Selling a Winery or Winemaking Business

Business owners who want to sell a winery or winemaking business often find the process confusing and complicated. But at Morgan & Westfield, it’s second nature to us. That’s because we’re an experienced M&A firm that advises business owners in the food and beverage industry. We can walk you through the entire process, from planning to exiting, and help you sail through critical negotiations with buyers. We can make sure you’re prepared for every eventuality, including the ups and downs. Our focus is on lower middle-market companies with $1 million to $10 million in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) and annual revenues between $5 million and $100 million.

Your Top M&A Advisors to the Wine Industry 

Our M&A advisors are experts in selling a business in the wine industry. Whatever challenges you may face in selling your wine business, our team has overcome them before. Let’s start with an informative talk. We offer a free consultation, but you don’t have to worry when you contact us because there’s no further obligation on your part. If you decide to proceed, we can guide you on every stage of the process – from the first steps in placing your business in the best light to negotiating the purchase agreement and, finally, to the closing. 

Selling a Winery: Do You Understand Valuations, Appraisals, and Multiples?

As you explore your options for selling your winemaking business or winery, there’s no doubt you will have lots of questions like: What do I need to do, and when? What’s the value of my business? What multiple can I expect? Can I increase the multiple, and how? Online searches may give you many different answers to the same questions. Or they might not apply to your specific situation. Ideally, what you need is an outside professional assessment and definitive answers for your circumstances. You can depend on us to help you focus on the right steps at the right time.

Types of Businesses We Sell and Value 

  • Acid Adjusters for Wine Manufacturers
  • Fermenting Agent Manufacturers
  • Grape Additive Manufacturers
  • Grape Juice Concentrate Manufacturers
  • Grape Skin and Seed Extract Suppliers
  • Grape Suppliers
  • Oak Alternatives Manufacturers
  • Sugar Manufacturers
  • Wineries
  • Wine Bottle Manufacturers
  • Wine Clarifying Agent Manufacturers
  • Wine Enzymes Manufacturers
  • Wine Ingredient Manufacturers
  • Wine Label and Packaging Manufacturers
  • Wine Manufacturers
  • Wine Specialty Ingredient Manufacturers
  • Wine Sweetener Manufacturers
  • Wine Tannin Manufacturers
  • Yeast Suppliers and Manufacturers

Overview of the Winery Industry


The winery industry consists of companies engaged in at least one component of the winemaking process. This includes everything from growing the grapes to any other ingredients and equipment, as well as mixing, purifying, aging, and bottling wines. This process includes growing and harvesting grapes, crushing and pressing grapes into unfermented wine, adding yeast, sugar, and flavorings, and fermenting the wine. Often, a wine business is both a vineyard and a winery. When a winery uses estate-grown grapes, they have their own vineyard. Some wineries buy their grapes from local growers. Although wine is primarily made from grapes, it is interesting to note that other fruits, such as berries, peaches, cherries, watermelon, and pineapple, can be used. 


The winery industry, encompassing businesses from family-owned operations to large corporations, plays a crucial role in the global wine market, valued at hundreds of billions of dollars. The industry, home to thousands of wineries worldwide, oversees various stages of wine production, from cultivation to bottling. Major industry players include E. & J. Gallo, Constellation Brands, and The Wine Group. Current trends focus on sustainable and organic winemaking, premiumization, and increased direct-to-consumer sales and e-commerce, with wine tourism offering additional revenue streams. Despite facing challenges such as climate change, shifts in trade regulations, and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the industry’s outlook remains positive, with growth especially anticipated in emerging markets.

How We Got Here – A Brief History

  • 18th to 19th Century – Winery Industry Flourished: The winery industry flourished in Europe, with regions like Bordeaux, Champagne, and Burgundy gaining international recognition. Winemaking also began in new world regions like the United States, Australia, and South America.
  • 1920 to 1933 – Wineries Closed: Prohibition in the United States led to the closure of many wineries, severely impacting the industry. Some wineries survived by producing sacramental wine for religious purposes or grape juice concentrate.
  • 1933 – Wine Industry Recovered: With the end of Prohibition, the American wine industry began to recover slowly, but many vineyards were uprooted, and the industry’s reputation was damaged.
  • 1940s to 1950s – Wine Industry Bounced Back: The wine industry began to bounce back post-World War II, particularly in regions like California. However, most wines produced during this era were sweet, fortified wines rather than the dry, complex wines of today.
  • 1960s to 1970s – Single-Varietal Wines Began: A quality revolution occurred, especially in California, where winemakers began to focus on producing high-quality, single-varietal wines. Robert Mondavi was a key figure in this movement.
  • 1976 – New World Wines Glorified: The Judgment of Paris, a blind wine tasting in France, shocked the wine world when California wines scored higher than prestigious French wines, putting New World wines on the global map.
  • 1980s to 1990s – Wine Industry Globalized: New World wine regions, including Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Argentina, and Chile, increased exports and gained international recognition for their wine quality.
  • 21st Century – Wine Consumption Increased: The winery industry saw globalization and technological advancements, leading to a significant increase in wine quality and consumption worldwide, especially in new markets like China. Organic and sustainable winemaking practices also became increasingly important.
  • 2000s – Direct-to-Consumer Wine Sales Grew: Direct-to-consumer wine sales grew, particularly in the United States, due to changes in shipping laws. The internet led to an increase in wine information availability, transforming consumers’ buying habits.
  • 2010s – Wine Industry Evolved: The wine industry continued to evolve with the rise of natural wines, increased emphasis on understanding viticulture, and a general trend toward premiumization. Chinese wine consumption and production also grew rapidly, changing the dynamics of the global wine market.
  • 2020 – Wine Industry Impacted: The COVID-19 pandemic impacted the global wine industry, disrupting supply chains, closing tasting rooms, and stopping winery tours and hospitality venues. Many wineries adapted by enhancing their online sales platforms and offering virtual tasting events.
  • 2021 to 2023 – Weather Challenges Spread: Wineries in many parts of the world faced significant challenges due to unpredictable weather patterns. In early 2021, French vineyards suffered from spring frosts that significantly affected grape production. And in 2021 and 2022, wildfires, drought, and heat hit the vineyards of California, Oregon, and Washington. The drought and heat made the vines produce less fruit, and some grapes couldn’t be used due to smoke taint, which caused a burnt, ashy aftertaste.
  • 2022 to 2023 – Red Wine Popularity Rose: Red wine dominated the global wine market, and it’s expected to continue in the coming years as more consumers are drawn to its many health benefits, such as high antioxidants, low sugar and calories, and anti-inflammatory effects. 
  • 2023 – Canned and Boxed Wines Flourished: The trend of canned and boxed wines continues to rise in popularity, driven by the demand for convenience, freshness, and portability.

Trends That May Affect M&A Activity

The following is a list of trends that can affect future M&A activity in the winery industry:

  • Direct-to-Consumer Sales: As e-commerce continues to grow, more wineries are selling directly to consumers, often through their websites. This trend was accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which increased online shopping.
  • Product Diversification: To reach a broader market, many wineries are diversifying their offerings, producing low-alcohol and no-alcohol wines, canned wines, and wine spritzers.
  • Fizzy Wine: Sparkling wine has always been a popular drink in the United States, but sales have increased dramatically in recent years. In the next few years, sparkling wine could overtake beer as the USA’s most-consumed beverage. This surprising trend goes hand in hand with the rising popularity of wine-based cocktails such as wine spritzers, a mixture of wine and club soda or seltzer.
  • E-Commerce Growth: As with most consumer products, shopping for wine has become an increasingly popular online activity, and it continues to grow.
  • Health and Wellness: The health and wellness trend has also impacted the wine industry, with a rise in better-for-you wines, such as organic, natural, low-alcohol, and low-sugar.
  • Natural Wine: Natural wines can mean wines created using traditional methods without pesticides or herbicides. However, there is a higher chance the phrase refers to wines with zero added sugar, flavorings, and additives, an emerging trend that’s gaining ground. 
  • Premiumization: Consumers are increasingly willing to pay more for high-quality wines. Wineries are responding by focusing on producing premium wines and marketing their quality and uniqueness.
  • Style-Blending: Although there are countless styles of wine to explore, from white to red and from Pinot to Merlot, as time goes on, the world of wine is beginning to look like a spectrum rather than a set of clearly defined categories, a trend to continue over time.
  • Sustainability: Consumers are increasingly interested in how their products are made, leading to a rise in sustainable, organic, and biodynamic wines. As a result, many wineries are focusing on sustainable viticulture practices and reducing their overall environmental impact.
  • Technology in Viticulture: Wineries are adopting new technologies to improve viticulture and winemaking processes, including using drones for vineyard monitoring, artificial intelligence (AI) for predicting harvest times and wine quality, and digital platforms for marketing and sales.
  • Wine Tourism: Wineries are increasingly focused on wine tourism to boost sales and connect with consumers, offering vineyard tours, wine tastings, and special events.

Summary of Winery Acquisitions

Summary of Acquisitions
Target Industry (Industry > Niche)Target Target LocationBuyer Industry BuyerBuyer LocationDatePurchase Price
Alcoholic Beverage > Wines and SpiritsCastle BrandsUSAWines and SpiritsPernod RicardFranceOct 2019$223 Million
Specialty Beverages > Wine, Alcoholic, Non-AlcoholicMeier’s Wine CellarsUSAWineryVintage Wine EstatesUSAJan 2022$35.1 Million
Vineyards and Winery > Alcoholic and Non-Alcoholic WinesBackyard VineyardsCanadaWine CompanyDiamond Estates Wines & SpiritsCanadaJun 2018$3 Million
Winery > Bottling, WinesLingua FrancaUSAWine CompanyConstellationUSAApr 2022Undisclosed
Winery > High-Quality WinesShafer VineyardsUSAStock CorporationStarfield PropertiesUSAFeb 2020$250 Million
Winery > Luxury WinesBottom Line RanchUSAWine CompanyDuckhorn Wine CompanyUSAMay 2022Undisclosed
Winery > Premium WineSte. Michelle Wine EstatesUSAPrivate EquitySycamore PartnersUSAOct 2021$1.2 Million
Winery > Premium Wines and VineyardsStagecoach VineyardUSAWineryE. & J. Gallo WineryUSAMar 2017Undisclosed
Winery > Varietal WinesKunde EnterpriseUSAWineryVintage Wine EstatesUSAApr 2021$53.1 Million
Winery > WinesFrank Family VineyardsUSAWine CompanyTreasury Wine EstatesAustraliaNov 2021$315 Million

Pernod Ricard Acquired Castle Brands (Alcoholic Beverage)

  • Date: October 2019
  • Price: $223 Million
  • Target: Castle Brands Inc. – An international developer and marketer of premium and super premium alcohol brands.
  • Location: New York, USA
  • Buyer: Pernod Ricard – The second top worldwide producer of spirits and wines with consolidated sales.
  • Purpose: Pernod added the New York-based company’s brands to its portfolio, including Jefferson’s Bourbon, Brady’s Irish Cream, and Clontarf Irish Whiskey. “We’re thrilled about the closing of the Castle Brands acquisition and the opportunity it offers us in the world’s largest spirits market, the U.S., a priority market for the Group,” said Alexandre Ricard, Chairman and CEO of Pernod.
  • Details: The short-form merger was preceded by a cash tender offer.

Vintage Wine Estates Acquired Meier’s Wine Cellars (Specialty Beverages)

  • Date: January 2022
  • Price: $35.1 Million
  • Target: Meier’s Wine Cellars Inc. – A producer, bottler, importer, and marketer of wines and specialty beverage alcohol and non-alcohol products in the Midwest United States.
  • Location: Ohio, USA
  • Buyer: Vintage Wine Estates Inc. – A family of wines and wineries throughout Sonoma, Napa, California’s Central Coast, Washington State, and Oregon.
  • Purpose: With this acquisition, Vintage Wine Estates plans to benefit from additional future synergies gained through consolidation, operating leverage, and growth.
  • Details: The purchase was valued at 8x Meier’s 2021 EBITDA.

Diamond Estates Wines & Spirits Inc. Acquired Backyard Vineyards Inc. (Vineyards and Winery)

  • Date: June 2018
  • Price: $3 Million
  • Target: Backyard Vineyards Inc. – Operator of vineyards and a winery with services, including producing, distributing, and storing alcoholic and non-alcoholic wines.
  • Location: British Columbia, Canada
  • Buyer: Diamond Estates Wines & Spirits Inc. – A winemaking company based in Niagara on the Lake, Ontario, Canada.
  • Purpose: This highly strategic transaction will transform Diamond Estates into a national producer of VQA wines and position the company to build a major new winery in the Okanagan Valley wine-producing region.
  • Details: The total purchase price was $3 million, consisting of $0.75 million in cash, $1.5 million of Diamond Estates stock valued at $0.32 per share, and the assumption of $0.75 million of debt. The vendor was Ewen Stewart.

Constellation Brands Acquired Lingua Franca (Winery)

  • Date: April 2022
  • Price: Undisclosed Amount
  • Target: Lingua Franca – A Willamette Valley wine producer founded by Master Sommelier Larry Stone.
  • Location: Oregon, USA
  • Buyer: Constellation Brands – One of the world’s largest wine companies.
  • Purpose: “We wanted to have a luxury Pinot Noir and Chardonnay brand in our portfolio,” said Robert Hanson, President of Wine and Spirits, Constellation.
  • Details: The deal included the brand, winery, vineyards, and inventory.

Starfield Properties Acquired Shafer Vineyards (Winery)

  • Date: February 2022
  • Price: $250 Million
  • Target: Shafer Vineyards – A family-owned winery that has produced wines in Napa Valley’s Stags Leap District since 1978.
  • Location: California, USA
  • Buyer: Starfield Properties Inc. – The U.S. property arm of Shinsegae, a South Korean department store franchise.
  • Purpose: “With the acquisition, we plan to further expand the group’s wine business by creating synergy with its Shinsegae L&B that is in charge of the wholesale distribution of wine and liquor,” said a Starfield Properties official.
  • Details: Shafer winemaker Elias Fernandez and the core winemaking and vineyard staff will continue with the winery for the foreseeable future. The deal includes 225 acres of vines.

Duckhorn Wine Company Inc. Acquired Bottom Line Ranch (Winery)

  • Date: May 2022
  • Price: Undisclosed Amount
  • Target: Bottom Line Ranch – A 289-acre ranch in the San Miguel District and a sub-appellation of the Paso Robles American Viticultural Areas (AVA). Planted exclusively across 265 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon, the vineyard features seven top clones on three drought-tolerant rootstocks.
  • Location: California, USA
  • Buyer: The Duckhorn Portfolio Inc. – An American wine company producing varietal-labeled and blended red, white, rosé, and sparkling wines from California and Washington State.
  • Purpose: To establish a significant estate footprint on California’s Central Coast, provide the company access to high-quality Cabernet Sauvignon for years to come, and support the continued growth of its Postmark and Decoy wineries.

Sycamore Partners Acquired Ste. Michelle Wine Estates Ltd. (Winery)

  • Date: October 2021
  • Price: $1.2 Million
  • Target: Ste. Michelle Wine Estates Ltd. – A collection of distinctive wine estates that fully explore the unique growing conditions and individual winemaking practices to give the wines from each estate their extraordinary character.
  • Location: Washington, USA
  • Buyer: Sycamore Partners – A private equity firm specializing in consumer and retail investments based in New York.
  • Purpose: “We look forward to working with the team at Ste. Michelle Wine Estates to build on its position as the largest wine company in the Pacific Northwest and third-largest premium wine company in the U.S.,” said Stefan Kaluzny, managing director at Sycamore Partners.
  • Details: The transaction marked the sale of one of the largest wine producers in America.

Vintage Wine Estates Inc. Acquired Kunde Enterprise Inc. (Winery)

  • Date: April 2021
  • Price: $53.1 Million
  • Target: Kunde Enterprise Inc. – A producer and supplier of varietal wines that innovates wines in their vineyards and winery while maintaining sustainable wine growing and preserving the land for future generations.
  • Buyer: Vintage Wine Estates Inc. – A family of independent wineries and producers with a focus on producing the highest quality wines.
  • Location: California, USA
  • Details: The transaction was funded by Vintage Wine Estates, Inc.’s line of credit and delayed draw term loan. The transaction closed in May 2021.

Treasury Wine Estates Acquired Frank Family Vineyards (Winery)

  • Date: November 2021
  • Price: $315 Million
  • Target: Frank Family Vineyards – A producer of world-class Chardonnay and Cabernet from Napa Valley in a historic property that has been making wine since 1884.
  • Location: California, USA
  • Buyer: Treasury Wine Estates – One of the world’s largest wine companies.
  • Purpose: Treasury Wine Estates is placed to enhance the Frank Family Vineyards’ growth, given its leading luxury sales credentials, national distribution network, and access to exceptionally high-quality vineyards.
  • Details: The deal included the Frank Family tasting room in Calistoga, the Benjamin Vineyard in Rutherford, the S&J Vineyard in Capell Valley, and a portfolio of wines with retail price points ranging from $38 to $225 per bottle.

E&J Gallo Winery Inc. Acquired Stagecoach Vineyard (Winery > Premium Wines and Vineyards)

  • Date: March 2017
  • Price: Undisclosed Amount
  • Target: Stagecoach Vineyard – A Napa Valley vineyard known for its long reputation of extraordinary wine grapes.
  • Location: California, USA
  • Buyer: E. & J. Gallo Winery Inc. – A winery and distributor headquartered in Modesto, California.
  • Purpose: “While my decision to sell was not simple, I was delighted to find a buyer that is committed to continuing the tradition of excellence and the pursuit of enhancing the world-class vineyard I have created,” said Stagecoach Vineyard founder Jan Krupp.
  • Details: Zepponi & Company served as the financial advisor to Stagecoach Vineyards.

Public Companies 

The following is a list of public companies that operate in the specialty food industry:

Andrew Peller Limited (TSE: ADW.A): A Canadian company that owns wineries in British Columbia, Ontario, and Nova Scotia and is traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Brown-Forman Corporation (NYSE: BF.B): An American-based company and one of the largest in the spirits and wine business. While best known for its whiskey brands, Brown-Forman has a wine division that includes Sonoma-Cutrer and Korbel Champagne.

Constellation Brands, Inc. (NYSE: STZ): A major multinational alcoholic beverage company with a significant portfolio of wine brands, including Robert Mondavi, Kim Crawford, Meiomi, and The Prisoner Wine Company.

Crimson Wine Group Ltd. OTCPK: CWGL): A smaller-scale company producing premium and ultra-premium wines, including Pine Ridge Vineyards and Seghesio Family Vineyards.

Diageo plc (NYSE: DEO): A global alcoholic beverage company based in London, England, with a wine segment that includes Beaulieu Vineyard and Sterling Vineyards. It operates from 132 sites worldwide and is a major distributor of Scotch whisky and other spirits.

Pernod Ricard SA (PDRDF: PKC): Another global alcoholic beverage company with a wine division that includes Jacob’s Creek and Kenwood Vineyards. From specialty spirits to bar favorites and leading wines and champagne, Pernod Ricard has one of the most comprehensive portfolios in the market.

Treasury Wine Estates Ltd (ASX: TWE): An Australian global winemaking and distribution business headquartered in Melbourne, formerly the wine division of international brewing company Foster’s Group.

Truett-Hurst, Inc. (OTCMKTS: THST): A winery and lifestyle company based in the acclaimed Dry Creek and Russian River Valleys of Sonoma County, California.

Willamette Valley Vineyards, Inc. (NASDAQ: WVVI): An American winery in Turner, Oregon, named after Oregon’s Willamette Valley, it is the leading producer of Willamette Valley-appellated Pinot Noir in Oregon and also produces Chardonnay and Pinot Gris.

Private Equity Firms

The following is a list of private equity firms investing in the specialty food industry:

  • Advent International: A private equity firm that has made investments in 42 countries, Advent invests in five core sectors, including healthcare, business and financial services, industrial, consumer, retail and leisure, and technology. Investments it has made in the industry include:

Graffigna – A premium wine and champagne producer based in Argentina, Graffigna was founded in 1870 by Italian immigrant Santiago Graffigna, who planted the first vineyards in the region. The Graffigna winery is considered the oldest in San Juan and one of the most historic wineries in Argentina.

  • Freeman Spogli and Co.: A private equity firm dedicated exclusively to investing in and partnering with management in U.S. consumer-related and distribution companies. Investments it has made in the industry include:

Winebow – A national importer and distributor of wines and spirits from around the world.

  • GI Partners: A private alternative investment firm with offices in San Francisco, New York, Dallas, Chicago, Greenwich, Scottsdale, and London. Investments it has made in the winery industry include:

Duckhorn Wine Company – For over four decades, Duckhorn Wine Company has helped set the standard for American fine wines. What started as a single vineyard in Napa Valley has grown to include 600 acres of estate vineyards across California and Washington, four winemaking facilities, and three visitor centers.

Far Niente Wine Estates – A family-owned winery and vineyard company based in Napa Valley that owns two winery facilities and 10 stand-alone vineyard properties in Napa and Sonoma. Far Niente sells its wines in the national wholesale channel through a network of distributors, sells direct-to-trade in Northern California, and sells direct-to-consumers online and through its visitor centers.

  • Karp Reilly LLC: KarpReilly is a private investment firm, whose primary mission is to partner with premier small to mid-size growth companies. Investments it has made in the industry include:

Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurants – They combined a modern casual restaurant, Napa-style tasting room, and artisanal retail market to create a new hospitality experience.

Eureka! – An elevated, authentic collection of America’s best craft beer, small-batch whiskey, regional wines, and locally sourced ingredients, Eureka! has 28 locations in Washington, California, Idaho, Nevada, Arizona, and Texas. Each site features a spacious interior and al fresco patio with unique design features, like murals by local artists. Each Eureka! is unique, embodying its local community and bringing local guests’ energy to life.

  • Sycamore Partners: A private equity firm based in New York specializing in consumer, distribution, and retail-related investments, the firm has approximately $10 billion in aggregate committed capital. Their strategy is to partner with management teams to improve the operating profitability and strategic value of their businesses. Investments it has made in the wine industry include:

Ste Michelle Wine Estates – The largest wine company in the Pacific Northwest and the third-largest premium wine company in the United States, with a portfolio that includes Chateau Ste Michelle, Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, Erath, 14 Hands, Columbia Crest, and Patz and Hall, along with numerous other brands

  • TowerBrook Capital Partners: An investment management firm headquartered in London and New York City, TowerBrook spun out of Soros Fund Management in 2005 and became known for acquiring majority stakes in several companies. Investments it has made in the winery industry include:

BevMo! – A large, specialty retailer of alcoholic drinks and related items, the company has over 150 stores throughout California, Arizona and Washington. The typical 10,000-square-foot store carries a large assortment of products, including over 3,800 wines, 2,400 spirits, and 2,400 beers, with various complementary products including cocktail napkins, snacks, glassware, and bar accessories. TowerBrook exited its investment in 2020 via the sale of BevMo! to goPuff, an affiliate of GoBrands.

  • TSG Consumer Partners: TSG Consumer Partners is an American private equity company based in San Francisco, California. The firm was founded in 1986, and was among the first private equity firms to invest exclusively in consumer companies. The firm also has offices in New York, Connecticut and London. Investments it has made in the industry include:

Duckhorn Wine Company – For over four decades, Duckhorn Wine Company has helped set the standard for American fine wines. What started as a single vineyard in Napa Valley has grown to include 600 acres of estate vineyards across California and Washington, four winemaking facilities, and three visitor centers.

Venture Capital Firms

The following is a list of venture capital firms investing in the specialty food industry:

  • Bacchus Capital Management: Bacchus has made several investments in the wine industry, including in Qupé, a leading Californian producer of Rhône-style wines, and Wine by Joe, one of the largest wine producers in Oregon. Investments it has made in the industry include:

Cameron Hughes Wine – A wine merchant sourcing super and ultra-premium finished wines worldwide. The wines are bottled under the Cameron Hughes brand and sold primarily through large retailers such as Costco. Cameron Hughes was founded on the concept that excellent wine should be available at a reasonable price.

DeLille Cellars – A boutique artisan winery in Woodinville, Washington, under celebrated winemaker Chris Upchurch, DeLille Cellars was the first winery in Washington to focus on creating Bordeaux-style wine blends. The winery is prominent on the Red Mountain American Viticultural Area (AVA) with its own 20-acre vineyard in the Yakima Valley.

Madrigal Family Winery – A Napa Valley winery renowned for its vineyards and agricultural legacy run by Chris Madrigal, the family’s third generation and founder’s grandson, Chris continues the family tradition of viticultural leadership and wine production.

  • SOSV: A global venture capital firm that operates early stage start-up development programs, SOSV focuses on two broad areas: revolutionary deep technology and start-ups in emerging markets positioned for explosive growth. The firm’s strategy is to invest in a small number of highly promising start-ups and use its deeply resourced programs to accelerate product development, acquire customers, and scale. Investments it has made in the wine industry include:

FancyCellar – The vast majority of Chinese consumers lack knowledge about wine, are afraid of fake products, and are lost when shopping in regular wine stores. Fancy Cellar solves this problem by introducing Social Wine Commerce to the web and WeChat platforms. It is a wine importer and E-tailer specializing in boutique French wines with over 130,000 fans and followers.


The following is a list of professionals servicing or investing in the specialty food industry:

Angel Investors

  • Charles Hudson: The managing partner of Precursor Ventures, an angel investor, a lecturer at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business, and a former venture partner at Uncork Capital, Charles attended Stanford University Graduate School of Business. Investments he has made in the winery industry include:

Maker Wine – This female-founded business offers premium wines and varietals crafted by award-winning small producers in earth-conscious cans that are organic, zero-sugar, and low-carb. Available in restaurants, retail locations, or online, they ship to all U.S. states except Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Hawaii, Mississippi, Rhode Island, and Utah.

  • Gil Fuchsberg: An angel investor, Gil is the head of corporate development at Roku. His investment focus is video, publishing, e-commerce, and seed funding in the U.S.

VinePair – An award-winding digital media company and the largest to provide entertaining and inspiring content about drinks, culture, and important trends and topics in wine, beer, and spirits, VinePair makes learning about drinking fun and easy.

  • Walt Doyle: The board director of Auction Holdings Inc., Walt sets the vision and strategy for the PayPal Media Network. His investments focus on e-commerce, seed, and series A funding rounds.

Drizly – An alcohol marketplace that offers a variety of beer, wine, and spirits via on-demand delivery and shipping, Drizly partners with retailers to help them reach new customers, tap into key market and customer insights, and diversify their business to grow sales.


  • Grand Cru Wine Consulting: The discerning choice for collectors seeking fine and rare wine concierge services, Grand Cru offers a complete portfolio of services, including acquisitions, liquidation, cellar management, private events, gifts, and travel planning.
  • Locus Wine Consulting: Provides wine marketing, sales, and distribution consulting for wineries, vineyards, importers, brokers, and distributors. Some of their specialties include brand creation and development, market evaluation, and business sales alignment.
  • Pietro Buttitta: A wine services and consulting firm for small wineries and businesses; their specialties include winemaking, vineyard, custom crush new wineries, brand help, and wholesale staff training.
  • Ropero Wines: Offers exceptional product development, wine selection, and wine business consulting services. With a passion for wine, they source and create wines that align with their clients’ desired standards, keeping their brand success in mind.
  • Wine Network Consulting: Provides comprehensive advice on wine quality, vineyard and winery management, operational efficiency, and business sustainability in Australia. Wine business services include thorough preparation for successful mergers and acquisitions with technical due diligence for vineyard and winery investments.

Law Firms/Attorneys

  • Buchalter: This firm’s wine industry law practice takes a solid business approach to working with its varied winery clientele, counseling them on the many legal issues that affect their businesses, including business formation, real estate and land use, bank and finance, trademarks and patents, labor and equipment, restructuring, and asset liquidation.
  • Hanson Bridgett: A California law firm with over 60 years of experience, it represents clients in some of the world’s best-known grape-growing regions on the West Coast. The firm can handle the many complex issues in the wine industry due to its strong connections with prominent winemakers, vineyard owners, their communities, and key local and state government officials.
  • Hodgson Russ LLP: By understanding the complex legal and regulatory hurdles facing beer, wine and spirits producers, wholesalers and retailers, the attorneys at Hodgson Russ are trusted advisors to all sectors of the industry, from entrepreneurs and small craft brewers to large retailers and producers, family-owned start-ups and large corporations.
  • Sheppard Mullin: Because this firm has represented winery clients since Napa Valley’s infancy in the early 1970s, they know the players and understand the issues. They’ve worked on winery, brand, and vineyard acquisitions and dispositions, land use and regulatory issues, and ongoing operational matters. Also, they have represented financial institutions in financing, workouts, and other transactions involving wineries and vineyards.
  • Stoel Rives LLP: Serving as counsel to more than 400 wine-related businesses, including U.S. and international grape growers, producers, distributors, and retailers, Stoel Rives has played the lead role in dozens of transactions, including mergers, acquisitions, sales, debt and equity financings, production agreements, distribution agreements, leases, and water sharing agreements.

Winery Industry Association

The following is a list of associations for the winery industry:

  • American Wine Society: America’s largest community of wine explorers since 1967, the American Wine Society has 8,000 members who meet monthly in chapters nationwide to explore wine together through relaxed chapter tastings. It also offers a magazine, national tasting events, and much more.
  • Napa Valley Grape Growers Association: A community of wine industry leaders committed to working together to advance the heritage and reputation of the Napa Valley appellation.
  • Napa Valley Vintners: Founded in 1944, Napa Valley Vintners is a regional trade group with an active membership of hundreds of wineries, representing a tradition of dedicated vintners and grape growers who have worked and cared for this premier winegrowing region since the early 1800s.
  • Silverado Trail Wineries Associations: The STWA consists of more than 40 wineries and businesses along the historic Silverado Trail, which runs along the tranquil and scenic eastside of the world-famous wine region of Napa Valley, California.
  • WineAmerica: The only national wine industry association in the U.S., it is a 500-member strong organization that encourages the growth and development of American wineries and winegrowing through the advancement and advocacy of sound public policy.
  • Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America, Inc: The industry trade group representing wine and spirits wholesalers in the United States, WSWA is based in Washington, D.C. It was founded in 1943 and has 360 member companies in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
  • Wine Institute: A public policy advocacy organization, The Wine Institute represents over 1,000 California wineries and affiliated businesses.
  • Wine International Association: The WIA plays a constructive role in developing networking and commerce in the global wine sector to build a meaningful fine wine community by connecting wine leaders, professionals, businesses, and organizations.
  • World Wine Trade Group: A group of government and industry representatives from the wine-producing countries of Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Georgia, New Zealand, South Africa, the United States, and Uruguay, the group aims to facilitate the international wine trade through information sharing, discussing regulatory issues, and joint action to break down trade barriers.

Winery Industry Publications

The following is a list of publications in the winery industry:

  • Practical Winery & Vineyard: A bi-monthly magazine of winegrowing, winemaking, and wine marketing news and reviews.
  • The Grapevine Magazine: On a mission to connect buyers and suppliers in all geographical markets to strengthen and advance the viniculture industry with a readership of professionals in the winery and vineyard businesses. Its contributing writers are industry leaders from around the country, and their expertise provides the most valuable news, information, and research in the industry.
  • Triangle Around Town: Offers informed winery and brewery interviews, news coverage, wine and beer reviews, food pairings, and more. Although dedicated to the North Carolina wine and beer industry, it explores libations across the globe.
  • Vineyard Magazine: The only monthly publication in Great Britain dedicated to growing grapes and making wine, posted directly to each grower in England, Scotland, and Wales to keep them updated with what is happening in this exciting growth industry.
  • Wine & Spirits Magazine: Read by over 200,000 members of America’s wine community, consumers, and wine professionals, it provides information on established and up-and-coming regions and producers, the art and science of viticulture, industry happenings, and food and wine pairings. Wine & Spirits, the only wine publication to win the James Beard Award five times for excellence in wine writing, evaluates more than 15,000 bottlings annually.
  • Wine Business Publications: Covers industry business trends in the weekly newsletter, Wine Business Insider, and journal, Wine Business Monthly, for wine industry executives; also publishes the annual Wine Industry Directory and Almanac.
  • Wine Enthusiast Magazine: Brings acclaimed wine ratings and reviews, unique recipe ideas, pairing information, news coverage, and helpful guides to wine enthusiasts around the globe.

Resources (Books, Podcasts, etc.)

Following is a list of resources in the winery industry:

  • Books
    • The Business of Sustainable Wine: In this book by Sandra Taylor, the author offers a new view of how the industry can be an important factor in sustainable agriculture and provides a unique insight for the consumer on what to look for on supermarket shelves.
    • The Wine Bible: Comprehensive, entertaining, authoritative, and endlessly interesting, this book is a lively course from an expert teacher, grounding the reader deeply in the fundamentals like vineyards and varietals, climate and terroir, and the nine attributes of a wine’s greatness, while layering on tips, informative asides, anecdotes, definitions, photographs, maps, labels, and recommended bottles.
  • Podcasts
    • A Glass With: “A podcast that drinks with the stars,” hosted by award-winning wine expert, wine columnist, and author Olly Smith, where celebrity guests talk about their love for wine while having one with Smith.
    • I’ll Drink to That: An hour-long podcast led by hosts Levi Dalton, a wine editor for Eater NY, and Erin Scala, a wine blogger. The interview-based content offers an industry outlook rather than a consumer viewpoint. Yet, it is still approachable and interesting for the consumer as they gain an understanding of the wine market and how the wine industry operates.
    • UK Wine Show: As the name indicates, this podcast revolves around the UK wine world. Hosted by Chris Scott, it explores the wine scene in the UK, featuring interviews with winemakers, consumers, critics, and wine bar owners. It offers deep insights into the latest trends and hot topics within the wine industry, wine reviews, and breaking news in the wine world. With so many wine episodes, Chris claims to have started the UK’s first wine podcast.

Industry Information

  • NAICS Codes
    • 3121 – Beverage Manufacturing
    • 312130 – Wineries
    • 4248 – Beer, Wine, and Distilled Alcoholic Beverage Merchant Wholesalers
    • 424820 – Wine and Distilled Alcoholic Beverage Merchant Wholesalers
    • 4453 – Beer, Wine, and Liquor Retailers
  • SIC Codes
    • 5182 – Wine and Distilled Alcoholic Beverages
    • 2084 – Wines, Brandy, and Brandy Spirits
    • 5813 – Drinking Places (Alcoholic Beverages)
    • 5921 – Liquor Stores (Wine, Packaged – Retail)

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