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Cellar Chats

How Vinebase is Helping Small Wineries Flourish and Helping You Shop According to Your Values

June 15, 2021

Written By Coravin

Vinebase, a startup based in San Francisco, is helping you buy wines directly from small, boutique wineries that align with your values. When you land on Vinebase.com, you are greeted by a clean, simple design with tags like minority-owned, run by women, minimal intervention, and biodynamic farming front and center – allowing you to shop according to what’s important to you.

The idea for Vinebase was born in early 2020. When COVID first hit, small winery owners suffered. With restaurants and tasting rooms closing, wineries scrambled to set up e-commerce shops and shift their sales channels from in-person or wholesale to direct-to-consumer. “It was a crazy time and we wanted to help,” shared Vinebase CEO and co-founder, Rachel Woods.

After just a few, we’re sure, long days, the Vinebase team set up a website and campaign called #SupportOurWineries with the goal of bringing awareness to wineries that most people had probably never heard of. “We had 250+ wineries join the platform and a huge rally of support from the wine community spreading the word on Instagram,” Woods told us. “That ended up being the precursor for Vinebase!”

Vinebase founders

For Woods and her co-founders Chantam Duong and Kieran Klaassen (also VP of Engineering), this is about more than the consumer – this is about increasing access, pioneering transparency, and creating opportunities to make a better wine industry for the wine drinkers and for the livelihoods of people who create this beautiful beverage. 

Why Wineries Love Vinebase

According to the Silicon Valley Bank report, “State of the US Wine Industry 2021,” small wineries have about 25% of the market share. Vinebase’s hope is to make buying and supporting wineries directly the norm. In just the last month (May 2021), they doubled the number of wineries on the platform bringing the current total to 62. Why so much excitement? “We think that by buying direct, wine lovers can get a better picture of the why behind the wine – the people, the story, why that wine tastes that way,” said Duong. “We hope Vinebase becomes the home base for wine lovers looking to make a meaningful connection to what they drink.”

For a smaller winery with limited resources, a platform like Vinebase is a godsend. “As a small wine label, it’s challenging for us to grow consistently and connect with our customer base,” says Madison of Ranch Road Vineyards. “Vinebase completely changes the game by doing exactly that.”

Having a positive impact is at the center of Vinebase’s mission. As a Public Benefit Corporation – a for-profit company that strives to have a positive effect or reduction of negative effects on society – the Vinebase team is committed to bringing equality to wine. “To be able to do that, we consider lots of factors in our actions as a company, and the positive impact we are able to have on society is one that is our north star,” Woods told Coravin. “We fundamentally think by helping wineries sell more wine directly, it's better for the industry, winery owners, and ultimately anyone who likes to enjoy a glass of wine.”

Why Shop on Vinebase

Shopping on Vinebase is different from shopping on other online wine and liquor marketplaces. Firstly, by shopping on Vinebase, wine lovers are able to support the livelihood of wineries who make great wine but aren’t easy to find at their local grocery store or other online retailers. Also, more of the purchase goes back to the people who make the wine because Vinebase isn’t a retailer – the wine is purchased from and shipped by the winery. However, what most sets Vinebase apart from other ways to shop for wine is it’s value-based shopping experience. “You can shop for what you value, with confidence,” Woods shared. “The information and stories come straight from the producers, giving you better insight into who is behind the wine.” You can shop tags like women-led, minority-led, vegan winemaking, minimal intervention, etc., and rest-assured that the information is trustworthy. 

To keep up with Vinebase and see how the platform evolves, follow along on their website, Instagram, and Facebook. We want to thank the Vinebase team for their time and energy – cheers!