The wine world, now a $40 billion industry in the U.S., is notoriously inaccessible, making knowing your wine a mark of class, not curiosity. This is exactly the battle Antonio Galloni—brainchild behind the multi-media wine platform, Vinous—is fighting, a fight that has bought about two unlikely teammates, wine and the web.
"Our mission," explains Galloni, "is to walk into a restaurant and see people drinking a beautiful bottle of wine. We are agnostic as to what that wine is." Vinous presents a digital platform that not only categorizes the 30,000-plus wine reviews he has written throughout his career as a wine critic, but also integrates a customer base across over 50 countries into what he calls "a 360-degree solution for people to learn about wine."
Vinous’s primary feature is an interactive map delineated by wine-producing region and annotated with wines available in each region—complete with Galloni’s reviews, which pop up when you hover over a particular wine. As of this moment, the map only covers Italy, but there are plans to go much larger. "Once we get Italy established, we’ll move on to other parts of the world," he says. "California is going to be a big game changer."
For a $120-a-year subscription fee, a user receives access the site’s growing pile of user comments and tasting notes, categorized by vineyard. The overall effect creates community—someone halfway across the world may open a bad bottle of wine so you won’t have to.
Galloni, who founded Vinous in 2013 after leaving a position as a taster at The Wine Advocate, wanted to create a service that goes beyond the traditional business of reviews and tasting notes. His goal was to create an educational platform that levels the playing field and makes the wine world less daunting for newcomers.
"We want Vinous to be for wine, what Bloomberg is for finance, what MTV was for music, or what ESPN is for sports," Galloni says. "A channel that’s on all the time."
[Image: Flickr user Martin]