If you love old Vitamin W as much as I do, you’ll be pleased to note that folks who are disrupting the staid old wine industry are doing well. Case in point: Club W just announced they’re on track to sell $1 million worth of wine this year, based on current annualized revenue.
They also saw 11,000 unique visitors and 73,000 page views – acceptable numbers for a new business. The company has 10 full-time employees. Geoff McFarlane, Xander Oxman, and Mark Lynn founded the company three months ago and things are going strong.
The service works by assessing your likes and dislikes and then offering wines that match your palate. Man cannot live on Thunderbird and Boone’s alone, however, so they also bring in a number of counselors to help you choose new wines.
The rules are pretty simple with no lock-in:
Club W also includes QR codes on each bottle that offer special tasting notes when scanned and prices are generally below retail, including shipping. Whether the site is for the connoisseur or not is an interesting question, but experience goods are all about how the end consumer feels about the product after purchase. Wine is obviously the ultimate expression of the commercial curatorial instinct and by reducing the friction between buyer and seller – and by assuring the buyer that the wine won’t taste like lighter fluid – goes a long way towards a sale.
The site is obviously up against some heavy hitters, including Wine.com, Wine.Woot, and the elfin Gary Vaynerchuk’s Wine Library. However, by taking a page from other viral sales sites, the company seems to offer a considerably more targeted offering thanks to the taste assessment system and rugged, handsome curators shot in grainy black-and-white.
As for me, I’ll stick to the curators who populate my local watering hole: around the back of the local movie theatre. They know where to get the cheapest Four Loko.