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TV wine educator to open bar

A Channel 4 wine educator is planning to open a wine bar as an extension of his latest online wine subscription venture, which launches this month.

Raul Diaz, who owns wine education business Wine Training Ltd and presents the wine segment on Channel Four’s Sunday Brunch, is looking to open a London bar the spring which will tie into his new wine subscription service, Savage Vines. Although the bar will be open to the public, Savage Vines subscribers will have preferential deals, discounts and activities, Diaz explained. .

Speaking to db recently, he said he wanted the new online service to be a “lifestyle” service and community with lots of additional benefits for subscribers in addition to the three wines sent per month. Other benefits include deals with restaurants or holidays at the wineries, concerts and activities as well as video content that connect the consumer to the winemaker and bring the wine’s ethos and story to life in an informal way.

“We don’t want [Savage Vines] to teach about wine but it is about enjoying it in context,” he said. “And there is strong demand to share the vibe.”

“No one is giving added value or anything other than wines at different combinations,” he added.

The new venture had been funded to date by private capital, but Diaz intends to raise capital to facilitate growth in the New Year.

“We are looking at different option. We have a lot of interest already from venture capital and private investors, people want to invest,” he said.

Diaz is hoping to build a community of around 20,000 subscribers in the first year, targeting 25-35 year olds who want to enjoy different wines but are looking for additional experiences and interaction.

He has already lined up the rotating list of producers for Savage Wines’ wine list, including young winemakers who are keen to open up new avenues for distribution. The focus will primarily be on European wines, he said, although it will also also source exclusive wines from New Zealand, Chile and Australia.

The site is set to go live this week.

A former sommelier in Michelin starred restaurants, luxury cruise lines and boutique hotels, Chilean-born Diaz spend four years working at Jascots Wine Merchants, where he developed its in-house wine training department supporting Jascot’s customer’s restaurant staff as well as their own in-house team. He later set up his own training school, saying there was increasing demand for training that strikes a balance between being informative without being too intimidating or “know it all”.

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