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Contract considerations for grape growers and wineries

The relationship between wineries and grape growers is mutually satisfactory. The winery needs the grapes to produce its product so they purchase grapes from the grower. The contract between these two parties helps to protect everyone involved. 

There are several things that should be included in the contract that goes beyond what most contracts entail. Many of those have to do with the quality of grapes since those directly impact the quality of the wine.

What other contract terms do these contracts need?

As with most contracts, these should include the identifying information for both parties, as well as dispute resolution methods. They should also include:

  • Term of the contract, which can be a single season or many seasons
  • Quality of the grapes, which can include any parameters agreed up by both parties
  • Method of pricing for the grapes, which is usually per ton
  • Payment method, which includes how the payment is made and when it must be paid
  • Delivery terms, which can include how the winery will get the grapes

There are often terms in the contract that cover what happens if the grapes are substandard and don’t meet the terms of the contract. In many cases, wineries will start off with short-term contracts until they determine if the grape grower is a good fit for their product.

It’s imperative that you only sign a contract if the terms protect your business. The other party will want it to protect their interests. Having someone to review the contract to ensure that it meets the requirements necessary is important. You shouldn’t ever sign one without reading it and fully understanding the terms.