Need Business News? We've got you Covered.

Things to Know Before Opening a Wine Shop

If you’re a lover of fine dining and wines, starting your own wine shop could be a dream come true. The wine industry is a very popular market, and many wine sellers find that they can make a great profit by selling medium to high-end wines. That being said, not all wine shops can make it. If you’re considering starting a business that focuses on selling wine, keep these things in mind.

Selection Matters

When it comes to wine, the selection is everything. This means that your shop can’t just have the same bottles someone could buy at the grocery store or another big-box retailer. Sourcing some bottles from an independent wine merchant in Princeton, NJ or another such boutique seller can go a long way in building your reputation as a purveyor of fine wines. Even better, if you’re the only shop in a twenty-mile radius that carries a bottle a customer loves, you’re going to guarantee yourself repeat business.

Be Prepared To Educate

A lot of times, buyers are uncomfortable shopping for wine because it feels so unattainable to them. As a wine seller, it’s important that you build a brand that is welcoming to customers from all backgrounds. Finding ways to educate interest customers can turn them into brand evangelists. This, in turn, can translate to a better image for your business as well as build your customer base.

Consider setting up special events, like a Wine Wednesday, where you can give customers a free tasting and help them better understand what to look for when buying a bottle of wine and how to pair different wines with different entrees. This helps build a community of excited wine enthusiasts, which can be great for business.

Don’t Only Source Well-Marketed Wines

While it’s a bit of a misconception that a bottle of wine with exciting art on the label is making up for an uninspired beverage, it’s important to curate a mixture of wines that balance style and substance. There are certainly some customers who will judge a bottle by its label, but others will do just the opposite, reading about the specific year and vintner before selecting one to purchase. Just like you’ll want a balance of whites, reds, champagnes, roses, and ports, you want to make sure you have a good mix of labels, too.

Prioritize Customer Service

Beyond hosting educational events for your customers, it’s vital that each sales associate you hire has the heart of a teacher. If your sales team can’t answer questions in a way that addresses a customer’s concern without condescending to them, they shouldn’t be employed by you.

Even if it means accepting a return from a new customer that didn’t realize that they bought the wrong wine until after it’d been opened, it’s important to weigh the marginal loss on one bottle against a customer who will sing your praises and return to buy more from you the next time.

Structure Your Business Properly

Opening any business means applying for the right permits and a wine shop is no different. In addition to registering as a business in your locality, you’ll also need to apply for and adhere to the regulations set forth by your liquor license. Structuring your business properly and involves handling things like taxes and payroll correctly.

Payroll can be a tedious process; however, with a website like, it’s easy to set up and run a secure payroll system that accurately pays your employees the proper wage each pay period. This goes to show that in a small business, it’s sometimes worth outsourcing some business tasks so that you can focus on building your company culture and brand.

Back to top