Innovation That Matters

Online farmers' market for small wine producers


Earlier this year we wrote about Crop to Cup, an online venture that uses product life stories to connect coffee drinkers with small African farmers who produce the beans they love. Now a UK-based startup aims to do much the same thing for wine with an online community that profiles and supports small-scale producers around the globe. In a market where the average bottle of wine includes just 30p of wine along with GBP 1 of marketing, packaging and other costs, Naked Wines bills itself as an online farmers’ market dedicated to “the kind of winemakers who want to spend their lives making great wine, rather than selling it.” The site currently features 18 winemakers from Argentina, France, Spain, New Zealand and South Africa. Beyond simply listing basics such as their locations and product characteristics, however, Naked Wines includes a full-page profile for each one, complete also with their backgrounds, some personal details and their views on making wine. Users of the site can create profiles, rate wines, and chat with each other as well as the winemakers they’re interested in. Based on what they’ve liked so far, Naked Wines can also make recommendations in Amazonesque fashion. All new wines are sent to a panel of consumer testers before they’re added to the site, and all purchases come with a money-back guarantee. Through the Naked Angel program, meanwhile—embraced by many of the site’s vintners—consumers can get 6 free bottles of wine plus 33 percent cash back on purchases when they prepay GBP 5 per month toward participating winemakers’ wines. Naked Wines was launched early this month by Virgin Wines founder Rowan Gormely. With its product life stories, (still) made here focus, social networking features and tryvertising undertones, it may just be a winning blend. A model to sample in other parts of the world! Spotted by: Susanna Haynie



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