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An Interview with the CEO of Wine 2.0
Wine. Technology. They're industries that aren't normally associated with one another in casual conversation. After all, they do tend to attract people with respectively different mindsets and values: one with its artisanal passion for craftsmanship, the other with its methodical drive for development. But with their common tendency towards creativity, the two unlikeliest of bedfellows have come together to engender some of the most compelling changes in the areas of wine sales, marketing, and media. Concurrently, a new generation of consumers is utilizing hardware tools and web-driven services in innovative ways to learn and communicate about their common passion for wine. Arising from these phenomena was the coining of the term 'wine 2.0' to refer to companies and organizations oriented around the intersection of the two. One such company, boldly adopting the term as its own name, is Wine 2.0. It's a venture that has taken the idea of combining the two industries one step further by coordinating events that bring them together in a social context with the goal of "blending the line between wine and technology." The result is a synergy from which the wine trade and its consumers are increasingly benefitting. Speaking on behalf of his partners Chairman J. Smoke Wallin and Director Jeffrey Playter, I met with Wine 2.0's CEO Cornelius Geary to discuss their collective vision for this venture as well as his own thoughts on the future of the wine industry in the context of technology.
NM: What is Wine 2.0?
CG: The genesis of Wine 2.0 occurred when my partner and I started RadCru and realized that there were other smaller companies like RadCru that needed a vehicle to promote themselves. We saw Wine 2.0 as a platform to communicate and connect with each other as well as our competing companies, many with whom we've become friends. It was named as a way to delineate between the concept of [what we thought of as] wine 1.0 — the 'wine.coms' of the world who've remained in the traditional domain of online wine sales and marketing — and what we felt were the new opportunities and new business models that came about after the dot com crash. Essentially, we're an event marketing group working with wine brands and other companies who share this newer vision, to help get them in front of consumers and the wine trade, and to get people tasting and talking about wine in the context of fun and innovative events. At the same time, we're tying it all together online through social media tools like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Wine 2.0's own social website in order to facilitate a wide network where everyone is represented, can communicate, and gets together for face-to-face meetings.
NM: How is the Wine 2.0 model different from others in the domain of event-planning? What is it that makes you guys unique?
CG: I think the difference lies in the type of person who comes to our events: a younger, hipper, very highly educated consumer who's a lover of both wine and technology. Also, these events are not your stiff and traditional wine-tastings; they're experiential, entertainment-oriented events that people come to for the wine and the camaraderie that goes along with communicating about wine.