Wine travel website Winerist gears up for rapid growth
Wine and food travel website Winerist is aiming to boost the number of experiences it offers from 600 to 5,000 within the next six months, according to the firm’s co-founder.
The site, which was launched two years ago, has recently secured a new round of investment from three backers, one from Booking.com, one from the wine industry and a City investor, all of whom will offer the company their expertise as well as finance.
It is also looking to partner with key wine merchants to help sell wines from those wineries visited, and offer tasting events with a select number of restaurants.
Winerist co-founder Diana Isac told Harpers.co.uk that it is already one of the biggest players in the field, and “we will be the biggest player next year”.
Winerist has big ambitions following its latest round of investment
Later this year Winerist.com will also offer accommodation through the established Booking.com site, which claims to deal with 550,000 reservations per day.
The aim of the platform, according to Isac, is to act as the Trip Advisor and Booking.com site for the wine and food traveller.
Isac and her co-founder Tatiana Livesey, school friends from Moldova who met again while working in finance in London, found the wine travel market “very fragmented”. The bigger companies were offering overly commercial trips which lacked personal touches, while it was too hard to access smaller wineries, she said. Winerist looks to offer on “off the beaten track” experiences for between two to eight people to more boutique wineries.
It is also starting to offer more trips to ‘wine capitals’ such as London, Barcelona and San Francisco. It has worked with 28°-50° restaurant in London, which offers “a very big range of the vineyards we work with”. It is planning to expand this to work with several key partners both in the on and off-trade in major cities, and charges commission for the service.
“We won’t be taking commission from wine merchants so far, but we will look to link through to their online stores at some point.”
The site has been revenue generating since March last year, although Isac does not expect it to break even “for a while, especially now as we’ve got new investment”.
The site works with regional experts located in the relevant regions and local tourist boards to identify best operators, who are then closely vetted.