I’ve recently signed up to a new wine venture called Naked Wines, from the founder of Virgin Wines and 17 former senior Virgin Wines staff. From the press release:
“Rowan Gormley, founder of Virgin Money, the Virgin One Account, Orgasmic Wines and Virgin Wines, launched www.nakedwines.com, on 1 December 2008, to be a ‘Facebook for Wine Lovers’.”
The site “lists 96 wines from 32 small producers, with the focus on up and coming wine regions (like Chile’s Bio-Bio Valley)” and “Customers can also become ‘Naked Wines Angels’, where the winemaker offers 6 bottles of wine for free to encourage the customer to try their wines (the customer paying UK duty and delivery of £15.85 for 6 bottles). The custumer gets 33% of their spend with that winemaker refunded if they agree to support them by pre-paying £5 a month towards their next case.”
The idea is to bring wine from the smaller lesser known growers and get it into the hands of (hopefully) eager British wine drinkers. The ‘Facebook’ part is done via friendly profiles of each grower (Bruwer Raats and his lovely Chenin Blanc [CT] is a favourite) and a ‘Wall’ which allows drinkers to post their comments, feedback and communicate with the grower.
There are a couple of novel features, the main one being their “Wine Angels“. This is a strategy by Naked Wines to build a relationship between the buyer and the maker, in the hope you will obviously continue to buy more of their wine, plus give them a more stable and predictable revenue stream. It’s an interesting idea, and I’ve already snapped up a mixed case in their January sale which includes some more of the delicious Chenin Blanc [CT] from Bruwer Raats.
All in all, it’s an interesting new venture and I look forward to seeing the quality of the wines in my mixed case.