Vinsource, a Healdsburg based wine-technology company announced the launch of Vinsource Online, an internet platform allowing California wineries to sell their products directly to restaurants and retailers in California. Vinsource provides an alternative sales channel for hundreds of boutique wineries that do not have access to traditional distribution. It also saves time and money for restaurants and retailers by providing a single point of contact for sommeliers and wine buyers to negotiate directly with wine producers.
Traditionally, wineries have relied on wholesalers – the second tier of the three-tier system – to distribute their products to restaurants and retailers. However, recent consolidation amongst wholesalers has primarily favored large brands, shutting many boutique producers out of the market. Vinsource allows these wineries to bypass the distribution bottleneck and make their products available to restaurants and retailers directly. Vinsource helps small wineries level the playing field with their larger competitors and improves product diversity at the consumer level.
“We’re providing access to a whole range of boutique products that were previously unavailable to retail wine buyers,” says Andrew McMaster, co-founder of Vinsource. “We use our product expertise to play matchmaker between buyer and seller and then provide technology to facilitate transactions between them. This model allows us to serve a significantly underrepresented segment of the market.”
Vinsource provides more than just technology, however. The company retains a team of independent court-certified sommeliers to assess new products and make their own personalized recommendations to buyers. These independent sommeliers are also available to provide outsourced consulting services to restaurants that prefer not to maintain sommeliers on staff full-time. According to Ziad Haddad, vice president of Business Development, “Other companies have offered direct-to-trade services in the past, but they’ve always overlooked the critical human component. We have engaged the services of a reliable team of independent sommeliers in order to provide honest, objective feedback to our clients, and we feel that their objectivity is what sets us apart. We are focused on building strong, lasting relationships first; sales will follow.”