Miniature wine business finds success and launches capital increase

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An Adelaide company that offers virtual wine tastings in miniature sample bottles has launched its Texan vineyard against the backdrop of strong growth in Australia.

The company is also launching a campaign to raise $ 2 million to accelerate its growth, including the potential creation of a European facility.

Trust in Taste has developed technology to transfer wine from ordinary wine bottles into small 60ml tasting samples without affecting the quality of the wine.

Lots as small as 50 miniature bottles taken from four 750ml wine bottles can be ordered.

It commissioned its Australian small bottle factory in a warehouse in Parafield in November last year and has quintupled its Australian sales so far this year.

The company began production at its Texas plant in late July and shipped its samples across the United States.

“The initial customer is Napa Valley Wine Academy and it’s a wine school, so we use Australian wines and other wines from around the world that we prepare as samples so their students can get 6, 12, 18 samples. to have with their virtual classroom, ”said Peter Evans, Founder of Trust in Taste.

“Since November 2020, this month’s sales have been the best ever in Australia and our first month of US sales with a customer is higher than our total sales in Australia.

“So that’s where the growth is going to come from.”

The company’s second American customer is the Michelin group, which also owns Wine Advocate magazine.

“They have a huge mailing list and they are selling an event where French wines will be tasted virtually by connoisseurs and sommeliers in the United States,” Evans said.

Trust in Taste’s initial business model invited Chinese wine drinkers to sign up for a virtual in-home tasting where wines marketed by Trust in Taste in 60ml bottles were delivered for cellar-style tasting accessible via codes. QR on sample bottles.

The Chinese company was launched in 2018, but has relied mainly on sales through education service providers since tariffs on Australian wine were implemented last year.

In Australia, the education sector accounts for around 15 percent of business while commercial clients include Yalumba, Yarra Yering, Endeavor Group and its Langton’s auction house.

Trust in Taste provides a moderator to virtually conduct a video interview with the winemaker, and all tasting attendees typically receive a six-wine kit to taste while the winemaker explains them.

“We’re signing an event with one brand of wine here every other day right now, which is just crazy, so we’ve picked up around 20 more brands over the last month,” Evans said.

“COVID blocks and restrictions have played a role – we can’t ignore that, however, every time we introduce our service to someone, they love it and they want to keep it as part of what they do it regardless of COVID.

“Everyone’s used to hopping on a Zoom call now and doing it all remotely: getting the product, providing feedback, and making a purchase, so we’re committed to whatever Zoom call you have that involves a tasting. of wine will be your best Zoom call for the month.

“During a tasting, we can immediately collect data from customers and they can tell us what they liked or disliked about the wines and we can provide that information to the winery within 24 hours.”

The company is just starting to expand its offering to wineries in the United States and expects education revenue to eventually reach around 15 percent, similar to the ratio in Australia.

Evans said there is also an opportunity for Australian wineries to miniaturize their wine in Texas and use it to target new customers in the United States.

“We are launching the US for Australian wineries over the next couple of months and we are in talks with Wine Australia on how best to do it,” he said.

“It will be great for the wineries that say ‘we want to get into the United States, send samples to 1000 influencers to put the product on the ground there and we’ll use you to help us find distribution.’

“The United States is a very difficult market legally – we are a licensed wine company in the United States which is very rare for an Australian company and we can legally ship to almost any state. “

Trust in Taste is looking to attract angel investors and high net worth individuals to raise $ 2 million to help it grow faster.

Evans said research was underway on potential European sites with the UK, Spain, Italy and France all possibilities.

“We’ve gone from being a bootstrapper to being about to make bigger decisions,” he said.

“The United States is the largest wine market in the world and Europe combined is probably equal there and we are investigating right now.

“We’re looking to bring Australian, American and potentially South African wines to Europe, but also to offer European wineries a way to get their products to the United States and Australia.

The company has a dozen employees located in Australia, the United States, China and the Philippines.

Evans said he has the ability to ramp up quickly.

“We now have the right process with our unique technology and it’s integrated and we’ve opened the line in Texas, which proves that we can scale,” he said.

“If we find the right partner, we can be in a new market within 90 days.

“We can deploy a new factory in a shipping container, it comes in, the shipping container becomes the factory, you plug it in and go.

“It’s about strengthening the team by growing our business development assets in the US and here and also improving the technology that goes with it. “

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