Challenger to Watch: Vinomofo
For calling out the bowties and bullsh*t
The world of wine is a closed society. It’s complex, confusing and has its own language. Nothing is more anxiety-inducing than being handed a wine list with pages and pages of options. Plenty of opportunities for failure.
If only there was an easy way to guarantee you were buying great wine, getting it for a good price, and all the while being spoken to by a mate, rather than a philosopher.
Enter Vinomofo, the Australian online retailer democratising the world of wine.
Vinomofo works closely with wine producers in Australia and overseas to curate a selection of its favourite wines – “if we don’t love it, we don’t sell it” – buy in bulk, and pass savings onto its members. Vinomofo is building a community of loyal wine lovers and producers in the process.
Launched in 2011 by brothers-in-law Justin Dry and Andre Eikmeier, Vinomofo has grown from a garage in Adelaide, into a company employing 120 staff, posting a 2016-17 revenue of A$70m.
Vinomofo signed an Australian record breaking $25m financing deal in 2016 with a venture capital firm, and has since expanded into New Zealand, with pop-ups in Singapore and the United States, to test and learn in-market (prior to a full launch). The UK, Hong Kong and China are on the horizon.
What makes Vinomofo different, is it is not quietly asking for a seat at the industry table, but instead blowing the table up.
Vinomofo appears to have taken a leaf out of Brewdog’s irreverent maverick playbook when it comes to marketing. Vinomofo speaks of “starting a revolution” and being “the most epic wine site on the planet”.
Members are 'Mofos' and its own-brand wines include a Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvingnon named 'Old Money' and a McLaren Vale GSM called 'The Orgy'.
Underneath the bravado, Vinomofo has a warm and fuzzy core – ultimately it wants to be about the celebration of wine and life.
Vinomofo's witty ‘About’ page is enough to make you want to gather your nearest and dearest, procure some great grub, excellent plonk, and build delicious memories together.
And the good vibes keep coming, because this is a business which benefits all those involved. Small wine producers, with burgeoning businesses and tiny marketing budgets, are able to access a global platform to market and sell their wines; while “Mofos” gain access to exceptional wines they wouldn’t otherwise be able to, at low cost.
It doesn’t get much more democratiser than that.