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Friday, 30 March 2012

Naked Wines' $1m Zero to Hero Competition‏

One of the things I most admire about Naked Wines is their entrepreneurialism and willingness to keep trying out different business models and ideas.

With 200,000 customers, over half of which are Angels, they have clearly found their market and are getting it right, but are also not resting on their laurels.

Some of the most interesting and thought-provoking people I have met in the course of my wine-writing have been those who have a background in business rather than wine and can therefore bring a degree of fresh thinking and commercial acumen to the difficult process of making money out of wine.

And charismatic South African Chartered Accountant Rowan Gormley, who heads up Naked Wines, is about the savviest businessman I have ever met either in my wine-writing capacity or my day job as a company director.

All of which brings us on to Naked's latest venture - the $1m Zero to Hero Competition.

Put aside the awful title - which evokes a TV quiz show and sounds like they picked $1m because £1m was too much money - and the idea is that wine-makers in the UK (plus France, Spain, Chile, Argentina and Australia) apply to Naked to win an order worth £50k from the company plus the chance to wine a $500k investment contract.

The details on my press release are a little sketchy and it is never really explained where the $1m figure comes from.

However, for any of the "talented unknown wine-makers" that Naked are looking for, these are mere details at this stage - Ts and Cs can presumably be obtained from Naked's Development Director Eamon Fitzgerald who is given as the contact for registering interest.

As ever, Naked also has an eye on the customer and is looking to recruit wine drinkers - be they existing Naked customers or not - onto the judging panel and paying them in Naked Wines credit to do so.

Registration for this side of things is via www.facebook.com/nakedwines.

The competition has all of Naked's hallmarks - a bold, novel, industry-challenging approach, direct investment in winemaking, a customer-centric assessment process and lots of buzz.

It also has a zeitgeisty feelgood factor, as investing in British business is very much A Good Thing right now, whilst the profile of award-winning UK wines is on an upward curve.

I just wish they'd thought of a better name for it.

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