Start-ups 'exploding' into wine sector

Start-ups have exploded onto the wine sector, particularly those with a digital focus, as 1,400 apps alone launched by 2014.

Vincent Pretet

Vincent Pretet

33Entrepreneurs founder Vincent Pretet says start-ups are exploding onto the wine scene.

That’s according to research from French start-up accelerator 33Entrepreneurs, which also found that 46% of start-ups in wine were on the B2C sales side, with an additional 22% coming from B2C apps.

More than 500 start-ups are “disrupting” the wine sector, which 33Entrepreneurs says is worth $250 to $300 billion every year, and expected to grow by 18% in the next five years. It also forecast online sales to grow 30% each year.

The report identified the top 10 start-ups, those which generated $500 million in funds, as Coravin, Lot18, Naked Wines, Vivino, 1855, Vinfolio, Vino Volo, Club W, IBG and

Founder and chief executive of Bordeaux-based wine and technology start-up accelerator firm Vincent Pretet, told that the idea behind the research is to “better understand our investment universe”.

The research found that the six most common barriers for start-ups in the wine industry were: it’s insular; highly regulated, lacks talent, digital innovation is a low priority for wineries, logistics are tricky, and it changes annually with vintages.

Pretet said that when you consider the number of research and development articles penned by academics  has “risen dramatically” in the past 10 years, it shows that R&D is becoming more important to the wine sector at university level.

“We decided to focus on the 10 most successful – those making the most money. The 10 biggest wine start-ups have raised $500 million in total.”

The idea was to “get connected with the big guys in our industry and leverage that relationship for our budding entrepreneurs – those who are willing to disrupt the wine industry”.

It has already partnered with the people behind Danish app Vivino, and will be running a start-up contest in Copenhagen with their help.

“It’s about putting back into other start-ups. We want to be at the heart of it,” said Pretet, “that’s why we want to share this.”

The aim is to support new entrepreneurs with contacts, credibility – and to really have access to the market.

More than two thirds of the top start-ups in wine are US-based, with the remaining 30% coming from Europe. “That ratio is not that bad – it’s quite good for digital,” said Pretet.

As far as trends go, Pretet said, online wine retailers have to have a point of difference, such as through added services, or extra digital expansions, in order to attract new customers. 

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