Club W, a wine club that sells private label wine directly to consumers, has raised $9.5 million in its latest round of funding. The company, led by CEO Xander Oxman, had previously raised $3.1 million in a seed round. The WSJ reports that Bessemer Venture Partners led this round; the previous round was led by Crosscut Ventures. The WSJ did not state the company’s valuation at either round.
Part of the Club W pitch includes calling themselves a “global winery” that cuts out all the tiers of the wine biz, including winery, importer, wholesaler, and retailer to offer wines at about $13 each (three a month for $39). Wines have names such as “So this happened…” and “Alchymist noir red blend.” Their web site does not state how they have cracked the perennial wine shipping nut though if the LA-based company is acting as a bonded winery and a licensed importer, the number of states they could ship to could run into the dozens.
In the recent wine venture capital beat, Club W has now soaked up the most funding. Coravin, which stuck its needle into the biotech community, is second. Vivino, the wine app based in Denmark, is running third. Silicon Valley’s Delectable, which closed a $3 million round in May, is fourth.
Lot 18 raised the most venture capital for a wine business post-recession at $44 million. But the company has had layoffs and abandoned the “flash sale” model. In other private equity news, The Wine Advocate sold an controlling stake for reportedly $15 million in late 2012.
“All you need is a 10-minute nap and voilà, a slurp of rosé wine and I feel as fresh as a daisy!” He added.
He’s not likely to run out of wine since Depardieu owns Chateau de Tigne in Anjou. He once joked that his mother’s amniotic fluid was wine.
Although artificial, or electronic, tongues have been developed before, researchers at Aarhus University in Denmark have a breakthrough in their application to wine. Now, proteins from human saliva can be mixed with wine in the artificial tongue that can measure the effect of wine’s astringency, or tannins, on the tongue via a gold-plated nanosensor.
So welcome to the the new era of wine reviewing, where, instead of nonsense wine descriptors, the robo-tongue can just cut straight to the chase and spit out scores!
Drink a glass of water for every glass of wine and you’ll emerge from the evening hangover-free. Such is common wisdom and some French design students have made some new nesting glassware, hand blown in Holland, that help drinkers comply with this maxim.
However, in his book Proof: the Science of Booze, Adam Rogers pours cold water on the idea. He writes that academic research on hangovers has not demonstrated dehydration, or a lower level of electolytes, as the cause of hangover severity.
So I guess it’s a good thing the the designers of the nested wine glass told Dezeen that their main goal is to reduce the over-consumption of alcohol, not prevent hangovers. Apparently having a little water after wine will slow the guzzlers down? Well, even if not, enjoy the cool glasses.
This fall, all you grown ups can go back to school thanks to my NYU wine class.
Now in its ninth year, the course provides a lively forum to discuss hot-button issues of the wine world, explore key countries and regions, as well as taste at least six wines each session.
It runs for six weekly sessions from October 15 through November 19. It’s always fun to see site readers in the class–hope to meet you there!
There’s a hilarious story that runs every August: they’re running out of rosé in The Hamptons! Predictably, it ran again this week. There are tons of great rosés out there (both still AND sparkling, ahem, Hamptons-goers) but the good ones do tend to sell out early in the season. So stock them early for subsequent stashing in sea planes!
Rather than mention other rosés, I’m going to pivot and talk about Ott. Domaine Ott is the pink object of much desire in the Hamptons. But wine enthusiasts would be very will served to take an Austrian turn and try Bernhard Ott’s 2013 Gruner Veltliners. I poured the Am Berg at a private tasting on the Upper East Side the other day and this was the crowd favorite for its verve, minerality and crackle. The best thing too: it was the cheapest 750ml wine at the tasting, ringing up at $19.99, in part thanks hailing from the Wagram rather than the more tony Wachau. (Find Ott Gruner Am Berg at retail)
Oh, and if you want some bubbly, the 2012 Knauss Riesling Sekt Zero also turned heads with stylish packaging (below) as well as purity on the palate. (Find Knauss Sekt Zero at retail)
Actually, I take it all back: who needs these prices to run up? Read more…
Finding labor to perform the annual harvest at a vineyard can be hard. Many wineries compete for migrant laborers at a time when there are lots of other fruit to bring in; we’ve even seen wineries recruit students to pick the grapes. But Sting doesn’t have such difficulties: the Englishman in Tuscany is charging people $350 a day to come and work in his vineyard.
The paying pickers would arrive at a leisurely 11:30 at Il Palagio, Sting and Trudie Styler’s 900-acre estate. After a picnic on a lawn, with possibly a game on the giant chess set, the paying help can then start laboring for up to four hours. Then, freshen up (no word if the pool is available), and, before heading out, try a sampling of the estates wines, including the rosso “Message in a Bottle,” which sells in the US for about $20. No word if the estate’s owners will be around but guest workers will get a talk from the estate manager about the vineyards and soil, as well as winemaking.
If you can’t get enough time under the Tuscan sun, you can go back in November and harvest Sting’s olives.