9 Questions to Ask a Contractor Before a Winery Construction Project

In this guide, we list questions you can ask a prospective general contractor for a winery construction project that will set the foundation for success.  

Trinchero Estate Tasting Room renovation and remodel completed by FDC in Sonoma County
Trinchero Estate Tasting Room – Renovation and Remodel completed by FDC in Sonoma County

What to Ask a Prospective General Contractor for a Winery Construction Project and Why 

One of the most pivotal decisions in the winery construction process is selecting the right general contractor to manage your project. Designing and building a winery requires a unique blend of expertise, creativity, and precision, so it’s crucial to partner with professionals who share your vision and understand the intricacies of winemaking.

In this guide, we list questions you can ask a prospective general contractor for a winery construction project that will set the foundation for success. From experience in the winery construction industry to project management expertise, we’ll explore the criteria that will ensure your chosen general contractor is not just a builder but a partner in the creation of a winery that stands the test of time. 

1. Do You Have Winery Construction Experience?

Winemaking is a specialized field that requires immense amounts of insider knowledge, and relevant experience is a must. A general contractor will need to know the ins and outs of the wine industry to create a facility that will be both functional and aesthetically beautiful. Asking a prospective contractor about their hands-on experience will ensure that they have a working knowledge of the quality standards, legal regulations, permitting requirements, and best practices of the winery industry.

2. Can You Provide References or Past Work Examples?

MURRIETA’S WELL Winery General Contractor Project in Livermore, CA
Murrietta’s Well Winery – General Contractor Project completed by FDC in Livermore, CA

When searching for the right winery construction firm for your facility, it’s important to view tangible evidence of their work. Examples of past projects can offer insights into a company’s values and capabilities. One way to access these examples is through a portfolio of past winery construction projects, which will contain photos and details about each project, or by contacting any references given to you by the firm upon request. 

3. How Do You Manage Communication?

Effective communication is the glue that holds any commercial construction project together. A good general contractor will have a transparent approach to communication with their client as well as the team. 

When it comes to client communications, an experienced contractor should have a system in place for providing you with regular updates on the project’s progress. Asking about this during the vetting process can help align expectations between you and the contractor, fostering collaboration from start to finish. 

Similarly, a clear approach to internal communication is always something you should look for during your search for a general contractor. Inquiring about this can provide insights into how they ensure effective management and coordination among subcontractors and other team members.  

4. What Is Your Design Process Like?

A client shakes hands with a winery general contractor in a blue shirt over a desk.

Design and functionality are connected in winery construction. Design affects not only the appearance of your facility but the efficiency of wine production as well. Good winery design is also vital for all hospitality aspects of your future facility, including restaurants, tours, tasting rooms, wine caves, and more.  

It’s always important to inquire about a company’s design philosophy to make sure that it aligns with yours. For example, if sustainable winery design is a part of your vision, asking about a general contractor’s specific experience in this field can ensure they meet your criteria.  

5. What is Your Process for Ensuring Quality?

Quality is key in an industry as competitive as winemaking. The functionality of your production facility will directly impact the quality of your future product. A suitable winery general contractor should have quality control measures in place to ensure the best possible results once construction is complete. 

6. How Do You Manage Timelines and Scheduling? 

A close up shot of a desk filled with blueprints and documents to show the winery construction design process.

During the winery construction process, meeting timelines is an essential part of getting your production facility functional and profitable as quickly as possible. Asking about a company’s project management strategy will allow you to see how they plan to create efficient timelines, avoid project delays, and handle potential setbacks promptly. 

7. How Do You Approach Budget Allocation? 

Budget determines nearly all stages of the winery construction process. Every project is designed around what can and can’t be done with the available funds. You must work with a general contractor who understands the importance of pre-construction planning and value engineering to ensure that budgeting is as accurate and cost-efficient as possible. 

8. How Do You Manage Permitting and Compliance Regulations? 

It’s critical to ask a potential contractor about their knowledge of permits and compliance to ensure that all regulatory aspects of your winery’s construction are up to code. You should also verify the credentials of each prospective company on your list. You can visit the Contractors State License Board website to check the status of a contractor license number. 

9. What Measures Do You Have in Place to Combat Delays?

A general contractor in a blue shirt looks over plans for winery construction at a desk.

Although steps can be taken to mitigate risk as much as possible, construction projects are often unpredictable, and some setbacks should be expected. It’s a good idea to ask about a company’s problem-solving and adaptability, and if they implement steps like pre-construction planning beforehand to prepare for potential setbacks like project delays, budget surprises, weather, and more.  

FDC: A Leader in The Winery Construction Industry for Over 50 Years 

Choosing the right general contractor to take on your winery construction project can feel like an intimidating process, but it doesn’t have to be. Using these questions as a guide when selecting a licensed general contractor can help you choose a company that aligns with your overall vision. 

For decades, Facility Development Company (FDC) has been embedded in the winemaking industry. We are proud to provide general contracting and commercial construction services that have defined the rigorous quality standards of Wine Country. From start to finish, the expert team at FDC will work closely with you to ensure that all aspects of your winery’s design and construction meet and exceed your expectations to create a facility you can be proud of. 

To learn more about the services we offer, contact us online or give us a call at (707) 523-1722.