BINGE: How did you come up with the idea for The Vini?
The Vini: We owned a very limited production, boutique winery and were getting our fine wines in all the hottest restaurants and wine stores in South Florida and Las Vegas, but no one would put our wines on their by-the-glass lists. Although successful in those markets, we never had the opportunity to expose our boutique brand to a larger audience as it was too risky for restaurants to open an entire bottle. Then years ago, I had this epiphany after seeing a small, 50ml tube (1/15th of a regular bottle) meant for sampling wines, which led to the conceptualization of The Vini-Exceptional Wine by the Glass®. “What if there was a bigger size? We could open up an untapped market by uniquely designing an elegant, single-serve format for the exclusive delivery of high quality, fine wines.”
In the latter part of 2009, I began research and development with Chef Winemaker David Gordon to produce something the world had never seen – fine wines offered in a by-the-glass format. I realized that the format needed to be something that people could identify as elegant, so they could first believe that it was actually fine wine in the bottle. There was so many negative stigmas attached to single-serve wines, i.e. plastic airplane bottles, cans, pouches, etc. all with lesser quality wines. We decided to test-market a 100ml size (approx. 1/8th of a bottle or a little over 3 oz.) with vineyard designated, single varietals of Pinot Noir, Zinfandel and Chardonnay. People really seemed to love the idea of it and the quality of the wines, but felt cheated by the 100ml, sample-sized pour. We could not compete with restaurant by-the-glass lists pouring only a little more than 3 oz. when they were serving around 5 oz. for the other wines on their list, so we went back to the drawing board to resolve the size objection. I was very inspired to make an impact in the wine world by revolutionizing fine wine, allowing it to be more accessible to the masses and opening up a new segment of the wine industry that has never existed before, an ample and sophisticated, 187ml single-serving format (1/4 of a regular bottle or 6.3 oz.) for the exclusive delivery of fine wines.
BINGE: What makes your brand different than others?
The Vini: The Vini creates an entirely new market segment, which has been untapped (a single-serve format exclusively for the delivery of high quality, fine wines). The format defines single serve high-quality wine as different from the existing individual-serve packaging. This format is not trying to compete with the ready-to-drink (RTD) market, which is more about convenience over quality. It is a lifestyle product about providing accessible luxury. Most people won’t open their fine wines until a special occasion. It’s about being able to indulge in your favorite high-end wine everyday, because you deserve it. It is offered in a lightweight, seamless glass with Stelvin® screw cap closure, which is suited for fine wines. It would be difficult for most consumers to believe that something is truly a fine wine when they are peeling off a yogurt top and drinking from plastic, a can, a carton or a pouch. The Vini is meant to be poured into a glass, so it can aerate and be presented like any other fine wine. In a restaurant setting, the format allows for a transformation of by-the-glass lists where spoilage and over-pouring are no longer a concern. It can be priced accordingly and served sommelier-style at the table, where the guest knows that it was just opened and they are getting exactly what they paid for. We are currently alone in this category, tapping a market that has never existed before.
BINGE: Describe your product and give us a few fun facts about it.
The Vini: Offering the first ever single-serve fine wine, The Vini is dedicated to offering wine enthusiasts an approachable medium towards enjoying high quality wines without the commitment of an expensive bottle. Wine lovers no longer have to worry about opening a bottle that will go bad, The Vini offers high quality wines in accessible portions. The sleek packaging is not only eye-catching, but also ergonomic and accessible anywhere with an easily opened screw cap. The Vini fills a void in the market, offering fine wine in a format that ensures freshness and quality to boot. Perfect for everyday consumption, gifts, restaurants, hotel, amenities, lounges, weddings, corporate events, parties and more, The Vini sets the bar for by-the-glass formats.
We believe people deserve to drink high quality wines all the time; not just on special occasions. With The Vini, everyday can be a special occasion. We call it “accessible luxury.” People seem mystified by wines and many don’t understand the difference between a low and high quality wine; mostly purchasing based on price because they have never tried fine wine and don’t want to take the financial risk. As a layperson, I describe it like a high fashion pair or jeans and how they just fit better, a gourmet coffee over instant brew, a gourmet chocolate over a mass-produced bar, an aged filet mignon over a fast food burger. You just cannot compare those and you can’t compare the difference between a fine wine and a mass-produced one. The intention of The Vini is to offer that everyday wine drinker the ability to explore and the connoisseur the ability to open that great bottle whenever. Currently, we are offering a California Proprietary Red based on Napa Zinfandel blended with Petite Sirah and Merlot and a California Proprietary White based on Sonoma-Napa Chardonnay blended with Viognier. Blends are in the top 3 whites consumed in this country and they are approachable, so we decided to start there and then plan to build on our portfolio in the future by creating single varietals and/or working with other wine brands to bottle in our patented format.
People seem to love the shape of the format so much that we created a place on our site called re-uses to give people an idea of how they can use the bottles again rather than disposing of them.
BINGE: Where do you pull inspiration from to keep making your product bigger and better?
The Vini: Wine is inspiration. Wine is a story and helps to create a narrative. Wine brings people together and helps build relationships. Wine is one of the only beverages that is a conversation and creates a conversation. Wine has always been a part of my success. I have used it to build strong, lasting relationships in my career before wine. When people don’t know each other, but they have the commonality of food and wine; you can put them together and begin talking about those commonalities. It is one of the few things in life that you can enjoy on a daily basis, like food and good company. I felt The Vini could open up a new segment in the wine industry, which has never existed before and open up new stories, new relationships, new ideas and inspire others to explore.
For more information on The Vini or to purchase, please visit www.thevini.com