Pioneering Winemaker Randall Grahm Tries New Way To Sell Wine In America
NAPA, Calif., Jan. 7, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — Crowdfunding raises $150,000 for award-winning California Winemaker
NakedWines.com, a customer-funded winery, has united over 150,000 Angels to invest $150,000 to launch two new wines with wine industry veteran, Randall Grahm. Randall is famous for his winery, Bonny Doon Vineyard, where he has reached winemaking stardom for his passion for Rhone grape varieties. The James Beard Foundation awarded him the Wine and Spirits Professional of the Year in 1994 and since then he has gone on to win dozens of awards for his contribution to the American wine industry. Randall has always looked at new ways to sell wine in America and his partnership with NakedWines.com is about as different as it gets.
Funded by cutting costs you can’t taste
Since Randall Grahm’s new wines are crowdfunded by his customers, there are no marketing or sales costs. This allows the NakedWines.com Angels to invest heavily in grapes and talent, without wasting money on things they can’t taste.
In the wine business, the cost of selling is so high that it can often double or triple the price of a bottle. Randall says, “I honestly don’t understand the implications. I don’t know if I’m competing against myself, but the wine world is changing. There has been an enormous proliferation of brands and the consolidation of distribution. There is a finite limit to how much we can produce under Bonny Doon. With NakedWines.com I have the freedom to experiment, the flexibility to blend, and the fact that they pay for the grapes helps me big time.”
Investors already reporting on their return
Over 300 of Randall’s Angel investors have already rated and commented on “Close But No Cigare” and “Syrah/Viognier” which are available exclusively through NakedWines.com as of January 2013.
You can read what they’ve told Randall about his wines online at http://us.nakedwines.com/wines/close-but-no-cigare-by-randall-grahm-2011.htm
NOTES ON NAKEDWINES.COM
What we’re all about
NakedWines.com was born in December 2008 when 12 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
- 150,000 customers invest over $3 million dollars a month towards future orders (we call them ‘Angels’)
- Which we use to fund independent winemakers
- In return for exclusive wines at wholesale 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 105 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 $40 million in 2011
- We’ve recruited 200K customers, 150K of which invest over $3 million dollars 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 25 wine and tech-loving employees based in Napa.