Is wine the new goldmine?

In Others by Sébastien FluryLeave a Comment

There are many entrepreneurs out there desiring to start an incredible business to change the world. You sometimes hear people expressing they’d like to launch something, but they don’t have THE idea now. Or you meet people reinventing the wheel, copying a business that was already successful in the US (on this topic: in the recent years, business models originally launched in Europe were also copied in the US, like Criteo or Vente Privée). In my opinion, there is nothing wrong to adapt a business model to fit the local needs. Because 1-to-1 implementation often doesn’t work (2 Swiss show cases of this theory are or, especially in a tiny but complex market as Switzerland. Problematic can be when a dozen of entrepreneurs are hunting the same game.

In Zürich, the Graal seems to be the parking solutions: there are “only” 3 local startups aiming to revolutionize the parking dilemma, that is, renting private parking places via a dynamic system you can access via mobile.


In Western Switzerland, the new goldmine seems to be wine, especially wine subscription. In the recent months, I’ve heard about 3 local startups (Vinoabo, Up-To-Wine,  tackling this opportunity (and I’m sure I’m not aware of many, many other ones – from traditional wine resellers to other startups).

The principe is simple: you subscribe to a monthly home delivery of 2-3 wine bottles. It helps you discovering new wines that you weren’t aware of or just helping you select tasty wines. Most services also propose to teach you the different variations of flavors, either online with tutorials or offline with discovery events. One of the 3 mentioned above is offering a really attractive way to enter the wine world: organizes weekly discovery events (currently in Geneva, soon in Lausanne and Zürich), at afterwork time! Price is relatively comparable to standard wine tasting events done by wine-growers, but… the startup is leveraging the social component of wine (usually, you don’t drink fine wines alone… you’re better sharing the experience with your colleagues, friends or family): by inviting up to 4 people, you get a massive discount (80%!) and your friends get 40% off. And you don’t have any need to register to the wine subscription. Clever idea, no?

All these wine subscription offerings seem attractive, but even if I like drinking good wines, I’m not sure that this business opportunity is as huge as it looks like. I don’t know if there are so many people who would like to subscribe. It’s a nice-to-have service, especially attractive when you have no cellar to keep your bottles! In my opinion, there are (too) many players out there now and I hope that no one of them is trying hard to raise money (it’s already pretty hard to raise money, but if you have a dozen competitors on your tiny local market… good luck!). I guess that the market is already ready to be consolidated, even if the appearing of such service is relatively recent. Do we will see mergers between startups or simply one or two main players succeeding and the rest dying? It will be interesting to observe from an external point of view…

Anyway… it’s almost Christmas time and if you haven’t thought about gifts for your friends and your family… have a look on this kind of offering and find an adequate service (you have choice!). Receiving a voucher  to a wine tasting event will make everyone (interested by wine) S-M-I-L-E and happy!

Ah, and I’ve something for you, dear reader… I have negotiated a small discount on get your 5% off by entering the code SAVE5-A:104!