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