Five Facts About the Wine Industry’s and Success In the Wine Industry

A clear eyed understanding of the wine industry is the prerequisite for the industry’s health and for success working in the industry. Too often I bump up against folks in the industry that don’t appreciate some basic truths about the industry. This, in turn, leads folks who want to succeed in the wine industry down a path that inevitably runs up against roadblocks.

The five facts that follow are among the most important clear-eyed views of the wine industry that should be kept in mind by anyone concerned with the health of the wine industry, the future of the wine industry and their own success within the wine industry.

1-The Wine Industry is not elitist.
It may have an archaic regulatory structure in the U.S. and the industry itself may have ancient origins, but the barriers to entry into the industry are very low while the product itself can be purchased for next to nothing.

2-The wine industry is really a very dynamic industry. 
The wine industry, everywhere, appears to be a dull and unchanging enterprise; even static in its response to change, to market evolution and to technological innovation. But this appearance is completely related to the fact that you can’t speed up the annual ripening of grapes no matter what innovations in AI or telecommuting are impacting society. Its agricultural origin will always make wine appear to be a static industry, when in fact innovation, technological and social, is a constant within the wine industry.

3-Issues of lack of diversity are not the primary threat to the vibrancy of the wine industry
Industry and economic vibrancy are downstream of culture. The wine industry will react to cultural and social changes as a matter of course and naturally. Moreover, a more diverse workforce in the industry can’t change the allure of the product or the way it is produced and sold because it won’t change the nature of the product. The primary threats to the health and vibrancy of the wine industry are higher taxes, economic malaise and regulatory inertia.

4. Certifications are among the least important paths to success in the wine industry
The various certifications that may be obtained by those looking to work or working now in the industry are poor substitutes for hard and strategic work ethics. The need to know the soil composition of various Spanish grape-growing regions is far down on the list of prerequisites for industry advancement. Networking, hard work, general industry knowledge and practical intelligence are a much more likely path to success in the industry than a certification.

5. Nothing is more important for understanding wine’s allure than the fact that it contains alcohol
Despite some people’s inability to consume alcohol in moderation, it is the presence of alcohol in wine that defines this product, the way it is sold, and its utility. Without alcohol, it’s just grape juice. Everything about the product, from its use to its regulation to its ancient roots is intimately connected to the fact that its consumption alters the body chemistry and often the way its consumers react to it. This fact is the most forgotten piece of the puzzle among those that work in the wine industry.


3 Responses

  1. Jimmy Kawalek - May 18, 2021

    When I decided to transition from tech into wine, I was told over and over again “great chops in sales and marketing but what do you know about wine?” and the door promptly closed. So along with building relationships by knocking on a LOT of doors I did obtain my CS. I did my studies while building relationships and carrying a bag of wine from account to account. I started at the bottom and hustled. Even years later I continue to expand my network along with my travel and studies. None of this is a one and done… it is always WIP.

  2. Paul Franson - May 18, 2021

    Wine contains alcohol? I thought it was bottled poetry…

  3. Han Sjakes - May 19, 2021

    1. Don’t know about abstinent poets. Most of them are evangelists 😉
    2. So you solved the ‘would you drink wine if there is no alcohol involved’, Tom


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