Is there anything more that can be offered to the person who is completely taken with wine, the wine country experience and the winemaking experience? Well, of course, there’s always something more. This person could buy a winery. Or, they could go down to their local strip mall and make a little wine for themselves.
This is the concept behind a relatively new franchise business called Roseville Winery (aka: Letsmakewine.com). For what appears to be a maximum investment of about $300,000 franchises are being sold that allow you to market the winemaking opportunity to folk who want to make their own wine, but not own a winery. At the four Roseville Winery franchises located in Florida and Colorado a customer enters, chooses the kind of wine they want to "make" and bottle as their own. The Roseville Winery store then, presumably, mixes the concentrate they purchase from around the world (promised to be the best concentrate available on the market) with water, ferment it, then bottle it with your own name on the label.
So, we are dealing with two opportunities here: 1) the opportunity to sell a winemaking experience to wine lovers who can’t own their own winery and 2) the opportunity to run down to the local strip mall (this is where "Letsmakewine.com franchise sellers say is the best location) and make your own wine.
There is a lot to ridicule here, particularly if you are serious about good wine. But I don’t think I want to do that. It’s too easy and it doesn’t expose the bigger picture.
The wine industry in America has always known they need to turn this country into one that includes a "wine drinking" culture, or at least a sub culture of some size, in order to see the industry grown significantly. It strikes me that the existence of Roseville Winery franchises are one indication that we might be turning in that direction. Sure, there’s a bit of hope and folly involved in the idea of a winemaking franchise in a strip mall. But this doesn’t mean such a venture will not succeed. And if it does succeed with more and more franchises opening across the country I don’t see how you can conclude anything other than it being good for the development in a growing interest in wine in America and perhaps even the development of America as a "wine drinking country" on the level of Europe.
Now, at this point I’m not running out to buy a franchise. I have no desire to make wine, let alone wine from grape concentrate. But this concept is something to consider for what it says about the development of wine appreciation in America