How many times have you wandered up and down the aisles, looking for that one perfect bottle of wine, only to end up with the wrong one? Well, if you are a wine novice like me, then this happens far too often. Sure, I can research online, go to wine tastings, or join a monthly wine club … but will this actually help?
Enter first-time entrepreneur Pallavi Patil’s startup: VineLust, a subscription-based business that delivers wine directly to your front door. VineLust uses a special algorithm to determine your taste preferences and then ships you two different bottles of wine from the best wineries around the globe.
Starting with the idea a little more than a year ago, Patil created the company out of her own frustration with not having the knowledge of how to pick a great bottle of wine. With a background in finance, an entrepreneurial spirit, and a passion for wine and food, she knew she wanted to share her love with others in her same demographic. By first taking an internship at Modesto, Calif.-based Gallo Winery, and then working at Bouchon restaurant in Beverly Hills, Patil came up with the idea of using an algorithm to coordinate individual taste preferences with wine from small or lesser-known wineries from around the world. No guessing or research is required — after answering a few questions about yourself, you just leave it up to VineLust to pick the best wine for you, every time. For $49.99 a month, the shipment includes the two bottles, background information on each wine and the respective winery’s history, and custom recipes to pair with your selections.
Trying to get VineLust off the ground, like all startups, has not come without its unique set of challenges. Patil expressed the difficulty with launching an an alcohol-based company: She dealt with licensing issues, pairing the right sommeliers, and finding retailers to supply the wine, all while pursuing her MBA from UCLA as a full-time student. But, once the business started to gain traction, Patil was delighted to hear that subscribers were spreading the word about VineLust, and that the ultimate reward was “to work on something for a year and see it ship out.”
With the use of technology to help dictate individual taste, VineLust is curating some of the best wines from around the world. I can’t wait to see what other innovations VineLust has in store for the future.
*It’s available only to California residents at the moment, but VineLust will began nationwide delivery service in the Fall of 2013.
Image via LAImYours.com