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(Updated May 2013)

Owning and running a vineyard suggests an appealing and romantic lifestyle. In truth, it is hard work, costly and subject to the whims of weather, the economy and foreign competition. Still the lure of the vines may just be the ticket for those seeking adventure and a soul-satisfying business venture. This updated field guide provides start-up resources, statistics, reports, websites and more for those thinking about entering this interesting market. (D. Foligno, Project Specialist)

Wine Facts

  • The United States is the world's fourth largest wine producer (after Italy, France and Spain)
  • California exports more wine than any other state (95% of all U.S. wine exports)
  • Europe is the largest importer of U.S. wine
  • All 50 states produce wine
  • After California, New York, Washington, Oregon and New Jersey are the largest wine producers
  • Grapes are not subsidized by the federal government
  • The wine industry produces 1.1 million jobs in the U.S.
  • The United States is the third largest wine consumer nation
  • $3.3 Billion—Value of the U.S. 2008 grape crop
  • 661 Million—Gallons of wine produced in the United States between June 2006 and July 2007

Source: The National Association of American Wineries, (2010).

"Wine is the most civilized thing in the world" (Ernest Hemingway).

Opening a Vineyard

How New Jersey Could Make Itself the Next Napa, (New York Times, Mar. 12, 2013).

Snapping up vineyards, (Press Democrat, June 26, 2012).

Fewer grapes, more drinkers, (Wall Street Journal, June 8, 2012).

With grape demand up, Texas vineyards are expanding, (Your Houston News, May 2, 2012).

Manage your own winery (video), (CNN Money, June 20, 2011).

Winery & vineyard feasibility workbooks, (Agricultural Marketing Resource Center, Mar. 2010).

Key steps for completing a vineyard business plan, (Ohio State University, 2009).

Considerations for starting a winery, (University of Arkansas, Jan. 2008).

Life among the vines, (In The Black, June 2006). Q

Wine industry start-up guide, (Michigan Department of Agriculture, 2004).

Winery start-up & business plan workbook, (Southern Illinois University, 2002).

The total wine package Videos, (Agricultural Marketing Resource Center, Iowa State University).

Starting your own wine business, (University of Tennessee).

Feasibility of a cooperative winery, (Kansas State University).

Northwest grapes cost-of-production calculators

Vineyard Valuation

How to calculate winery value, (Wines and Vines, Nov. 12, 2012).

Appraisers see ‘slow and uneven’ recovery, (Napa Valley Register, Sept. 20, 2011)

How appraisers value vineyards, (Vines & Wines, Jan. 2010).

Are vineyard values vulnerable?, (Wine Business Monthly, Nov. 15, 2009).

Grape prices driving vineyard values, (Western Farm Press, Aug. 6, 2009).

Economics of a small premium winery, (University of Georgia).

The valuation of permanent plantings, (Appraisal Journal, Oct. 1, 2000). Q

Reports, Statistics & Studies

Wine consumption in the U.S., (Wine Institute, Mar. 14, 2013).

U.S. and California grape crush historical totals, (Wine Institute, Mar. 18, 2013).

Grape prices driving vineyard values, (Western Farm Press, Aug. 6, 2009).

Wine labeling regulations brochure, (Dept. of the Treasury, Apr. 2008).

The impact of wine, grapes & grape products on the American economy 2007, (National Wine & Grape Initiative, 2007).

Identification guide to the major diseases of grapes, (AgriFood Canada, Edition 2006).


American Society for Enology and Viticulture—Science of wine making and grape growing

American Vineyard Foundation

American Vineyard Magazine—Industry Publication

Cornell University Resources

Iowa State University Viticulture

The National Association of American Wineries

Practical Winery & Vineyard Magazine—Industry Publication

Resources for startup wineries (Purdue University).

State Winery Associations

State-by-State Wine Shipping Laws

United States Winery Index—State-by-state listing of wineries

USDA State partners—Links to university resources and programs

Vineyard & Winery Management Magazine—Industry Publication

Wines & Vines—Industry Publication

eBooks & Other Resources


The following eBooks and digital audiobooks are available to NAR members:

Big Business Marketing For Small Business Budgets (Adobe eReader)

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Starting and Running a Winery (Kindle, Adobe eReader)

Law (In Plain English)® for Small Business (Adobe eReader)

The Small Business Owner's Manual (Kindle, Adobe eReader)

Books, Videos, Research Reports & More

The resources below are available for loan through Information Central. Up to three books, tapes, CDs and/or DVDs can be borrowed for 30 days from the Library for a nominal fee of $10. Call Information Central at 800-874-6500 for assistance.

FabJob Guide to Become a Winery Owner, (Dream Career Experts, 2010). CD 052

Field Guides & More

These field guides and other resources in the Virtual Library may also be of interest:

Field Guide to Agricultural/Farm Land

Field Guide to Land Investment

Field Guide to Zoning Laws & Ordinances

InfoCentral Blog

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The inclusion of links on this field guide does not imply endorsement by the National Association of REALTORS®. NAR makes no representations about whether the content of any external sites which may be linked in this field guide complies with state or federal laws or regulations or with applicable NAR policies. These links are provided for your convenience only and you rely on them at your own risk.