Announces $10 Million Funding Round to Support International Expansion

Customer-Funded Wine Retailer Powers International Expansion with Third Round Investment from World's Largest Wine-Marketing Company

Aug 22, 2013, 08:03 ET from

NAPA, Calif., Aug. 22, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --, the first customer-funded online wine retailer, is pleased to announce that WIV Wein International AG, the world's leading group of direct wine selling companies, has made a third round investment of $10 million in the business. The new funding will accelerate the company's expansion into the US and Australian markets. Key Facts:

  • Founded in 2008
  • Now has 150,000 'Angel' customers worldwide
  • Has over $40m invested in over 130 winemakers on four continents
  • Shipping 10,000,000 bottles of wine a year in USA, UK and Australia
  • Turnover exceeded $60m in 2012, just four years after launch
  • Declared maiden profit of $1.5 million in 2012
  • WIV Wein International was a founder shareholder in and has supported its growth and development  throughout's unique business model is based on a virtuous circle. Funds from regular customers (called "Angels") are invested into independent winemakers, in exchange for exclusivity and wholesale pricing – typically 40-60% below retail prices. After successfully launching in Britain in 2008, launched its revolutionary business in the USA and Australia last year and now has more than 50,000 Angels in the two countries.

The investment was made in the form of a long-term shareholder loan through Naked Wines International Limited, the UK parent company of the group.

Rowan Gormley, founder and CEO of said: "We're in business to make rich people's wines affordable to normal people.  By funding winemakers, so that they can focus on making great wine, rather than selling it, we do just that.  WIV's latest investment will really help us step up the quality of our wines in a way that our customers can taste.

"Winemakers don't get the recognition or the rewards they deserve, and we want to see that change.  In the restaurant industry, individual chefs have become much more famous than the restaurant. We're helping to do the same thing for the wine business."

Andreas Pieroth, Joint Managing Director of WIV Wein International AG says, "We've been in the wine business for 60 years, in 24 countries around the world, and's business model is the biggest revolution we have seen. We are very pleased with our investment in the business."

"The only reason I can make my own wines, under my own name, without having to spend my life on the road selling, is because does all that for me," said award-winning winemaker, Ken Deis, former Winemaker at Flora Springs.

To learn more about, visit

About is a customer funded online wine retailer, with a unique business model, where customers can fund winemakers in exchange for wholesale pricing and exclusivity.

Key facts

  • 150,000 Angels (customers who fund winemakers)
  • Invested over $40m in 130 winemakers around the world
  • Shipping over 10m bottles of wine a year
  • Sales grew to over $50m in 2012
  • Declared maiden profit of £1m in the UK in 2012, which was distributed to staff

What's different about

  • It actually works. Unlike virtually every other independent online wine retailer it is growing and firmly on track towards achieving profitability.
  • Customers do not need to rely on the company's marketing blurb to figure out the wines. Instead over 500,000 customer reviews provide an independent reference point. Customers can also chat directly to the winemakers and each other
  • Every member of staff is a shareholder
  • funds independent winemakers to set up their own business, and does not charge interest or take equity. Instead the company…
    • Funds grapes, barrels, bottles and winemaking
    • In exchange for preferential pricing
    • Which it passes on to its customers


  • Launched in 2008 by Rowan Gormley (founder of Virgin Money and Virgin Wines) and a team of 12 other Virgin Wines staff
  • Won awards for Innovation (International Wine Challenge), 100 Best Companies to work for (Sunday Times) and the National Business Award
  • Wines are available to wine drinkers in USA, UK and Australia