Last weekend we were basking in the autumn sun and enjoying the beautiful views over Lake Leman – not to mention the workshops and tastings of DWCC. In our session dedicated to Wine Business start-ups, three projects were up on stage to try to convince the panel of judges made up of Greg Lambrecht of Coravin, Diana Isac of Winerist, Andre Ribeirinho of Adegga and Smart glass (winner of the WBIS Business award in Munich), Hamish Niklin of Google and our very own Marc Roisin that their projects were worth two free tickets to the next edition of WBIS.
The sessions started with presentations from Marc Roisin and Andre Ribeirinho on how their business ventures had changed over the course of the years as well as a few pointers for those budding entrepreneurs looking to launch a project. Then the attention turned to the start-ups who had 5 minutes to present followed by a grilling from the judges – and later the audience.
First up was Bottlebooks presented by Patrick Johner, mentor to the project. He presented the concept which facilitates sharing useful information to importers, distributors and retailers. Such a system lends itself to be integrated into existing online reference sites to give complete information about the wines to anyone who may be looking for it. Whilst the concept was appreciated, some doubts were drawn as to the viability of the business model and how easy it would be implemented by wineries with a less systematic approach. Patrick, a wine-maker himself, is working closely with the developers to fit the app to their needs with a set of new features being launched soon.
Second to take to the stage was Mike Tommasi of CriteeQ, an app that uses independent reviews of restaurants, wineries, wineshops from 42 (to date) wine bloggers and communicators to point all avid epicureans and wine lovers in the right direction. Once again the concept was appreciated however in order to preserve the independence of the site, the business relies on donations from users, one point our jury were not so convinced by.
Last but certainly not least was the larger than life Konrad Katarzyna of Food4wine presenting his app for pairing food to wine using recipe sites which give users the chance to click and buy the wine that would pair perfectly with their chosen recipe. Whilst sommeliers and the more avid wine enthusiasts would beg to differ than it would be impossible to create an algorithm to give you the perfect pairing for any dish, others understand that the daunting task of which wine to pair with food is one of the major hurdles for your average wine drinker. Food4Wine impressed our panel of judges so much that the decision was unanimous: Konrad and a guest will be joining us for the next edition of WBIS.
But where will that be? We’re still in the process of deciding a venue but there is every chance we’ll be hosting the third edition of WBIS in France in January 2016. Don’t think you won’t see us until then though, we may be back at DWCC 2015 with more than one session including pre-event coaching of the start-ups and there’s every chance that we’ll organise a smaller brainstorming, networking event this winter. Watch this space for more details..