Crowdfunding Websites Beg the Question: Wine Not?
If we were to make a “Top 10” list of things we enjoy most in life, crowdfunding and wine would certainly make the cut. Now, we are not saying we are lushes when it comes to wine, but who doesn’t enjoy a delicious red perfectly paired with a meal or a cool white on a hot summer day? Winemakers go to great lengths to perfect their product. They factor in climate, soil and several other variables to create one of the oldest and most treasured drinks on Earth. In a way, the time and effort winemakers put into their product is a lot like the effort entrepreneurs put into getting their startup off the ground. They both stop at nothing to achieve the highest quality product so it is natural that crowdfunding for wine is now a real thing.
In fact, it is not surprising at all. Late last month we shared a blog about the craft beer intrastate crowdfunding company MobCraft. They were the first intrastate crowdfunding campaign to go live in Wisconsin and are doing exceptionally well because people in Wisconsin love drinking craft beer. When you consider how many people love drinking wine around the world, you can clearly see why wine crowdfunding makes perfect sense and will undoubtedly be a booming industry.
After some (eh-hem) professional research we found three shining examples of how crowdfunding for wine is already taking off. Fundovino is the world’s first wine crowdfunding platform and was launched in August 2014. Based out of the unofficial wine capital of the world, Paris, France, the Fundovino team chose France because of its association with wine. Wine is actually France’s 2nd largest export and the country boasts 142,000 producers and close to 560,000 workers in the industry.
Co-founder Julian Worth was recently interviewed in a wine-searcher.com article and asked why he saw a need for a wine-only crowdfunding platform. His answer, “wine projects can get lost amid the hundreds of different kinds of projects”, is as clear cut as it gets. When you host an offering on a general crowdfunding website, your offering will be categorized and still may be hard to find. By creating a wine crowdfunding platform specifically for the wine industry, visitors know what they’re going to get when they enter the website. One champagne grower was able to quickly reach 89% of his funding goal €15,200 ($19,353) thanks to Fundovino. The campaign is for a large oak cask.
If you are wondering what delicious rewards are available from pledging to the campaigns, you can receive three bottles of exclusive champagne for €150 ($191) or a bottle from a barrel of Burgundy from the Hospices of Beaune auction for a €50 ($64) pledge. Sounds like a worthy investment to me.
The next wine crowdfunding platform we will cover, NakedWines, is based in the United States and offers the following welcome upon visiting their site:
We are a customer funded winery
Our customers earn wholesale prices, 40%-60% off the price normal people pay, for helping us fund independent winemakers.
Right off the bat you know that you will receive an amazing discount which is all the more reason to enter the platform. Once inside you are prompted to complete the following four steps:
1.) What sort of wine drinker are you? (Wine snob) (Social drinker)
2.) Would you prefer your wine made by… (Salesmen) (Talented winemakers)
3.) Would you prefer to… (Pay more) (Get more)
The fourth step is your notification of receiving $20 off any case of wine over $50. That’s what we call getting off on the right foot! At this point you will notice Naked Wines is a unique wine crowdfunding portal when it comes to pledges. Instead of traditional crowdfunding practices, Naked Wines “Angels” make an advance payment of $40 per month for access to and discounts on exclusive wines. COO Benoit Vialle offered this statement in a recent interview about the value proposition for the Angel:
“At the most elementary level, angels get a great deal on some very high quality wines, benefiting from our direct to customer model that eliminates the wine distribution middlemen. Beyond that, consumers can enjoy two critical aspects of our crowdfunding model: they get the rich social interaction with other angels, with whom they form a tight community that exchange millions of ratings and comments on the wines, and they get the very unique direct connection with the winemakers themselves, with whom they can ask questions and provide feedback. Angels are essentially becoming the ultimate wine insiders, which is a very distinct feeling in an industry that has traditionally kept consumers very removed from the producers.”
The last crowdfunding for wine example we will share is our favorite here at truCrowd because it involves equity crowdfunding. Seedr, an equity crowdfunding site in England, hosted a campaign for Chapel Down, a wine producer and craft beer brewer. In just 24 days, Chapel Down raised a shocking £3.95 million ($6.37M) from 1,470 micro investors. The company plans to use the money to build a new winery and brewery, plant more vines and expand its tourism offer.
Seedr may not be a portal exclusively for wine crowdfunding, but it does prove a point about passionate people willing to fund ideas and companies they believe in. Passionate is the perfect adjective to describe this particular crowd. People around the world, from all different races and creeds have a passion for wine. Creating a crowdfunding portal for wine is not a shot in the dark – there are millions of people worldwide who would be interested in rewards or equity-based wine crowdfunding. The early numbers speak for themselves and once word spreads, everyday investors will be helping wine, champagne and craft beer experts from across the world take their winery, growing fields and brewery to the next level.
In honor of all current and future wine crowdfunders, we raise our glass to you.
Thank you for reading and please leave your comments below!