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“LinkedIn” for the wine trade launches

A wine producer and IT expert have teamed up to create a new website claiming to be the “LinkedIn” and “Bloomberg” for the wine trade.

Julian Faulkner aims to offer a one-stop shop for the international wine community, from a comprehensive company database to event management tools and streamlined competition entry system.

In time the website is seeking to act as a social networking hub as well as a market place for producers, agencies, job hunters and merchants looking to shift excess stock.

The idea for the initiative came from Julian Faulkner (left), a negociant and producer at Domaine Grand Cros in the south of France, who described the website as “born out of my frustrations in the trade.”

Observing that systems like “exist in different industries, but not the wine trade,” Faulkner found that current tools available “are either very local or just offer one or two of our functions.”

After a “few false starts”, Faulkner teamed up with Christian Car, who brings 15 years of experience in IT development, to spend 18 months creating this largely self-funded site.

Explaining the commercial angle of his business, Faulkner outlined: “a community where the trade can access a broad range of information, contacts and business opportunities for a limited financial outlay based on a credit system – members earn points for providing information to the site.”

Users can register and browse for free, with the site then levying a “charge for value-added functionality.” However, Faulkner maintained, “such a broad range of services should make us cheaper than other systems.

Comparing his site to existing networks such as Canadian-based Global Wine & Spirits, Faulkner added: “Other companies charge membership fees so it can cost a lot even if you don’t get any results. We’re pay as you go so when you see something of value, then you pay.”

Currently available in 10 languages, including Chinese, Russian, Japanese and Korean, the site has initially launched in France and the UK, before rolling out into “key” markets.

Aiming to build up “over 100,000 trade users internationally by the end of the year,” Faulkner revealed he is also working on a consumer arm to the business, which he hopes to launch this autumn.

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