There are roughly 10,000 wineries in the US that together employ around one million people and generate about $220 billion annually. As it is for any industry it’s challenging for small producers to compete with large multi million-dollar companies. This is a huge challenge many small wine producers face, but we believe there's room for everyone to succeed.
Selling to stores is difficult for small wine producers; there are few businesses that can afford to take on inventory from a small producer with limited brand popularity. It’s much easier to take on inventory from well-known wine businesses.
At Merchant of Wine, we love to support the small guys. Large corporations have so much funding and so many resources it's relatively easy for them to sell wine. We prefer to support the family businesses, the small businesses, and the individual winemakers who are passionate about making great wine.
This list of top brands are producers you will never see at Merchant of Wine. They are well-funded and growing rapidly and quite frankly they don't need our support.
Here are 3 reasons why we support small wine producers:
1. Big Wineries control the big box retailers - publicly traded companies and highly levered chain wine brands control the grape growers… telling them what to plant and how much they are willing to pay. Small producers and importers fight different battles, and represent the free markets. Paying "the market” price for fruit, sourcing from smaller farmers … sourcing better sustainable fruit… supporting increasing wages, increasing costs that farmers are facing. Small producers need to find retail partners like us and we need to have it mean something. We may need to work a little harder to find the wines and they may not always be in stock, but this is the magic of our industry…. We discover new things in doing so…. And keep the supply chain healthy for both the larger commodity wines… and the smaller independents.
2. We can not ask you to support us - a small retailer - if we are not different enough and good enough to replace the big box services. We supporting smaller producers to support our own Ethos… and to continue the love of fine wine and the future of a quality oriented wine market, especially while restaurants are struggling - we ask you to vote for smaller producers and smaller retailers… during this difficult time. #Smallbusiness #SHOPLOCAL #Buysmall
3. When you support small producers you are supporting artists and you are supporting the discovery process. Try something new - refrain from falling into the pit falls of same same… wine should never be like coca-cola…. Wine is a journey. Artists have always had this struggle … buy the same from the big … or buy the undiscovered from the small…. We don’t need everyones business but we do need enough people to support the smaller producers to keep the hopes of many smaller artists alive.
We think you will see that smaller producers make smaller amounts of better wine… and take better care of the wine in the process. It may cost you a few dollars more but maybe not..… Isn’t this what the world needs? We don’t want to live in a world where everyone drives the same car, wears the same clothes, shops at the same place, and for gods sake - we don’t want everyone to drink the same wine…. Right?
Team Merchant of Wine