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]

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.