The simple things in life like choosing a bottle of wine has somehow become a very daunting prospect. Sitting in a restaurant while intensely staring at a wine list while pretending to look knowledgeable is enough to fill anyone with dread.
Finding yourself in front of a never ending wall of wine at a supermarket when choosing a gift or bottle for a dinner party is equally as daunting. These everyday situations illustrate how the current method of choosing a bottle of wine, simply doesn't work.
Thankfully, a combination of technology, innovation and crowdfunding are once again creating positive change to a very traditional industry. There is a growing realization that we no longer know where our food or even wine comes from anymore. Is it any wonder that we harbor a desire to connect with each other again?
Naked Wines have a simple aim to connect winemakers and drinkers directly. The creation of this direct relationship helps users crowdfund their bottles directly from the vineyard via a monthly subscription. But, this is much more than just another wine club.
Crowdfunding to prepay and buy wine whenever you want creates complete transparency and openness with customers. This is where the name Naked Wines comes from. The combination of a doing well by doing good philosophy and technology also helped them win an Innovation in customer service award.
The service proves that there is more to wine than a pretty label on a bottle inside a supermarket. Each bottle comes with warm stories of families producing wine where angels (Naked Wine members) communicate directly with the winemakers.
After enjoying a beautiful drink on a hot summer night surrounded by good company, members are encouraged to send a personal thank you directly to the winemaker. These little touches are creating a global community of wine lovers that are passionate about removing the soulless disconnect that comes with buying everything from a supermarket.
Once again technology is enabling global connections rather than dividing people. With over 100 million bottles sold, the business is leading the way with technology and innovation while also creating meaningful engagement.
There are also many heartwarming stories emerging from the Naked Wines online community. After selling wine for other people for several years, Katie Jones made the brave leap of faith that led her away from Leicestershire to the Languedoc.
Katie's dream turned into a nightmare upon discovering she was the victim of a targeted vandalism attack. Someone had broken into her winery and opened the valves, pouring away the entire vintage of white wine.
The Naked Wines community came to the rescue. Wine angels pledged to pre-order her 2013 vintage, providing much-needed cash flow and moral support to get her business back up and running.
With the days of a handful of critics determining what is and what isn't a good wine disappearing, there is a definitely a wind of change in the air. Global communities are forming, and real relationships are developing between the drinker and the winemaker creating a greater understanding of the industry.
Check out my interview with the president of Naked Wines Anne Saunders and marketing director James Bagley. We strip their story back to discover it's not about technology, million dollar funding or even wine. But an idea and a desire to bring people together through technology and make a difference.