GWH Blog

Creating Your Private Label Wine Brand

A private label can be a powerful tool for your business. Private labels have been utilized in the food and beverage industry for many decades.  Whether you are a distributor, retailer, restaurant, or other business in the beverage or hospitality industry, this can be an important part of your sales program. This can allow you to increase control relating to quality, supply, costs and branding.

Gravity Wine House Vineyard Sourcing

Identify the Goals for Your Label

The objective of your label is one of the first items to define. There may be several reasons that you are looking to create a private label. These could include the following:

  • Deliver exactly the type of wine your customers are looking for.
  • Create a selection of wine that provides a unique set of offerings that differentiates you in the marketplace.
  • Increase your profit margin by controlling supply costs.
  • Gain control of your wine quality by evaluating wines and blends prior to bottling.
  • Grow your existing brand exposure.
  • Build your company’s valuation by developing dedicated wine brands alongside existing business operations.
  • Maintain control of your product supply. Gain consistency, reduce exposure to shortages or cost hikes.

Define Your Wine and Style

Do you operate a steakhouse and need a bold Cabernet Sauvignon to pour consistently by the glass? Or are you a distributor that wants a go-to offering of rich Chardonnay that can be a staple in your portfolio? Whatever you needs are, defining your style will be a critical part of your brand’s success. It is likely that you already know based on your customers. If not, you have several options to find out the best production path. A study of existing sales data can provide you with information that can guide your decision to popular wines in your portfolio. If you are looking to build a new market share, you may gain info by talking to you customers or wine director for insights into the potential.

Start broad with the variety that you want to work with and then narrow down the wine style. Depending on your customers, goals, or budget, you will need to explore many production options.

Wine is unique and is the expression of a company vision or winemaker.

Gravity Wine House Private Label Blending

Blending is a critical step for defining and maintaining a consistent style of wine for your label.

Custom Crush Facilities and Winemakers: Find your production partner

Who is making, blending and bottling your wine? Identifying your ideal partner is a critical step. A custom crush facility, like Gravity Wine House, is such a place and can be an invaluable partner. A custom crush winery is one that provides equipment, management, and winemaking to craft wines for a variety of customers. These facilities can be thought of as the equivalent of a co-packer in the food industry.  Your facility partner should have expertise with this field and a great network for sourcing grapes, wine and your bottling supplies (glass, cork, etc). They will be able to tell you exactly where to obtain and create wines of certain styles. Not only is your partner instrumental in achieving the quality wine you want, but also ensuring your likelihood for recreating your wines for subsequent production runs.

Your contact should also be well-versed enough to not only answer all your questions, but also share things you may not know to ask. What type of liner do you need in your screw cap closures? What are the impacts of different colors of glass bottles on wine quality and its ability to age? What quality grade of corks are adequate or consummate with the retail price of your wine? There are many details that need to be considered for your wine. Further, if the style of wine you want is very common, it may be easy to source and produce. If your wine requires more time to source, or if you are starting with grapes and vineyard sourcing, you may need a winemaker to dedicate time to source, craft or blend your wine.

Gravity Wine House Private Label Wine 2

Compliance

Those already in the wine industry know that compliance is something that needs to be considered in advance of all wine production topics. Most private label production concludes with purchasing finished cases of wine. In this case, you avoid needing to have your own bonded winery license. If your business is not currently in the business of selling wine, you will need to explore a permit that is most appropriate for your usage.

Your location can also have an impact on the ease of acquiring your wine. If you are in a different state you will need to comply with the three-tier system, meaning you will need a distributor to acquire and move the wine between state lines. If you are a distributor, well, then this process just got a lot easier! Some states are even easier to work with, and if you are in the same state as your production facility, this may not even be a factor.

A more straightforward part of your compliance checklist is the label approval, or COLA. This is the TTB verification that a bottle of wine is labeled with all the appropriate wording and font sizes to meet federal alcohol labeling standards. There will be other compliance matters to cover before submitting your COLA. It can all sound intimidating, but your facility will walk you through the process.

Costs and Forecasts

Like most things, private labels come with cost considerations. But with this is another positive that it can allow you to gain some control over your costs. By defining the price of your wine, grapes and by sourcing direct from a supplier, you can work to reduce or stabilize your costs. You also can have the input into deciding how your fees get structured. Most of the time you can define a target price and your custom crush facility can share methods to achieve that price. Does your wine need to be under a certain price per case to attain a set by-the-glass target? Having options to source from different regions can greatly impact that. Your winemaker may be able to work with the flexibility allowed in blending to deliver you a higher quality wine for less cost.

One of the largest considerations in your wine production will be the payment terms that you confirm in your production agreement. Depending on your timeline and desired process, developing your wine can take place over the course of two months or two years. Private label contracts usually require some percentage of the total project paid in advance as a deposit, followed by periodic payments until final payments at bottling or shipping of the wine.

Know your sales rate or create sales goals so you know how long you will be carrying your inventory.

What is Your Story and How is it Marketed?

Customers want to know the story behind a wine. From a $15 bottle of California Sauvignon Blanc to a $100 bottle of Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, every wine has a story. This will need to be considered when crafting your wine. Who will be communicating the messaging of your wine? If you are training your staff to sell the wine, they need some brand story, copy or flyers to educate them and help promote this wine or you may not meet sales goals. Bottle images or photography from vineyards and the winemaking process can do this. This can all also serve as guides to help someone tell the story of your wine—and also show it’s authenticity and help to get customers excited about your wine. If Gravity is your partner in your label, we can help provide some of these marketing tools from your team. We can offer items from tech sheets with production details, to label design, photography and more. Contact us if you would like to learn more about what Gravity Wine House can offer regarding your wine label.