Backyard Wineries and Garagistes

You’ve heard of garage bands. You’ve also heard of the high tech companies started by “two guys in a garage.”

Well now there are garage wineries. These are small businesses making wine from their homes, without the expensive vineyards.

An article in the San Francisco Chronicle highlights this trend:

When Mark Herold and his wife Erika Gottl climb out of bed in the morning, they carry their coffee cups from the kitchen of their modest wood- frame house on a working-class residential street near downtown Napa to a bonded winery — their garage.

To a casual observer, that tin-roof structure seems suited to shelter a couple of dusty pickup trucks, maybe a lawnmower. To Herold and Gottl, it’s the home of Merus Wines, where they produce less than 500 cases a year of one of the most sumptuous, coveted Cabernet Sauvignons in the country. Wine critic Robert M. Parker Jr. tasted it a few years back and fell madly in love. ***

Garagistes share a passion in their approach to winemaking that often trumps profit. Marketing and sales usually take the form of a basic Web site, a mailing list, local restaurants and possibly a few small distributors. Gottl parcels out Merus three bottles at a time to devoted customers willing to pay $105 a bottle. But most garagiste efforts retail between $20 and $50.

I can see it now — all the business opportunities popping up around the Garagistes. Selling Garagiste wine could become an interesting niche for wine retailers. It also could make a fun theme for wine-tasting fundraising parties. And, of course, then there’d be a need for an online directory of all the Garagistes so that winemaking supply companies can market to them. The list goes on….

[Hat tip for the link: Oklahoma Wine News]
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Anita Campbell

Anita Campbell Anita Campbell is the Founder, CEO and Publisher of Small Business Trends and has been following trends in small businesses since 2003. She is the owner of BizSugar, a social media site for small businesses.

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