Vinfolio CEO Don St. Pierre Jr. and his business partner, Allan Warburg, invested the $5m to take over majority ownership of the company in early 2018 and form a new executive leadership team.
Founded in 2003, Vinfolio underwent a transformation in 2016 when St. Pierre Jr. took over as CEO and invested $4.4m in the company. Prior to joining Vinfolio, St. Pierre Jr. co-founded ASC Fine Wines, Greater China’s major importer of wines, which he sold to Suntory.
In 2015 after moving to San Francisco, California, St. Pierre Jr. became interested in helping fine wine producers navigate the US distribution environment and connect with the end consumer.
“I saw an opportunity to bring the world of fine wine closer together, including everyone from producers to consumers,” St. Pierre Jr said. “[Vinfolio] was the perfect place to make that happen.”
Vinfolio seeks to target both collectors and producers of fine wine approaching the direct-to-consumer model as multi-sided marketplace rather than a sales channel.
“The continued consolidation in the US distribution system makes it increasingly challenging for smaller producers of high-end wine, especially those outside of the US, to connect with the end consumer,” Vinfolio chief marketing officer, Cristina Hall, told BeverageDaily.
“These producers lack a platform to tell their story and build their brand at scale, and many are not capturing enough of the value their wines are commanding in the market.”
Vinfolio aims to provide fine wine producers with an integrated platform consisting of a direct-to-consumer fine wine e-commerce store, a collector marketplace, cellar management software, and a fine wine storage facility to provide an immersive brand experience.
Bringing the fine wine experience mobile
A major part of Vinfolio’s transformation with the $5m capital injection is the launch of a mobile app for those in the fine wine industry. The Vinfolio app features proprietary algorithms and personalized recommendations, including a collector favorite: which wines are best to drink next from your cellar, and other data and insights.
“Consumer preferences for how to shop and interact with brands has undergone significant change over the past decade, and despite early opinion to the contrary, the luxury sector is no exception,” Hall said.
“Over the next few years, the fine wine market will figure out how to adapt its outdated path to market to better meet consumer needs. Direct-to-consumer digital platforms play a critical role in this evolution.”
Digital platforms like Vinoflio provide fine wine producers with technology and marketing support to engage directly with consumers at scale, according to Hall.
Using the Vinfolio app, a collector can manage all aspects of their collection from a single place through Vinfolio’s cellar software, Vincellar.
“Vinfolio also provides producers with meaningful data and insights about how their wines perform on the platform, information that has never before been available to these producers,” Hall added.