A Dream come true
A dream come true...
‘Contemplating wine fi elds and memories
of cookies and wine in the Good
Week made me pursue my dream:
opening my own wine store’.
Six years ago, Juan Almonacid, coowner
of the ‘Wine Factory’ came to
Curaçao. He was born in Colombia and
grew up in Mexico. ‘I couldn’t picture
myself staying there. Once I touched
Curaçao soil, it felt so good I decided to
stay’. The Curaçao market is growing
and growing. The opening of the Wine
Factory took place on April 3rd 2008.
The store has wines intended for hotels,
restaurants and caterers that cannot be
found elsewhere in supermarkets, and
there is wine available for private use.
Wines are ranked by dry, sweet or
fruity. The Factory has around 280 different
wines. People can feel right at
home here, they can roam around and
go behind the cashier counter. They get
to try and taste everything but it is not
a restaurant. Some people enter the
Factory for lunch thinking they will be
served. This is how cosy things are at
People pass by after work to pick out a
lovely wine for the evening. ‘I always say:
the best wine is the wine you fi nd tasty.
It doesn’t need to be an expensive wine’.
From business plan till opening
Together with his family Mr Juan Almonacid
made a business plan and did
some marketing research. Included in
it were what will I earn and how will I
introduce my products? Then began the
search for an adequate location. Are you going to rent or are you going to build?
If you choose to build, who will build it
for you? The Wine Factory was built with
the help of an architect friend. ’I really
wanted stories for the wines, it is being
divided by boxes now. I saw this in Europe
and thought it was a brilliant idea’.
Through the Curaçao Chamber, Juan
Almonacid gathered a lot of information:
who are my competitors? How do
I set-up a business and how much will I
sell? They provide you with information
and know exactly how many people live
on the island, how many tourists there
are and at what time of the year.
Obtaining a permit is a very tiring thing
as you are dealing with the merry-goround
of Government. More clarity and
unanimity about duration and rules in
obtaining a permit would solve a whole
lot. If you knew so to speak that two
lavatories are required in a kitchen it
would already take away all the hassle
and hustle when they only inform you
about this during inspection. On top of
that came the fact that my permit was
more diffi cult to obtain due to the fact
that the Wine Factory also has a tasting
spot. It eventually took a year until
everything was settled in regards to this
permit. During that time you are busy
building up your business and you are
compelled to change your approach in
order to obtain this permit. That is the
reason why each time your costs change.
I was happy to have a part-time job at the
time, if not so, the waiting time for that
permit would fi nancially be heavy on
the heart. Make sure you have a precise
budget and pay attention to your reopening
budget, which is essential. The
permit request takes a long time and you
may not have an income. Make an early
permit request. ‘I know now that you
need a year in order to open up: from
business plan till opening date. Bare in
mind that other unforeseen costs such
as Aqualectra and petrol, can arise too’.
‘In my opinion, there should be more
pressure on the Government for a better
Curaçao. Enterpreneurship should
be promoted more, because I believe
in Curaçao and its people’ says Juan
The Wine Factory, Saliña.
Open daily from 10 am till 7 pm,
open at lunch. Closed on Sunday.