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Understanding Winery Insurance

Winery insurance in Mercer Island, Seattle, Bellevue, Tacoma, Everett and all of Washington.

When customers are sitting down to enjoy a nice glass of Riesling or Cabernet Sauvignon at one of Washington’s wineries, the last thing that they’re likely to be thinking about is insurance. They’re focused on having a good time with friends and family, enjoying the scenery and discerning which varietal they like best. But it’s much different for the person behind the bar. Running a winery is very complex, and in order to be fully covered under a comprehensive winery insurance policy there are several different areas of coverage that must be explored. We’ll guide you through a few of them in this summary.

Winemakers must insure every step of the winemaking process. This includes crop planting and harvesting, fermenting, bottling, storing and bringing the wine to market. Every step carries some element of risk: a grape harvester could suffer an injury out in the fields, or bottling equipment could break down. An insect infestation could ruin the crop, or theft, vandalism or fire could rob a winery of its hard-earned product. Obviously, there are a ton of potential risks to account for.

The most basic area of coverage that wineries need is business property coverage. This protects the entire building or structure of the winery, along with its contents. Wine-making machinery, related equipment, bottled stock and aging barrels are all covered under this type of insurance. There are also additional business property areas of insurance for wineries that have been created specifically for their needs. These include tank collapse or tank leakage coverage, or mobile equipment coverage that protects certain types of agricultural equipment.

Crop insurance is another crucial area of coverage to possess. The entire enterprise depends on the quality of the grapes being grown, so a poor harvest can sink the business entirely. A comprehensive winery insurance program will include provisions for weather damage, vine disease, fires and even floods.

Wineries should also consider purchasing coverage for wine that is being stored or is currently in transit. This may not be a large area of business for smaller wineries, but more commercial establishments should not delay in purchasing this coverage. Coverage varies for wine that is being stored on the property versus in a third-party location, and likewise for wine that is being shipped by a winery employee or by a third-party transit company. A qualified insurance expert can help you parse through the details and decide which type of insurance is necessary for your business to have.

Wineries that are customer-facing and include tasting room options need to have still more diverse types of insurance. Wine bar insurance should include a general liability insurance package that protects the winery against third-party bodily injury or property damage claims. If a customer slips on your cobblestone hallway, you don’t want to be held responsible for their medical bills or be susceptible to a lawsuit. Any establishment that sells alcoholic beverages also needs liquor liability insurance for instances of bodily injury or property damage that result from the consumption of alcohol.

There’s usually one question on every winery owner’s mind: how much does winery insurance cost? Winery insurance packages come in all different shapes, sizes and costs. Insurance for wineries can be fairly bare bones, or it can include exotic protections such as cyber liability insurance or even product recall coverage. It is really up to you and your agent to decide on your needs and come up with the proper package to meet them. Give us a call or check out our website to request a quote, and start selling all the Washington fruit and ice wine that you can produce!

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