As the creators of VinoWine, we’re honored and thrilled to have been asked to write as guest bloggers on Winery Escapades! Dennis recently reached out to us asking if we could outline some of VinoWine’s app features and share how we got started on this venture. We were very humbled to learn that Dennis and his wife Jenni use the VinoWine app to discover and track nearby wineries and we hope that, as you learn more about us, you will as well!
When it comes to VinoWine there’s really something for everybody. You can discover nearby wineries, keep track of the ones you’ve visited, see which wineries are having events around you, and track the upcoming wine festivals that will be in your area.
In addition to being a winery finder, we’re proud to announce that we just launched our newest feature; the VinoWine Marketplace. VinoWine now gives small to medium sized wineries the ability to advertise and sell their wine directly to our users. We created the marketplace so wine lovers can discover and purchase those hard to find wines which are made from wineries who don’t distribute them. Many of you will be happy to hear that as of last week, we just started shipping wines to fifteen different states which include North Carolina, one of Dennis and Jenni’s frequented areas! With every passing month, we add more wineries and their wines for sale, allowing us to build a diverse marketplace capable of meeting any wine lover’s needs.
So here’s a little about us. Our names are Mike Barefoot (no relation to the wine) and Mike Lawler. We’re commonly known as “the Mikes.” Both of us are military veterans (Marine Corps and Army infantrymen) who decided to switch career paths from defense contracting to being our own bosses. In late 2009, we met each other while working for a tech company in Northern Virginia doing geo-spatial work (mapping out people and places). Within a few years of us meeting there was a need for both of us to regularly fly over to London, England to conduct business alongside our two bosses. At the end of each day we felt it necessary to explore and soak up the local history and culture that surrounded us. We found all those things at the local pubs. When word of the upcoming 2012 London Olympics reached us, an idea dawned on VinoWine’s CEO, Mike Lawler. Being the head of technology for our company, specifically focusing on geo-spatial mapping, it was a no-brainer for him; we were going to create an app that located every London pub that surrounded the Olympic stadiums. Within a short amount of time, we created an app that allowed people from any country to “check in” to any pub within the app, showing other users which countries were represented at these pubs. We lovingly gave the app the name, BRU. Following the Olympics, we were then asked by friends to create a similar app that provided locational information on all wineries in the commonwealth of Virginia. We both liked the idea so we sat down and planned out how we wanted the app to look and function. Over time, that idea spawned the beginnings of the VinoWine app and today we now cover the entire U.S. We loved the idea of getting out of the confines of our brick-and-mortar office and working with folks who, like us, are passionate about wine and getting their wines into the homes of consumers. Needless to say, it’s thirty work.
What originally started as a hobby for us in our spare time quickly became a fulltime job. Since our founding, we’ve been tirelessly working on partnering with wineries across the U.S. getting them to add their upcoming events and wine lists into our app for our users to view and rate. We developed interactive tasting menus that allow our users to rate the wines as they taste them at the wineries. That way you’ll always remember where you were and what you liked. As our partnerships with wineries grew we then decided to have our app and website also feature a direct-to-consumer marketplace so we could sell wines that are hard to locate and purchase. With VinoWine, every winery and vineyard that can ship to consumers can now advertise and sell their wines directly to our users like never before.
You might be amazed at this fact because we sure were: 60% of U.S. wineries don’t distribute their wine! The reason; they just can’t afford it. So this means you won’t find their wines sold in grocery stores or readily available online. Knowing that, we decided to partner with local wineries and create a marketplace that allows them to sell their wine to people like all of us. In the end, we not only wanted to create an awesome app and website that helps everyone enjoy the sophistication of wine tasting, we also wanted to give our users a customer service experience that feels more like a friendship than a business.
We gotta say, the best part of our job (other than tasting a LOT of great wines) is meeting or emailing back and forth with the people who use VinoWine. We receive emails every day from our users that inform us of wineries that have either opened or closed, helping us keep our interactive winery map up-to-date. We love to email everyone back to thank them and from there a dialogue or two will begin. We feel very strongly that every one of our users or social media followers is also a part of our company and we strive to make everyone as happy as we can by providing the best service possible.
The VinoWine app is available for download on iOS and Android devices (Wine sales coming soon to Android devices). We invite you to learn more about what we do by checking out our website, or even better, downloading the VinoWine app and trying it for yourself! We’re selling some really great wines from wineries across Virginia and in the month of October we’ll be opening up our marketplace to the rest of the country’s wineries. Feel free to shoot us an email with any questions or just to say hello!
Mike and Mike
Co-founders of VinoWine
LOCATION: VIRGINIA, USA