by Shamim de Brún
European winemakers back €1.2m Irish wine start-up subscription service, WineSpark.
The subscription has already signed up more than 1,000 subscribers. Each subscriber pays €10 per month for access to WineSpark. the Irish eine start-up sells hard-to-find quality wines at “cost price” to its members.
WineSpark is essentially a digital wine-buying club. It aims to secure low-cost quality wines directly from producers for its members. The monthly membership fees make up the company’s net revenue. Mr FitzGerald estimates that wines costing €20-€30 a bottle on WineSpark would cost €40 to €50 from retailers, or more than €90 per bottle in restaurants.
Dublin-based Eamon FitzGerald raised more than €300,000 to fund an online wine sales service that is aiming to sign up 10,000 Irish subscribers. The six-month-old Irish wine start-up attracted equity from France, Spain, Italy and Germany.
The start-up was valued at €1.2 million ahead of its official launch six months ago. The funds raised paid for the stock required to launch WineSpark. They source around 60% of their wines from the European winemakers backing them.
Among WineSpark’s investors’ is Tuscan winemaker Federico Cerelli. Cerelli is well known in the wine world for his work with Super Tuscans. Super Tuscans are cult collectable Bordeaux style wines made in Tuscany.
Other investors include Epicure Wines in Spain, Grands Vignobles en Mediterranee in France, and the GP Winery in Germany.
The Dubliner says he is solely focused on building an Irish base of subscribers. He intends to “bootstrap” the start-up. This means he will fund it slowly through its own cash flow. There is no further fundraising planned.
Subscribers can order wine by the half-case of six bottles. Mr FitzGerald has outsourced the packing and handling of the wines to a warehouse in west Dublin. Delivery is handled by UPS.
The service is easy to join. Just pop to their website, input your details, and then you’ll have access to their curated wine list.
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