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Netflix for wine: The Wine Gallery toasts to raising $500,000 in its first funding round


Wine startup The Wine GalleryThe Wine Gallery has secured $0.5 million in funding from angel and private investors in their first round of fundraising.

Using custom-built technology, The Wine Gallery provides subscribers with monthly wine boxes tailored to their tastes though a custom-built technology engine that uses a palate quiz and customer ratings and feedback.

Co-Founder and CEO Tom Walenkamp said that the funding will enable The Wine Gallery to continue to enhance the technology that provides customised wine selection based on customer tastes: “The Wine Gallery blends two business models that weren’t thought to be compatible – technology and personalised wine.”

“Taste is subjective and sommeliers spend years refining the skills to be able to recommend wines. Creating a palate-driven technology that can scale has always been the biggest challenge for The Wine Gallery.  Our goal is to continue to hone the technology so it’s even more responsive to customers’ preferences, while allowing scope for the occasional wine adventure and discovering something they wouldn’t normally try”, said Mr Walenkamp.

The perfect blend of tech and wine

More services are turning to the power of personalisation to keep clients engaged, from Spotify’s Discover Weekly feature to Netflix’s Recommended for You and now Sydney-based wine startup is allowing subscribers to receive wines tailored completely to their tastes. The Wine Gallery has launched a new custom-built technology engine that uses a palate quiz and customer ratings and feedback to select wines tailored to customer’s tastes.

The Wine Gallery is an alternative to traditional wine retail. Subscribers receive three small-batch wines chosen and matched to their personal tastes by a three-time Sommelier of the Year, complete with tasting notes, pairings and a matching recipe.

Tom said that the new platform is providing a previously impossible level of insight into subjective customer tastes and preferences.

“Have you ever walked into a bottle shop and stared at a wall of wines and not known where to start? For the most part, consumers are facing an overwhelming and often uninspiring choice. Wine subscription services certainly aren’t new for this reason, however our goal is provide customer’s with a much more curated service than the old ‘mixed dozen’,” he said.

Wine Gallery cofounders Tom Walenkamp and Banjo
Wine Gallery cofounders Tom Walenkamp and Banjo

How exactly does The Wine Gallery work?

To get started, customers complete a specially designed wine palate quiz to start to build a personal taste profile. Each month as customers receive their personalised selection and provide their ratings and feedback, The Wine Gallery gathers data that enables them to learn about each customer’s tastes and make increasingly intelligent suggestions.

“This means that in any standalone month, some customers may get sent the same bottles, but over time no two people will take the same wine adventure. After a couple of months we rarely have two customers that have gone on the same wine journey. Essentially we’re providing expert curation by an award winning sommelier supported by a powerful personalisation engine,” said Tom.

Discovery and education is key to the The Wine Gallery model. Wines are selected by Co-founder and Wine Buyer Banjo Harris Plane, who curates a diverse ‘monthly mixtape of wine’ that allows subscribers to try grapes and varietals they may not have otherwise chosen. He also provides ‘Winesquad’ members with the resources to learn as much (or as little) about the wine as they wish. Each box comes with tasting notes, the history of the winemaker, food pairing tips and a link matching it to a recipe. Additionally, subscribers can track their wine journey in the member subscription area.

“We wanted the new website to be a beautifully simple and interactive user experience where people can step into a world of wineand have a two-way conversation about their personal tastes and feel comfortable, whether they’re a first-timer to aficionado. Subscribers can easily browse a full history of their past bottles, ratings and tasting notes as well as see their upcoming bottles, make substitutes and change or add bottle,” said Tom.

The Wine Gallery monthly subscription costs $69 for three bottles and $9 shipping. Users can skip, pause or cancel their subscription at any time, no questions asked.

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