Naked Wines invests $8.5m in 22 winemakers in USA and Australia
NORWICH, England and NAPA, Calif., May 15, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Naked Wines, the UK’s fastest growing online wine retailer, is investing $8.5m in 2012 to help 22 talented winemakers from the USA and Australia to set up or build their own businesses.
Among the projects are:
- $400K AUD to help Sam Plunkett, who made the Best Shiraz in Australia at the 2010 Great Australian Shiraz Challenge, set up his own label
- A project with celebrated Californian winemaker, Randall Grahm, to develop a range of exclusive wines
- $1.4M USD to create a winemaking studio in Napa, California, where winemakers can do what they’re good at (i.e. make wine) and leave the funding, bottling, sales and distribution to Naked Wines
Rowan Gormley, Naked Wines Founder says:
“When we finally worked out that a $50 bottle of Napa Cabernet costs $10 to make, and we can sell it for $15, we knew we had no choice but to get in on the ground floor.
By backing the talent BEHIND the big names, and investing in top quality grapes, we will produce wines equal to the best, at a fraction of the price.
With 100,000 Angels investing 2m pounds Sterling a month with us, we have the financial firepower to kick-start some really exciting projects.
In exchange, our Angels will get exclusive access to these super premium wines at prices that will annoy the hell out of our competitors – typically 40-50% off.
We aim to allow American and Australian wine drinkers access to these wines too, by opening low-key retail operations in both countries over the Summer. We expect it will be some time before those markets are ready to try inexpensive wines from winemakers nobody has ever heard of, and our key focus remains investing in winemakers, but the retail interest will come, and we want to be ready when it does. To test the waters, we’re currently recruiting beta tasters (i.e. everyday wine drinkers) to help us scout out the talent – and decide where we should be investing our money.”
Independent winemakers looking for funding in either country can apply to work with Naked Wines at firstname.lastname@example.org – and wine drinkers who are keen to become a Naked Beta Taster can find out more at www.nakedwines.com or http://www.nakedwines.com.au
NOTES ON NAKED WINES
What we’re all about
Naked Wines, the UK’s fastest growing online wine retailer, was born in December 2008 when twelve friends quit their jobs in the middle of the recession to do things a little differently.
Our goal: Find the world’s most talented, undiscovered winemakers and set them up in business.
How we go about it:
- 100,000 customers invest over 2m pounds a month towards future orders (we call them ‘Angels’)
- Which we use to fund independent winemakers
- In return for exclusive wines at preferential prices
- Which we pass back to our customers
We call it the ‘virtuous circle’, as everybody gets more for less, without trampling on anyone along the way.
The hard and fast facts
If you’re looking for something a little meatier, this should help:
- We’ve invested in 40 independent winemakers to date
- We ship an average of 10,000 bottles of wine every day
- We’ve seen over 100% growth year-on-year, with sales of $40m in 2011
- We’ve recruited 200k customers, 100k of which invest over 2m pounds a month towards future orders
- We were named the UK’s most innovative wine company for two years on the trot, at the IWC
- We were named the UK’s Online Business of the Year at the 2011 National Business Awards
- And we’re probably the world’s largest group of net wine investors
A truly social business
As well as the model itself, the website delivers a truly social experience.
- Customers can chat directly to one another and to the winemakers.
- Customers can vote with their feet on new initiatives and wines, to decide what makes the cut.
- And we can suggest to customers what to buy AND what not to buy, based on their preferences.
The man at the top is Rowan Gormley, former Virgin Wines and Virgin Money CEO, and our non-executive director who keeps us in check is Ian West, former BSkyB MD. The rest of us are an assorted bunch of 50 wine and tech-loving employees based in Norwich.
Media contact: Adam Reiter, 707-723-4762, email@example.com
SOURCE Naked Wines