Burbank, CA – The California Wine Exchange launched its crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter yesterday in an effort to buck distribution standards and offer wines from mostly craft and boutique winemakers from within the Golden State.
They reached nearly 20% of their overall funding goal on the first day alone. Mark Prior, founder of the California Wine Exchange [CWE], believes that too many great California wines go undiscovered…and he’s looking to change that. “We guarantee that 80% of our inventory will be from family-run vineyards and mom & pop wineries,” says Prior.
Kickstarter approved the project (not every project gets approved) for his wine shop & tasting room because CWE seeks to offer something fashionable for wine drinkers. California alone has over 5,000 winemakers within the state (www.ttb.gov/foia/frl.shtml), but the average consumer will typically see the same wine labels over and over again.
“It’s not like it used to be though,” says Prior. “Now we have hybrid-distributors like LibDib.com and Merchant 23.com which connect retailers like myself with smaller wine producers. On top of that, regional shipping has improved and become more cost effective enabling us to buy directly from the vineyard.”
But by specializing in only offering California wines, it seems at first glance like the venture is limiting itself. Prior sees it another way… “A wine-loving Los Angelino is more likely to have visited a vineyard in California than anywhere else in the world. By stocking my shelves with wine from the likes of Paso Robles, Santa Barbara, Napa and Temecula, it’s more likely that my customers will have heard of that wine, or region, or actually visited that place. It’s about making that emotional connection with my customers.”
Kickstarter and crowdfunding have become a mainstream source of start-up capital for businesses these days. Kickstarter alone is responsible for over $4 billion raised for projects on its website to date, with over 36% of its campaigns reaching their target goal amount (www.kickstarter.com/help/stats).
“I’m not going to lie…the thirty-six percent thing makes me a little nervous,” says Mark. “But wine lovers are more passionate by nature. I’m hoping my Kickstarter will resonate with them.”
Details for the California Wine Exchange’s Kickstarter campaign:
Target Goal: $50,000
Start Date: May 14 2019
End Date: June 14 2019
Sneak Peak URL: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/728400539/california-wine-exchange-craft-wine-shop-and-tasti