The costs of vineyard establishment will vary widely, depending on a number of factors. A significant portion of the initial outlay will be alleviated if items such as land, and farm staples such as tractors and wagons, are already on hand. Total labor costs can be minimized if the vineyard owner does the work, or a significant part of it, himself. (One exception is harvest, which must be accomplished in a relatively brief time span and therefore requires additional labor forces).
It is advisable to start small and expand as needed. Minimal equipment is required for up to 3 acres, after which significantly larger equipment will be required.
Many of the expenses are one-time costs, such as site preparation, purchase of vines, trellis posts, etc. So the initial year's outlay will appear rather formidable -- although some of the costs, such as posts and trellis wire, can be spread out over, or even delayed until, the second year. Once the vines are established (usually the 3rd year), expenses should be fairly consistent.
The following budget chart is based on figures from several commercial vineyards of at least five acres in Maryland and Virginia, and assumes a hospitable site --ie, acceptable soil and weather conditions. Vine and trellis spacing differed somewhat in the vineyards sampled, but the costs were fairly consistent. The simplest trellis/wire configuration (2-wire double cordon) is assumed, although later addition of extra support wires is also factored in.
Labor costs are included, but not insurance, taxes, financing or data management time (marketing, sales, promotion, public relations, meetings, contract negotiations, etc). Labor is based on a rate of 7.50/hr, and amounts to approximately 40% of the total operating budget.