Micro wineries have often joined forces and partnered to share a tasting room. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, five new tasting rooms that are collectives of several micro wineries opened in Sonoma and Napa Counties in the last year. CLICK TO READ THE ARTICLE.
It’s a great way to share the cost of opening a tasting room. However, it is also a great way to make a mess. Of course, we love micro wineries, but they are the least likely to sit down and write procedures.
Here is a checklist of the things to figure out:
- What is your goal? Is it Wine sales, Club signups, or Reservations for a vineyard tour? For example, if your goal is Club signups, you might be OK with running this program at a net-zero profit. However, it would be best if you had a goal to monitor whether the cost is worth your time and money.
- How are you going to record the sales of the tastings and wines? The most common situation is for the tasting room to use one POS program and send reports to the partners. These should include a reconciliation of the funds collected.
- How are you going to collect email addresses? Do you collect them yourself or through the tasting rooms POS program?
- How are you going to track the wine sent to the tasting room? As we discuss in Step 5 of our Fundamental Five, “Track the samples and pours,” what is your procedure to track the bottles used for tastings and given out as freebies.
- How are you going to track the other tasting room expenses, the rent, and other fees? First, you want to be able to review the total revenue against the total costs.
- Do you have the cash flow to support this program until it gains momentum? We always recommend that you forecast your cash flow. This step is critical to micro and larger wineries.
- Who is going to represent your wine? Do you need to hire someone? Are you going to be there, or will the crew from the collective handle this?
I don’t want to discourage you from joining a collective. However, be aware that you need procedures in place, and you need to monitor whether you are benefiting from the time and expense of joining the collective.