No matter your reasons for digging into vineyard financing, we can tell you one thing: you’re on a great path! Albeit challenging at times (as is any agricultural endeavor), owning a vineyard can be a fulfilling, enjoyable way of life. Whether you’re riding solo to start out or joining forces with friends or family members, our expert ag lenders at United Ag Lending can help you along in your financing journey.

Before we get into how, though, we want to start from the very beginning. These are the steps you’re going to want to follow when you’re looking into vineyard financing.  

Step 1: Build your plan 

A vineyard is a big investment up front; it’s important to go into it with some sort of plan. The more you have mapped out, the easier it will be down the road. Why do you want to start a vineyard? What do you plan to do with it?  

Maybe you have a passion for wine and want to sell directly to the customers in your community. Or, maybe you want to cultivate your own vineyard for enjoyment rather than income. Many vintners (or winemakers) have chosen to host special events at their wineries, like weddings, tasting events, or winemaking classes. The opportunities for a vineyard are endless, we just recommend having your goals set.  

Why You Should Consider Winery Financing → 

The goal may be the hardest part, but once that’s set, you know what to work toward. The next steps are the logistics: what size land you need/want, the location, whether you’re planning to live on the land, and the loan amount you’ll need. 

Step 2: Assess your finances

This step goes hand-in-hand with the previous one. When developing your plan, you’re likely going to be simultaneously assessing your finances. Some lenders have rigid requirements, while others—like us—have more flexible programs and requirements. 

How much are you able to contribute for a down payment? What are your repayment capabilities? How long of a term do you want? Will you need environmental assessments of the land, construction, and a ton of equipment you don’t currently have? This will take some careful financial planning. 

Our programs at United Ag Lending do not cover expenses for construction and equipment; they are designed to provide you with your dream real estate. If you come to us for your vineyard financing needs, we’ll assess your financials, such as:

  • Credit score
  • Income 
  • Assets
  • Debt  

Step 3: Choose a loan program

When you’re developing your plan and assessing your finances, you’ll likely be looking at a variety of different loan programs that fit your plans. At United Ag Lending, this takes place during our initial consultation.

Depending on your goals, our lenders will match you up with your best program options. If your venture is commercially-motivated, a land loan may be best. If your vineyard is hobby-driven, your plans would fit into a hobby farm or rural residential loan. The good news is: we do them all! Keep reading to learn more about each of our loan program options.

Land loan

Sometimes the best way to start a vineyard is by starting from scratch. With a land loan, you have the complete freedom to make the land you buy your own. As long as your finances, land location, and land use match our program requirements, we can support your plans.  

Keep in mind that in order to sustain your vineyard you’ll have to ensure there will be access to fertile soil, utilities, and other resources. Check out our guide to getting a farm land loan to learn more. 

Our land loan requirements:

  • Property is agricultural in nature
  • Property is a minimum of 10 acres 
  • Your credit score is 680+

Commercial loan

You’ve got business goals, and we’ve got the support you need. Whether you’re looking to expand your current business or start a new one, we’re ready to hear your plans and provide you with commercial loan program options. 

As agricultural experts, we recognize that your vineyard is different from any other ones we’ve seen. Our programs reflect this through customizable terms and options. We’re determined to find out what works for you and your business.  

Our commercial farm loan requirements:

  • Minimum loan amount of $500K
  • 680 minimum credit score
  • Property is 10+ acres

Hobby farm loan

Another option for vineyard financing is our hobby farm loan program. This program is for people who are looking to cultivate their vineyard for fun and fulfillment, rather than a main income. You can certainly earn supplemental income with your hobby farm, but unless you’re a dedicated vintner/winemaker, it’ll remain more of a hobby and side income. 

We’ve extended financing to folks who have started off with a hobby farm loan for their vineyard and ended up growing it into something beyond a hobby. That’s acceptable too. As long as you’re comfortable with your goals and expectations, we won’t steer you wrong with any of our programs. 

Our hobby farm requirements: 

  • Property is agricultural in nature
  • Property is a minimum of 5 acres 
  • 680 minimum credit score
  • Land has a pre-existing home on it, serving as your primary or secondary residence 

Rural residential loan

While our rural residential and hobby farm loan programs are similar, the goals behind them are different. When seeking vineyard financing through a rural residential loan program, that tells us that you want to live a rural lifestyle and it is likely a higher priority to you than a vineyard itself. However, with either of the two programs, you can have both the rural living and the vineyard! 

Leave it up to our loan experts to talk everything through with you and figure out what type of financing suits you best. Our programs were made to fit into your plans—not the other way around. 

Our rural residential loan requirements (same as hobby farm): 

  • Property agricultural in nature
  • Property is a minimum of 5 acres
  • 680 minimum credit score
  • Land has a pre-existing home on it, serving as your primary or secondary residence

Step 4: The application process

After you’ve nailed down your plans, shopped around, weighed out your options, and found the loan and terms that work for you, your lender will provide you with an application. At United Ag Lending, we support our customers on their entire vineyard financing journey. This means helping them through the application process and being available to them anytime they need, even 10 or more years later! 

Having lenders who genuinely care about your ventures is integral to not only a successful lender/borrower relationship, but a successful vineyard. 

Step 5: Stay in touch 

After you make your way through the application process, get approved, and get your vineyard up and running, your lenders should still be there for support and questions you need answered. 

Financing can feel overwhelming at times, so having solid, expert support makes all the difference. A reputable lender won’t disappear the moment you’ve signed the contract. At United Ag Lending, we’re here to stay.  

How to choose the right lenders

As we mentioned before, it’s important to find lenders who genuinely care. When you work with lenders who have expertise and compassion, you can’t lose. We’ll always recommend partnering specifically with agricultural lenders for a vineyard loan because they have background knowledge and expertise on agriculture. Where traditional loan programs are more set in stone and rigid, agricultural loan programs are more flexible and customizable. 

Working with an ag lender also makes processes smoother because they’ll understand some of the challenges you may face and how to anticipate them. It’s always a positive to have someone in your corner who understands what you’re experiencing. 

Related: 5 Things To Look for in an Ag Lender → 

How can I ensure my ag lenders are reputable?  

One of the best ways to ensure your lenders are reputable and dependable is by assessing how you feel throughout the process of working with them. How do they communicate with you from the first point of contact to the last? Are instructions clear and concise? 

Another way to gauge your lender’s dependability is by reading any reviews and testimonials you can find. After all, financing is never something to just “take a chance on.” 

Turn to United Ag Lending 

If you’re looking for vineyard financing from ag experts who have your back, you’re in the right place. At United Ag Lending, we have a wealth of experience in financing all types of agricultural real estate, and vineyards are no exception. The first step in our process is a non-committal conversation where we’ll get to know you and your goals. 

Schedule a consultation