To our loyal Wine Revolution community,
Today we’re announcing a big change. At the end of this month, Wine Revolution in its current form is taking a break. As of 1 August our online store will be accessible only through our bespoke tastings arm, the Tasting Assembly.
It’s been a difficult decision but one that James and I have been working through for a while. COVID-19 has presented personal and professional opportunities and challenges, and I want to share the WR story and the reason behind our decision.
My background is a mix of hospitality, wine and traditional media but my true passion has always been the wine industry. Apart from enjoying all wine styles, I find learning about wine growing and winemaking a never-ending source of fascination and joy. A few years ago we discovered natural wine. As a result, not only did we ditch conventionally produced wine altogether, we also quickly realised there was a gap in the market for online retailers. After 12 years in corporate radio management, the time was right to establish my own business and in 2018 we launched Wine Revolution, an online wine store specialising in the niche categories of natural, organic, biodynamic and sustainable wine.
Once Wine Revolution was up and running, the business still felt incomplete and I missed talking to people! How do we reach customers face to face without putting on large and costly events? How do we educate our market other than writing blogs/newsletters that few ever read? We discovered another gap in the market – private tastings. So, in early 2019 we launched the Tasting Assembly – in-person educational tastings for private and corporate groups. The business model was simple – a guided ‘try before you buy’ tasting whilst educating people on natural, organic and sustainable wine growing and winemaking in a fun and relaxed format.
The addition of the Tasting Assembly was not only a major driver of new customer acquisition and retention for Wine Revolution but on a professional level, educating people on planet-friendly wine practices was rewarding. My career had been built on customer engagement, so it was a dream job to be tasting and talking wine with like-minded wine lovers. We have educated hundreds of people and hopefully influenced their wine purchasing decisions to buy wine that’s better for the environment. It’s the part of the business I enjoyed most.
Then COVID-19 arrived. The advantage of being an e-commerce business was that Wine Revolution experienced a healthy growth in sales that was sustained throughout 2020/2021. We put a branded van on the road for Melbourne deliveries and moved into a larger warehouse. Unfortunately, all Tasting Assembly bookings were cancelled but we pivoted the tastings to online. We engaged the winemakers, running the tastings as a Q&A session via Zoom. During 2020 we hosted 16 winemaker tastings, bringing the cellar door to people’s loungerooms. Our tastings proved to be a valuable social connection and from a business point of view, they helped fill the gap of lost in-person tastings, as well as supporting our winemakers and industry.
That all sounds positive, right? Yes, but by the end of 2020 our priorities for the future had changed, and personally we wanted a business that gave us freedom and flexibility to spend more time with family interstate. Wine Revolution is a seven days a week business and anchors us firmly in Melbourne. So it’s taking a break, but we’re leaving the door open to restart online sales in the future.
From 1 August we will be focusing solely on the Tasting Assembly arm of the business. We will continue to partner with Australian and New Zealand premium organic, biodynamic, and sustainable producers to bring their cellar doors to homes and boardrooms across Australia, in-person and online via Zoom. To date, we’ve had an incredible journey exploring different regions, producers, and their delicious planet-friendly wine styles. But there is always more to learn, and we look forward to continuing to share this knowledge through our private and corporate Tasting Assembly events.
Wine Revolution has delivered thousands of cases, in every State and Territory, to amazing and supportive people like you who love what we do. Thank you for supporting our business, enjoying our curated selections, and being part of the wonderful Wine Revolution community! We look forward to continuing to share with you our passion for natural, organic, biodynamic and sustainable wine.
Stay safe and keep drinking well for our planet.
Love and gratitude
Ally and James xoxo