Bottleshock: changing the way HK buys wine online

Importer, distributor and now online retailer, Bottleshock has launched its website which includes a flavour and aroma algorithm that ‘demystifies’ the process of buying wine online.

The man behind Bottleshock, the gentle-mannered Adam Green is determined to dispel the “stuffy connoisseur” image surrounding wine and make it easy for the average Hong Kong consumer to find out what they like by using the ‘flavour profile’ algorithm online which breaks down features of wine including acidity, body, tannin, complexity and fruit flavours.

Of course this assumes a basic level of knowledge of wine on behalf of the consumer but out of the stock of 96 skus currently on offer, Green is confident everyone will find something they will like.

“Our core aim was to provide an experience that was expert yet friendly and accessible as sadly it is common for the ‘stuffy connoisseur’ image to still dominate people’s perceptions of enjoying wine,” he said.

“We are absolute believers that wine is for any occasion and that there is a wine that’s right for every occasion and we want to bring that ethos to Hong Kong.”

Armed with a Kedge Wine and Spirits MBA as well as 10 years’ experience in the UK wine trade, Green moved to Hong Kong last year to set up Bottleshock which initially sold to the on-trade, including Rhoda, one of Hong Kong’s most popular restaurants which is run by his brother Nate.

Eschewing the big names which are arguably over-represented in Hong Kong, Green has gone for smaller, independent producers the majority of which have not appeared in Hong Kong before, such as the likes of South African pioneers, Crystallum and Craven and boutique Californian producer, Jamie Kutch with mixed cases also available.

A snapshot of Bottleshock’s flavour profile that whittling down consumers’ wine’ tastes

“The backbone of wine production lies with small grower and producers often working land their families have owned for many generations and who make excellent wines which offer fantastic value,” said Green.

“With the way that the Hong Kong market is structured in terms of duty and taxes, it’s possible to bring in brilliant wines that won’t cost the earth – basically HK$100 should buy you a good bottle of wine, $200 an excellent one and $300+ something really special.”

Commercially, Bottleshock’s offering also differs from the norm with a customer credit system, replacing more common product or volume specific discounts. This sees all orders over $800 (also the threshold for free delivery) earn 20% of their value back in credits to be used on future orders.

“We know that people living in large cities don’t often have the space to store lots of bottles,” continued Green. “Therefore, we didn’t want to try and force customers into taking un-split cases of wine to achieve a saving. Equally we want people to discover the wines they love across our range and, therefore, didn’t want to use product specific offers that drive people to shop on discount.

“By offering credits we can provide a generous reward to repeat customers which they can then chose to spend as they want, maybe saving a little on every order or perhaps saving up and having a few bottles on us at the end of the year.”

www.bottleshock.com.hk

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