knowledge and in addition to hard work, optimism and determination, you might just steer your wine bar into a successful venture and a source of your pride and contentment.

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