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Wine/Retail Wine Shop


I was wondering if there was any reading that you recommend on starting your own wine shop. I know there is a lot to deal with, regarding licensing and large startup costs with inventory so I want to be as well versed and educated as I can on the subject before moving forward, which would be several years down the road.

Hi Heather

What a great question!  And I am afraid I have a disappointing answer for you--there is no such book.

The reason for this is twofold:

1.  The laws of each state are set by that stste's Alcohol Beveragee Control board--and the vary significantly from state to state.  When it comes to the legalitites, you might check with youir local state ABC to see if they have a handbook to help you.

2. On the marketing side, each market is quite different, so the products that sell in a suburb of Toledo wull be different from those popular in New York...

I would suggest that you do some preliminary market research to determine these three factors:

--how much wine would you have to sell every day to make this a profitable business.
--what other stores are in the area, and how could you be different?
--how big is the total wine market in your are--and how much of it will you need to attract to be successful?

Hope that helps!

Paul Wagner


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Paul Wagner


Wines of the world, wine a food matching, wine and food service questions. I currently teach Wine courses at Napa Valley College, am an international wine judge, written many articles for publication, and have been a guest speaker at way too many wine conferences to remember. 25 years in the business. With Liz Thach and Janeen Olsen, I authored the definitive book on wine marketing: Wine Marketing & Sales, Strategies for a Saturated Market by The Wine Appreciation Guild, which won the Gourmand International Award in 2008 for the best wine book for professionals! With Rick Kushman of Capital Public Radio, I host a radio show and podcast called Bottletalk at, where I answer questions about wine and food on the air.


30 years in the business.

Society of Wine Educators, Academy of Wine Communications, American Wine Society

Vineyard and Winery Management Magazine, Fine Wine Journal, les Amis du Vin Journal, Society of Wine Educators Journal, and more.

I have taught at Napa Valley College for the last twenty years.

Awards and Honors
Spanish National Wine Fair: A lifetime dedicated to wine award. Espaderino della Castelania di Soave in Italy.

Past/Present Clients
Wineries include Caymus, Wente, Parducci, Shannon Ridge, Paul Dolan Wines, Vigilance, and others. Wine regions include the Union des Grand Crus de Borcdeaux, Union des Grands Crus de St. Emilion, Consorzio di Chianti CLassico, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Consorzio di Franciacorta, Rioja Alavesa, and others.

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