Invests $104,000 in Young American Winemaker From the Languedoc, Inc. Logo

-- French American Winemaker Ryan O'Connell Joins Crowdfunded Wine Business --

Crowdfunding Raises $104,000 for Young French Winemaker

NAPA, Calif., Feb. 26, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) --, a customer-funded winery, has united over 100,000 Angels to invest $104,000 to setup a young French winemaker, Ryan O'Connell. Ryan, a graduate of Tulane University started winemaking at age 19 and immediately found out how hard it was for a young upstart to break into the wine world.

He turned to where his past 8 vintages have made him a winemaking celebrity with over 20,000 customer ratings and critical praise from European critics like Jancis Robinson, Thierry Desseauve, and Robert Joseph.

Rowan Gormley, founder of says "We are so excited to be able to offer such a young, passionate and talented winemaker the opportunity to come to California and make wine for our US Angels. Ryan's wines are some of our most popular wines in the UK and when we talked about launching in the states we knew we had to get him over here and in the winery."

Ryan says, "When the Angels found me in France, I was struggling to sell my wines. They saved me when I really needed saving. And now they're letting me start a brand new adventure in California."

Funded by cutting costs you can't taste

Since Ryan's wines are crowdfunded by his customers, there are no marketing or sales costs. This allows the Angels to invest heavily in grapes and talent, without wasting money on things they can't taste.

In the wine business, the cost of selling is so high that it can often double or triple the price of a bottle. Ryan says, "I wasted a lot of cash in France trying to convince people to buy my wine. Now that I'm customer-funded, I've got one tenth of the overhead I used to have and twice the profit."

Crowdfunded wines available now

Ryan's customer-funded Pinot Noir is available exclusively to customers as of February 15, 2013.




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What we're all about

Naked Wines, was born in December 2008 when twelve friends quit their jobs in the middle of the recession to do things a little differently.

Our goal: Find the world's most talented, undiscovered winemakers and set them up in business.

How we go about it:

  • 100,000 customers invest over $3 million dollars a month towards future orders (we call them 'Angels')
  • Which we use to fund independent winemakers
  • In return for exclusive wines at wholesale prices
  • Which we pass back to our customers

We call it the 'virtuous circle', as everybody gets more for less, without trampling on anyone along the way.

The hard and fast facts

If you're looking for something a little meatier, this should help:

  • We've invested in 105 independent winemakers to date
  • We lease the former Blackstone winery in Kenwood to use as a winemaking studio for all our independent winemakers
  • We've seen over 100% growth year-on-year, with sales of $40 million in 2011
  • We've recruited 200k customers, 100k of which invest over $3 million dollars a month towards future orders
  • We were named the UK's most innovative wine company for two years on the trot, at the IWC
  • We were named the UK's Online Business of the Year at the 2011 National Business Awards
  • And we're probably the world's largest group of net wine investors

A truly social business

As well as the model itself, the website delivers a truly social experience.

  • Customers can chat directly to one another and to the winemakers.
  • Customers can vote with their feet on new initiatives and wines, to decide what makes the cut.
  • And we can suggest to customers what to buy AND what not to buy, based on their preferences.

The team

The man at the top is Rowan Gormley, former Virgin Wines and Virgin Money CEO, and our non-executive director who keeps us in check is Ian West, former BSkyB MD. The rest of us are an assorted bunch of 30 wine and tech-loving employees based in Napa.

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