Naked Wines invests in NZ winemaker

23rd February, 2012 by Lucy Shaw

Former Craggy Range winemaker Rod Easthope is to make an exclusive range of wines for online retailer Naked Wines.

Rod Easthope

Funded by Naked and its 100,000 “Angel” customers, Easthope will also act as a consultant winemaker for other New Zealand producers working with Naked Wines.

“It’s been a lifelong dream to be my own boss, and the Naked Wines’ model is finally making that dream come true,” said Easthope.

“I’ve had a fantastic seven years at Craggy Range, but I’m really excited to join the Naked team and produce an exclusive range of wines under my own name – at scale.

“I know where the best grapes are hiding, and now I have the backing to put them to best use and share them with the UK public,” he added.

Easthope is leaving his full-time role as chief winemaker at iconic New Zealand winery Craggy Range at the end of May, but will continue to act as a consultant winemaker for the company.

“Rod is an immense talent and we’re delighted to be investing in such a big name,” said Naked Wines founder and chief executive Rowan Gormley.

“With our Angels investing over £2 million a month into the company, their reputation is spreading and we’ve got some exciting winemakers knocking on our door,” Gormley added.

Easthope’s first two Naked wines, a Hawkes Bay Sauvignon Blanc and a Hawkes Bay Pinot Gris, are expected to go on sale in the UK in October.

He also plans to make Pinot Noir from Marlborough and Central Otago.

Easthope grew up working on vineyards in the Dartmoor Valley in Hawkes Bay.

He studied for a wine science degree at Roseworthy College in South Australia, and then learnt his craft with stints in Australia, South Africa, Italy and France.

2 Responses to “Naked Wines invests in NZ winemaker”

  1. Helen Mitchell says:

    The only slight fly in the ointment here is that many of the ‘Angels’ investing all this money are totally unaware that they are doing so. And when they find out they are pretty mad. Perhaps Rod should have read this recent judgement before he got so close to NW: http://www.asa.org.uk/ASA-action/Adjudications/2012/1/nakedwines,-d-,com-Ltd/SHP_ADJ_170793.aspx

  2. Hi Helen, Fran here from Naked Wines. To be clear, to become an Angel:

    – customers have to OPT IN, not opt out
    – we confirm back to them in writing
    – we email their balance to them every month
    – and they can cancel whenever they want, and get their money back

    When the ASA challenged our advert they accepted that we said in black and white that there is a monthly payment of £20 – their recommended change was to make it more prominent, which we have done.

    We have 100,000 Angels who are getting great wine at preferential prices – and a handful of customers who missed the detail, and signed-up unintentionally.

    Tell us more about you Helen? Are you a disinterested observer or do you have an axe to grind…?

  3. james murphy says:

    In the UK, the ASA is toothless. Companies complain about their competitors more than consumers. It’s basically a waste of time exercise other than for the really blatant rip-offs. If you read the naked wines website, it’s pretty clear what an angel is investing in. how much clearer does it have to be?

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