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Wine delivery start-up designs letter box-friendly bottles

A UK start-up is hoping to fill a gap in the wine home delivery market with a specially designed flattened wine bottle which can fit through a letterbox.

Flat-bottled wine and frozen pizza – is this the future?
Flat-bottled wine and frozen pizza – is this the future?

Garcon Wines, a start-up company launched by 29-year-old entrepreneur Joe Revell, claims to be the first wine home delivery service that is able to post wine through a customers’ letterbox.

Revell explained that the idea emerged after he heard a friend complaining about missing wine deliveries at home. Most wine delivery services require the customer to be present to take delivery of the wine that has been ordered. Often customers are not able to take delivery which necessitates redelivery or customers travelling to delivery offices to collect their wine.

In an early boost for Revell, in late 2016 Garcon Wines was named the winner of the US business entertainment series Pop Up Start Up on CNBC.

The show followed 12 aspiring entrepreneurs who went head to head to convince judges of the ingenuity and viability of their respective businesses. Garcon Wine picked up the winner’s £20,000 cash prize for its wine delivery service idea.

Garcon Wines co-founder, Santiago Navarro, said the company would source wine from around the world and ship it to the UK in bulk. The wine would then be decanted into the specially made slimline screwtop bottles.

The bottles have the same 750ml volume of a conventional glass wine bottle but have been flattened and made longer so they can fit through a letterbox.

The bottle itself is 13.5″ in length– about 2″ taller than a regular wine bottle – but around half as thick. The bottles are made from glass-like hard plastic and packed in cardboard boxes.

“I was well aware of the problems that exist with wine delivery, having previously owned an online wine company,” Navarro, said.

“We spent lots of time speaking with designers from around the world when eventually the ‘eureka’ moment came to us. Since then we worked for a year and a half to get these bottles manufactured.

“There has never been anything like it before. The bottle feels very nice in your hand, with similar rigidity and clarity to a regular bottle.”

Expansion plans

Speaking to db this morning,  Revell said Garcon Wines is planning a round of crowdfunding next month ahead of launching its wine subscribers to the service in March.

The team is initially targeting £50,000 which it will use to build its UK consumer-base and build technological capabilities to offer subscribers a more curated list that can make suggestions based on consumers’ individual preferences, but Revell is also hoping to be able to extend the reach of the “innovative and disruptive” product in due course.

“Because of the TV show we’ve had a lot of international interest, as CNBC has a large global reach,” he said. “We want to focus on the UK initially, but want to branch out.”

The team is currently in discussions with winemakers and wine producers around the world, but wants to offer a range of ‘niche’ wines from boutique producers that will provide its customers something difference as well as providing smaller producers with a new route to market.

“We are putting a massive of emphasis on the quality of the wines,” he said. “We want to provide exciting and different wines with a story behind them.”

“There are so many wine producers and lots are tiny, and getting into the UK market is very difficult. We want to get to the point where we can open that up.”

Club members will be able to choose between daily, weekly, fortnightly or monthly deliveries which Revell said will “suit and stretch” their interests and make suggestions.

“Hitting the £10 bracket was a very important price bracket as going over that is a big mental element for consumers,” he said, adding that the economies of scale helped make this a viable and sustainable price.

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