According to The BRW.com.au, Richard Owens didn’t begin drinking wine until he was 30. He said “I’m in the bottleshop and I want to spend money but I don’t know what to spend money on. Or Dad is in the restaurant and he wants to spend money but he can’t remember the name of the wine he liked,” Owens said. “I realised all of this has got to be a problem for the wineries.”
Four years later, Owens is the founding director of WithWine, a mobile app launched in January that enables users to scan wines and then rate, save and recommend them to their friends. Wineries can also sell to consumers directly through the app.
Within three months of launching, WithWine had signed on 40 per cent of the wineries in the Hunter Valley and now offers around 800 products for direct sale.
Wineries are all trying to increase the size of their direct-to-consumer channels, but the problem is these channels consist of their cellar door, which can be hundreds of kilometres away, and often outdated websites.
“They are farmers, not tech wizards, and they don’t want to be, they just want to make good wine. So what we have done is build a platform that lets them access sales opportunities through a collective mobile channel.”
When a user buys wine through the app, their order goes straight to the winery, which receives payment from WithWine, minus a 12.5 per cent commission, once the wine is shipped.
“The vast majority of the products on the app you will never see in a retail shop,” Owens said.
“The app allows you to remember the wine you are enjoying and even buy it while the glass is in your hand and the taste still on your palate. We want to capture the sale when the demand is created, and there is so much demand out there, there just hasn’t been the mechanism to efficiently capture it.”