The Grapevine

External Factors Affecting Your Wine Shop

March 28th, 2017

One of the keys to happiness and success in owning a wine shop, as with so many pursuits, is being able to tell the difference between the things you can control and those you can’t. Those you can’t control – like, for example, Brexit or the price of land in Napa Valley – can still affect your business. You just have to deal with them differently. [level-members]

Those two examples, which came to mind based on recent articles on Wine-Searcher (Does Napa Have too Much Cab?) and from the Guardian in the UK (Wine and The Brexit Effect), show that what you stock and who you appeal to will depend to some extent on things you can’t control.

Now, these two examples may not be all that applicable to your shop – Brexit is really not going to affect us here stateside, at least not on the wine front, and you may not be stocking may Napa Valley cabernets anyway, given the prices they tend to come in at.

But there are events that will affect your business that are much more macro-economic than micro-economic. Like, perhaps, a changing demographic in your area. Is the population aging? Or conversely, are a lot of younger families moving into your area? Both tend to drink a bit less wine than the generations in between. (Though for different reasons.)

These events, even though they are outside your control, bear watching – and thinking about. It can be helpful to go through what are probably just thought exercises like, What if my area suddently became entirely fixed-income retirees? What could I do to attract their business? What are they interested in? How could I survive?

Note that you aren’t asking whether you’d survive; that’s idle speculation that isn’t going to gain you any useful knowledge. But mapping out a possible strategy for thriving in a suddenly changed market could give you fresh perspective and creative ideas for thriving even in your current market conditions. That makes thinking about even things you can’t control worth your business-planning time.