Steps for Starting a Commercial Winery (Cidery, Meadery)
Thank you for considering what it takes to open a commercial winery! Loudoun grows more grapes and has more wineries than any other county in Virginia thanks to talented winemakers and entrepreneurs like you.
This page is designed to give you an overview of important considerations before establishing a commercial winery, but your specific situation may have different requirements. The Revised 1993 Loudoun County Zoning Ordinance is the ruling document.
Working with Loudoun County and Virginia Commonwealth staff will help verify that those requirements are met. Our combined goal is to ensure that your operation is safe for customers, so that your business can be successful.
Before establishing a commercial winery, it is important to understand what is permitted with that use. A commercial winery is subject to Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) regulations and applicable federal laws. Commercial wineries may, but are not required to grow agricultural products for the production of wine. Commercial wineries are defined to allow your business to:
- Produce and harvest fruit and other agricultural products;
- Manufacture and bottle wine;
- Offer for sale, taste, and consumption of wine on-premises during regular business hours;
- Directly sell and ship wine;
- Store and warehouse wine;
- Host educational activities and events.
Commercial wineries are not commercial/full-service kitchens, restaurants, or catering operation, however, you may choose to apply for a separate restaurant use if allowed in the zoning district.
Events associated with on-site wine production are regulated by ABC. Special events open to the public or private parties not open to the public and are by invitation only, such as weddings or wedding receptions, are regulated by Loudoun County (see Zoning Ordinance Section 5-500(C), Special Events).
While this page focuses on commercial wineries, think about what additional uses (if any) you might consider later. Communicating these additional uses to Loudoun County and Virginia Commonwealth staff up front can help avoid surprises later in the process. If you have questions at any point, please contact Loudoun Economic Development at 1-800-LOUDOUN.
Detailed contact information for County and Commonwealth regulatory departments can be found at the bottom of this page.