The Problem / Opportunity
Entering the world of wine can be very daunting, there are seemingly endless varietals/regions and even more vineyards to explore. For someone with little exposure to wine who is looking to learn more about the topic some of the only ways to find out what types you like is the guess-and-check method. For many people, this is extremely frustrating and can be a large waste of money.
Many subscription services offer to filter through the landscape by sending 6 or 12 bottles a month to a person. Unfortunately, this method offers little to no customization to a person’s taste or preferences as the services generally send the same bottles to all their members. Currently, there are few services that offer a quick, affordable, and curated solution for people to experience wines based on their taste preferences.
The subscription-based service, Bright Cellars looks to take out what most people find to be the boring hard part about drinking wine – picking out one that they will like! Users go to the Bright Cellars website and take a quiz that gives the company insights into your personal preferences. From there, “the algorithm scores each wine by comparing 18 attributes to your preferences” and you receive a box of wine that the algorithm has picked out for you.
Once a user has received and tasted their wine, they can rate the matches that the Bright Cellars algorithm has provided them. This iterative process allows the algorithm to better learn a user’s preferences the more a person enters ratings and uses the service. As the database of ratings keeps growing the algorithm can draw associations from what other people have liked, the creators view the service as a subscription service and Pandora-like matching service mixed into one. Bright Cellars is targeting the millennial market who have not yet committed to drinking a specific type of wine yet, don’t know what they like, or are looking to experiment with uncommon varietals.
Market & Comparable Solutions
Obviously, the wine market is very mature as is the idea of a subscription wine service with many different options available to consumers. Some of the companies that are getting similar press and attention as Bright Cellars are Club W and Pour This.
Club W started off with a very similar model as Bright Cellars, people would take a quiz and they would source and select bottles based on the quiz results. Most recently they have acquired their own winery and have rebranded to Winc. Now members are paired with wines that are made in house or that come from small partner vineyards. They still have a profiling quiz and rating algorithm that tries to continually better understand their members’ taste preferences. This is the closest competitor to Bright Cellars, but as they have their own in-house wine, the algorithm and cost structure is significantly different.
Pour This, on the other hand, acts more in the capacity of a traditional wine subscription service but proclaims that it is more curated than its predecessors. Pour This sends its members the same lot of three wines, but they are all hand picked by their in-house curator and tend to be very obscure. They are looking to capture the market of people who want to explore new and different wines that they might never have come across or experimented with in their wine consumption.
Bright Cellars could make their offering even more customizable by allowing people take quizzes based on their wine experience or knowledge. Someone who knows exactly what they like but is looking to be exposed to more uncommon brands might want to be able to specify that initially. Currently, their model only really caters to those who are beginners in wine and can only identify flavors they prefer rather than wine producing regions or countries.
Additionally, Bright Cellars with $150,000 could hire another full-time employee to make improvements to the algorithm while the founders work on business development. This is especially true as they grow the business and look to work directly with wineries.