If you’re like me, your wine choice is 96 percent based off of the label (and maybe 99 percent based off its proximity to your person). But for those who are serious about their vino, getting well-curated, exclusive bottles can be something of an obsession.
Today Israeli blockchain startup Vinsent (formerly VinX) announced the release of a new wine marketplace that lets wineries offer wine futures — that is, wine that hasn’t yet been made — for purchase. Users can log onto Vinsent’s app and select their preferred wine color, attributes (vegan, organic, etc.), country of origin, and budget. The app then gives them a selection of curated wines and descriptions, which users can select to add to their “cellar.” After the wine is bottled, it’s shipped directly to the buyer’s doorstep.
By moving these wholesale wine purchases onto an app, Vinsent’s goal is to disrupt the traditional wine industry distribution model and let people connect directly with the winery, giving them exclusive early access to coveted wines and, according to a press release, “exclusive pricing.”
On the sales side, by selling not-yet-bottled vino, wineries get more cash flow to help them get by before their wines are ready for sale. The companies can also use pre-orders on Vinsent to forecast the sales of particular wines and the popularity of different years of each variety.
Part of the reason Vinsent is able to give better prices is because you can’t purchase a bottle — you have to buy by the case. That means that odds are you’re dropping several hundred dollars on a single buy, so Vinsent likely isn’t for the casual, low-budget wine buyer. However, for the oenophile who values novelty and has the available basement storage space, the app could be a worthy tool for finding new, elusive wines. (Though I wonder: How willing are people to spend a chunk of change on a wine they can’t even taste first?)
Regardless — if you’re buying a whole case of nice wine, you’d better be sure you’re getting what you pay for. Part of Vinsent’s appeal is that it uses blockchain, ensuring that each bottle is indeed from the advertised year and vineyard.
This may seem like overkill, but apparently, wine fraud is actually kind of a big deal. And if you’re going to be dropping a few Benjamin’s on a case of nice Chardonnay, it makes sense that you’d want some sort of measure in place ensuring that you’re getting exactly what you paid for.
There are several players shaking up the typical brick-and-mortar wine purchasing experience. Back in 2017 my colleague Jenn Marston wrote about the growing popularity of direct-to-consumer wine delivery, and the space has only continued to heat up. Vivino combines said delivery with an AI-powered wine recommendation service, and Garcon Wines makes delivery even easier by shipping flat bottles that can slide right through your mail slot. Vinsent brings the ease of delivery to serious wine purchasers who want to buy new, exclusive bottles in an easy-to-navigate marketplace.
Vinsent currently only lists 20 wine choices from 10 wineries in France, Italy, Spain and the U.S., but the company plans to add new wines and partners throughout 2019. It’s also developing a blockchain-based trading platform for wine aficionados to trade bottles amongst themselves, so they can buy a $56 bottle of Sauvignon Blanc and rest easy knowing it’s the genuine article.