Naked Wines: Give Yourself the Gift of Wine Discounts

December 18, 2012

9:00 am

With a Naked Wines membership, you can treat yourself to deep discounts on wine this holiday season.

Naked Wines sells reds, whites, and rosés from independent winemakers. Members have to put $40 into their account each month, which can then be spent on bottles. The company works directly with local wineries, so you get discounts of 40-60 percent. Your money carries over month to month, and you can cancel anytime.

“Our goal is to change the wine business by allowing normal people to drink wines rich people drink everyday,” says marketing manager Adam Reiter.

In much of the industry today, wineries work for big corporations who tell them which types of wine to make and in what quantities. The wines go through a distributor and a retailer, and they are marked up 66 percent by the time they reach consumers, says Reiter. By cutting out those middlemen and discounting prices, Naked Wines has been able to attract 100,000 subscribers – that’s $4 million per month.

Reiter used to work for E & J Gallo, a large winery and exporter, but he was frustrated with the traditional model. “I believed customers weren’t winning, and I believed winemakers weren’t winning,” he says.

When independent wineries try to cut out the middlemen themselves, they end up spending precious hours traveling around, meeting with restaurants, and trying to sell their wares. “Good winemakers are really good at making wine and they’re really bad at selling wine,” says Reiter. With Naked Wines, they can forget sales and marketing and focus on what they do best: turning grapes into heavenly bottles of vino.

Naked Wines launched in the UK in 2008, then expanded to the United States and Australia this summer. It started with 12 cofounders who left Richard Branson’s Virgin Wines. Now, with over 100 employees, those entrepreneurial wine lovers are supporting entrepreneurial winemakers around the world.

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Kira M. Newman is a Tech Cocktail writer interested in the harsh reality of entrepreneurship, work-life balance, and psychology. She is the founder of The Year of Happy and has been traveling around the world interviewing entrepreneurs in Asia, Europe, and North America since 2011. Follow her @kiramnewman or contact