Wine drinking has become increasingly popular in the UK, with consumption rising by as much as 60% over the past ten years. It is estimated that the average wine consumption per person per year is around 20 litres, so there has probably never been a better time to consider opening your own wine bar.
Wine from as many as 43 separate countries is imported into the UK, so you do need to know your subject before you take the plunge. One way to gain experience is to find work in a wine bar, or you might prefer to undertake a wine course. Learning as much as you can about how to keep and serve different wines and how they are produced is important, as customers are often interested in the history of a certain wine or may ask for advice about which wines to serve with certain dishes.
Although wine bars were popular in the 80s, they have recently made a comeback. According to the Guardian wine bars today are all about the wine and less to do with the surroundings that characterised the 80s wine bar, although naturally, it is important to create the right ambience to attract your chosen clientele.
Other important considerations include finding the right location and researching factors such as local competition and the economy of the area, as this can have an effect on whether people have sufficient disposable income to spend in your business.
You need to be at least 18 years old and will usually be required to hold some form of licensing qualification. There are other stipulations, such as being able to demonstrate that you are a “fit and proper” person to hold a licence and not having a criminal record. The government website sets out the requirements for premises and personal licences that you will need.
The cost of opening a wine bar can vary widely, depending on whether you buy the property outright or lease it, and the location of your wine bar. Then you have to factor in the costs of fixtures and fittings. Some of these may be supplied by your suppliers, but others such as commercial bottle coolers are best sourced from companies such as Fridge Freezer Direct. Professional fees will be another large expense as will insurance premiums, and all this is before you have bought any stock at all.
In addition to your chosen selection of wines, you will need other beverages such as beer and soft drinks. Most wine bars also serve food and this is a further initial expense. Add in some general working capital and you will probably reach a figure somewhere between £25,000 and £200,000 depending on the location and size of the property you choose.
When you have decided to go ahead and open your wine bar, you will need to promote it both in printed form and on social media platforms. It can be a good idea to arrange specific events such as wine appreciation classes or live music nights and hand out flyers in appropriate local venues to attract your first customers.