November 27, 2014

Entrepreneur Creates Winery on the Third Floor of a Warehouse

entrepreneur creates winery

Starting a winery requires acres of land in the hills of Napa Valley. . .or so you may think. Entrepreneur Lysanne Tusar doesn’t need excessive land or proximity to wine country to run her winery. In fact, she makes her wine on the third floor of a warehouse building in the middle of Hong Kong.

The warehouse is located in Ap Lei Chau, an industrial district on Hong Kong’s south side. The densely populated city, or any densely populated city for that matter, isn’t exactly known for its wine production. But Tusar manages to make it work.

She purchases flash-frozen grapes from the world’s most fertile regions, including Australia, France, and California. Then she turns those grapes into oak-aged wine within the walls of her 8,000-square-foot rental space.

The wine from Tusar’s 8th Estate Winery goes to local restaurants and bars, as well as to individual and corporate clients.

But running a winery in an urban warehouse comes with some unusual challenges. Tusar recently lost half of her space due to increased rent. She had to cancel this year’s vintage and closed the winery’s event business.

Now she has half the space to work with and has considered closing or at least moving to a new location.

Before the downsizing, 8th Estate Winery produced about 40,000 to 60,000 bottles of wine per year. And Tusar thinks that being Hong Kong’s first vintage gave her an advantage over imported wine. She told the New York Times:

“[My wine] hasn’t had the heartbreak of being bounced all over the globe.”

And that’s probably part of the reason she’s hesitant to move the operation, even though her winemaking supplies are mobile.

Making wine in an industrial warehouse building certainly isn’t conventional. And only having 4,000 square feet to work with after losing half of her space can’t be easy. But those differences do make her business interesting, and they could just be what sets her apart in a global marketplace full of wineries who all do it much differently than Tusar.

Image: 8th Estate

7 Comments ▼

Annie Pilon - Staff Writer


Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a staff writer for Small Business Trends, covering entrepreneur profiles and feature stories. She is a freelance writer specializing in marketing, social media, and creative topics. When she’s not writing for her various freelance projects or her personal blog Wattlebird, she can be found exploring all that her home state of Michigan has to offer.

7 Reactions

  1. Very cool idea and I hope she can keep the space she has. Cities need more local production and this is a very novel way of accomplishing that.

    • I gather that it’s still up in the air if she’ll stay or not, but I hope it works out for her as well!

  2. This shows that passion can fuel anything. Even if that means creating a winery in a warehouse, it can happen.

  3. This is a very common practice. Many wineries purchase fruit from vineyards, but don’t have vines of their own.

    • I’m sure it is. But she still has a pretty small/interesting space to work with, and there isn’t much else around her in the wine business, to the best of my knowledge.

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