In the United States, investments for wine tech amounted to 924.4 M$ in 2019, well below the 20 B$ in the food and agritech sector.
So, it’s clear that wine tech is a little narrow niche; nevertheless, there is a lot of activity inside. All aspects of the world of wine have been touched by technological innovations, from production systems to sales. The impression is that of a spring that is still charging, waiting to explode.
These hard times accelerate use of digital facilities, and many people will continue to use them also when the pandemic is over. Early Adopters, people who search new sites, new platforms, new apps, will be very important to digital culture development. About wine, not only wine lovers, but wholesalers, winegrowers and all whom look at new solutions for their problems. Online tasting and fraud prevention are two other sectors growing.
Yet there would really be all the possibilities, from new containers to reduce CO2 emissions to more effective distribution systems.
The top 7 wine tech companies for investments
There aren’t only wine clubs among the companies that combine wine and technology; so let’s see which are the top 7 wine tech companies in the ranking of the investments received (source Crunchbase)
Drizly: $ 119.6M
Founded in 2012 by Cory Rellas, Justin Robinson, Nicholas Rellas and Spencer Frazier, it is based in Boston, New England. It delivers within 60 minutes and operates in the United States and Canada. For this, they use over 100 wholesale and retail outlets as a logistics network. Purchases can be made directly via the app throughout North America. The latest fund was $ 50M in August 2020 from Avenir Growth Capital, a New York-based private investment firm.
Wine.com: $ 70.2M
Founded in 1998 by Michael Osborn, it is based in San Francisco and is the largest online retailer of Beverage products in the USA. It has an active chat customer service 7/7 and it delivers both at home and at FedEx points. If you join the Steward Ship program at a cost of $ 49 per year, deliveries are free for all products. The latest investor was Goldman Sachs in November 2018
Coravin: $ 64.3M
Founded in 2011 by Greg Lambrecht and Josh Makower, it has its headquarter in Bedford, Massachusetts. It is probably the most innovative and famous wine-to-glass system. The innovative system briefly consists of a pierced needle that fits into the cork. The wine is then served through the outlet tube and at the same time the bottle is filled with inert gas. The latest round of investments in 2016 brought in $ 22.5 million from Quadrille Capital.
Vivino: $ 63.8M
Founded in 2010 by Heini Zachariassen and Theis Sondergaard, its headquarter is in San Francisco, California. Surely the best known platform dedicated to wine, it was the first to introduce the recognition of wine through the bottle label. It created an huge wine database; you can purchase some wines directly from the site, others through third parties. It is the largest community of wine lovers in the world. The latest fund was $ 7.5 million in December 2018.
Lot18: $ 44.5M
Founded in 2010 by Kevin Fortuna and Philip James is based in New York. It is a subscription wine club; customers are sent a kit with 6 mini-bottles (a glass, more or less) and are asked to rate the wines tasted. Based on these choices, a case of wines will be sent. The amount of wine and the frequency depend on the chosen subscription. The minimum is $ 149 for 12 bottles / year. The latest fund is from 2011 and amounts to $ 40M.
Winc: $ 43.9 million
Founded in 2011 by Brian Smith, Geoff McFarlane, Mark T. Lynn and Xander Oxman, it has the headquarter in Los Angeles, California. It is a wine club that offers little-known labels to its customers, based on a taste profile created at the time of registration. It also buys the wine directly from the producers and bottles them with its own brand; therefore you can find its bottles in some restaurants in New York, too. In 2019, Winc received $ 12.3M, of which $ 10M from Tokyo’s Cool Japan Fund.
Vinventions: $ 40M
Founded in 2015 by Marc Noel, it is headquartered in Zebulon, North Carolina, and is a grouping of companies. They define themselves as “the House of 7 Brands”, since it includes cap production companies, such as Nomacorc, and marketing and quality control companies. The first fund came in 2015 from Bespoke Capital, of which Noel is president and Heino Freudenberg CEO until 2019.