“How Do You Make A Small Fortune in the Wine Business? Start with a large one.” -unknown

Fortunately, in Texas it takes less investment in real estate to get there but it is no less of an investment in time, plants, equipment and labor. Wine & Vineyards are businesses built on passion, long term vision and determination against all odds, including mother nature.

It is possible to make money in the wine business. But how did they get from A to B? Let’s see. Texas has all the right mixes of tourism, state pride, fervor for locally made products and a wide demographic of wine drinkers.

Actually, the market for Texas wine exists with little product to fulfill the under served demand. We have plenty of folks to consume the product and can expand in depth to fulfill the likes of sophisticated wine drinkers to casual consumers.Texas doesn’t even have to sell wine beyond the state lines to be more successful.

Lots of negative talk about staring a vineyard from mainstream educational institutions? If you have ever attended an introductory seminar are staring a vineyard or getting into the wine business, most likely you were persuaded how hard and risky it can be. But were you shown how to take the next step?

The first step isn’t being an expert. The first step is meeting the real world on the ground hands on the vine experts and learning from their mistakes. Reach out an meet a Texas viticulturist. They will probably invite you to come share in the work to learn the ropes.

The next step would be to identify local and soil types of available property for sale.

While few vineyards have achieved full sustainability it is possible to incorporated sustainable operations into vineyard and winery management with sustainability as a long term goal to strive for and keep the bottom line increasing. (Sustainable agriculture integrates three main goals: environmental stewardship, farm profitability, and prosperous farming communities. These goals have been defined by a variety of disciplines and may be looked at from the vantage point of the farmer or the consumer.)
See http://www.winebusiness.com/wbm/?go=getArticle&dataId=18032

The main areas of vineyard sustainably management are:
• Viticulture
• Soil Management
• Vineyard Water Management
• Pest Management
• Wine Quality
• Food Safety and Security
• Ecosystems Management
• Energy Efficiency
• Winery Water Conservation & Water Quality
• Materials Handling
• Solid Waste Reduction & Management
• Environmentally Preferred Purchasing
• Human Resources
• Neighbors and Communities

Crop land values to stay steady and increase in demand in Texas
The latest Tierra Grande assessed land values of productive farming land and looked at prices adjusted for inflation. They found productive land to increase in value over the last 8 years with a continuing increase in demand while other real estate such as residential and commercial held flat. http://recenter.tamu.edu/pdf/1904.pdf

Land prices range from approx. $4,000+/acre in Mason County, McCullough, San Saba, to $10,000+/acre in Gillespie and Blaco, to $20,000+/acre in parts of Hays County, Kendall and Llano.

Starting a Vineyard- continued

Age of vine before producing useful grapes—3 years (3rd leaf)

Age of vine before full production—5 years (5th leaf)

Productive lifetime of a vine—25-35 years—Although the quality can remain good, the yield begins to decrease after that…though some varieties like Zinfandel can be up to 75 years – 1 century old

Grape clusters in bottle—4-5

Grapes in a bottle—500-600

Clusters on a vine—40

Grapes in a cluster—4–100

Grape clusters in one glass of wine—1

Vines per acre—500-1300

(see sample study on yields http://www.ajevonline.org/ Keyword: yield)

Pounds of grapes produced by one vine—4-12

Harvest Tons per acre—2-14 (average—can vary greatly across varietals depending on cultivar, vine spacing and canopy management practices) Texas average is: 2-3 tons/acre

(2,000 lbs = 1 ton)

Gallons of wine per ton of grapes—120

Gallons of wine per acre—less than 500

Barrels per acre— around 13

Bottles per vine—4-6

Bottles per ton—500—700

Bottles per acre—4,000

Cases per barrel—24.6

Glasses per acre—16,000

Glasses in a bottle—5-6

Bottles per 60 gallon barrel—300

Texas Price per ton and statistics http://www.nass.usda.gov/Statistics_by_State/Texas/Publications/pr11409.pdf

Texas planted acres as of Jan. 2009:  2,500 acres, (450 not mature) (down from 2,900)

Texas average price paid per ton: $1200( ranging $730-$2100)

Cost per acre of new vineyard $20,000 – $30,000 acre

Cost per acre of raw land in Texas AVAs $3,000-30,000 per acre

Grape Vines per acre 500-1,300 (10×6 or 10×8 or 8×5 spacing?)

Cost per new vine plant $2-10 each

Soil amendments per acre – $1,000-$2,000 (initial set up, + 1-5 years of maintenance in beginning)

Soil ripping and site preparation: ?

Steel T-posts $8-30 each and Drill pipe for end posts ($ ?)

Drip Irrigation system $1,200 per acre

Frost Protection system – $1,000 per acre

Wind machines ?

Deer/Exotic Game Perimeter fence ?

Labor – $9-12/hour + transportation

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Copyright 2016. iVineyard Advisors, LLC DBA Central Texas Vineyards. All rights reserved. If you have a brokerage relationship with another agency, this is not intended as a solicitation. All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed.