Invests $109,000 in a Winemaker Behind Napa Valley's Premier Cult Wines, Inc. Logo

-- Winemaker Randy Hester Joins Crowdfunded Wine Business --

Crowdfunding Raises $109,000 for Top California Winemaker

NAPA, Calif., Feb. 26, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) --, a customer-funded winery, has united over 150,000 Angels to invest $109,000 to setup Randy Hester, a winemaker who spent the past several years involved with some of Napa Valley's premier cult wineries. Randy's experience started at Cakebread Cellars as a harvest intern where he was later hired on full-time. Randy Hester says, "It was at Cakebread where I learned what it takes to work in a winery." Upon leaving Cakebread in 2008 he worked alongside some of the biggest names in the wine world making wines you have to stand in line to buy even if you can afford the $300 price tag. In 2012 he landed an amazing opportunity to work with Andy Erickson.

Randy says, "Before I moved out to Napa, I made a list of the top 50 winemakers and wineries that I wanted to work with. Andy has always been at the top of that list and it's been an absolute thrill to work with him."

Funded by cutting costs you can't taste

Since Randy'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. Randy says, "I am thrilled to offer this wine at this price! I don't know if I can say this but I would pay $30 for this wine. As much fun as wine marketing can be, it costs so much money. Reducing our marketing expenses to almost nothing means I can charge my valued Angel investors a lot less, and everybody wins."

Crowdfunded wines available now

Randy's customer-funded Sauvignon Blanc 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:

  • 150,000 customers invest over $4 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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