Setting up a Vegan Wine Business

The Initial Idea

You may wonder what we’ve been up to over the last few months, well the answer is a lot of form filling and wading through red tape! When we first came up with the idea to sell vegan wine online, it seemed like a relatively simple idea. One that we could start off in a small way and get going quickly. However, this has not been the case.

Licensing Requirements

In order to sell wine in the UK, you need to hold a personal licence. In order to sell via the web, you need to obtain a premises licence for the place you dispatch from. The premises licence usually needs to be on a commercial property. From some internet based research, it appeared that gaining one on a domestic property is pretty challenging. With this in mind, I have opted to rent a storage unit. Luckily we are fortunate enough to live near a big storage place with a basement. The basement happens to be the perfect temperature to store vegan wine.

To get my personal licence, I attended an online course back in November. After sitting an exam, I was able to apply for and receive my licence just before Christmas. After doing this course, I can fully appreciate why this training is so important and why the process for obtaining a premises licence needs to be so involved. With my personal licence in hand, we were then able to apply for our premises licence at the beginning of January. Unfortunately, I messed up the application for this and had to resubmit towards the end of January. We now have to go through a 28 day consultation period. Hopefully once the consultation period has completed, we should be able to start trading online sometime in March.

What else have we been up to?

This delay is not the end of the world though. In the meantime, we’ve been meeting with suppliers, visiting vineyards and working on our new website. Check out this blog post on our trip to Polgoon.

We’ll also be appearing at a couple of events during February and March. At these events, we are covered by the event’s licence so we can offer samples to try and wine at discounted prices compared to our website. Come and find us at the following events:

  • Portishead Vegan Fair – Saturday 23rd February
  • Vegfest Brighton – Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th March

We also plan to be at a number of other markets and events over the summer. We will publish these once they are confirmed.

In the meantime, please keep liking our posts on social media and telling your friends about us. We want to take the headache out of finding a decent selection of vegan wines. The more customers we have, the more we can do in terms of better pricing and greater choice. As we’ll be giving 5% of our profits to charity, we will also be doing some good! We’re looking into which charities to support currently, so if anybody has any ideas please contact us.