Vintner’s Circle: Franchise for Wine Lovers

Do you spend an inordinate amount of time both drinking wine and thinking about drinking wine?

That used to be seen as a bad thing.  But now it just means that you’re “living the wine lifestyle.”  And now there’s a franchise opportunity just for you.

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Interview with David Schmeltzle, CEO, Vintner’s Circle

I learned the term “living the wine lifestyle” in my recent interview with Vintner’s Circle founder David Schmeltzle.

How liberating! I thought.  It’s finally acceptable for me to come out of the closet, er, cellar and bring my Two Buck Chuck with me.

In fact, Americans from all walks of life are professing their love for the “wine lifestyle” and good, but inexpensive vino in record numbers.

And now Mr. Schmeltzle has introduced a franchise concept for, by and about their kind… a retail concept where like-minded wine-os can get together and make their very own wine for about $10 a bottle.

And, unlike my Uncle Cletus’  do-it-yourself hootchmaking concept in Tennessee, Vintner’s Circle’s is perfectly legal.

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david100Vintner’s Circle is a lifestyle business that enables people to enjoy wine, wine making and wine education. Our warm, comfortable retail winemaking shops are designed to make winemaking easy and fun and provide an atmosphere where our customers can enjoy time alone or with friends. In our Vintner’s Circle interview, David Schmeltzle explains the Vintner’s Circle retail wine store concept.

Top New Franchises: Tell us about the Vintner’s Circle store concept.

David Schmeltzle: Vintners Circle creates a fun and self-fulfilling environment where individuals vc100-04or groups of friends can meet to learn about wine making and handcraft their own wines. The Vintners Circle wine education series, in partnership with Wine Spectator and the Wine Spectator School, rounds out our commitment to the wine lifestyle.

We typically have two types of customers: those who make wine at home and those looking to make wine in our shops. Our retail store provides all the equipment, supplies and raw materials home winemakers need. Those who make wine in our stores can choose between individual and group sessions. We take care of all the equipment preparation and cleanup. We guide our customers through four simple steps about thirty minutes in duration spread out over seven weeks.

Top New Franchises: How did you come up with the idea for Vintner’s Circle? David Schmeltzle: My wife and I had traveled to Napa to celebrate a wedding anniversary. We became hooked on the “wine lifestyle” and winemaking and began looking for opportunities to have a vineyard and make wine. We quickly realized that we didn’t have enough knowledge to create the quality of wine we were accustomed to drinking. Nor was the climate in New Jersey as conducive to grape growing as it is in California. vc100-08

My grandfather had made wine and I wanted to learn to make high-quality wine. We decided not to grow grapes and didn’t want to be limited to producing wine only twice a year at harvest time (fall in the northern hemisphere and spring in the southern hemisphere). Crushing grapes and making 270 bottles of the same type of wine wasn’t practical for us. We liked too many different types of wine and wanted to create a variety of wine. That led us to find varietal juice suppliers that enabled us to make six gallons – about 28 bottles of wine – at a time.

We started making wine this way in our basement and we were hooked. Our concept took shape with a desire to create a retail winemaking shop that guided people through winemaking. We created a fun, entertaining retail store / winemaking environment where people feel relaxed and enjoy themselves while learning about wine and winemaking.

Top New Franchises: How many franchises are up and running?

David Schmeltzle: We have one company owned winemaking shop. We operate our franchise development and support team from office space in our company owned winemaking shop. We have a franchise in PA that is in transition to a new owner. A friend of mine started that franchise with the intent of growing and selling it. And we just launched a new franchise in Whippany, NJ. The Whippany store is currently in the build-out stage and is expected to open soon.

We are also very excited that our customers are becoming franchisees. We are currently working on several more locations whose franchise owners are customers who made wine with us.

Continue reading about Vintner’s Circle at Top New Franchises.

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Images:  Vintner’s Circle

Looking for wine franchises?  Check out the franchise opportunities at Top New Franchises.

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