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Online wine retailer attracts $1.2 million

Online wine marketplace winery lane is charting expansion after raising more than $1.2 million in pledged investment through an equity crowd-funding initiative.

The online retailer, which stocks a range of independently produced wines, will bring pledges onboard as investors in the business as part of the process, facilitated by equity-funding platform Birchal.

With still just over six-days to go, co-founder Stephen Mobbs said the business had already smashed its initial target of $250,000, and that the funds would be directed at scaling up the business.

The current campaign is for expressions of interest, but a formal funding campaign will be launched based on the pledges next month after the company changes its structure to allow for an influx of additional shareholders.

Investors will receive perks for their support, including a 32 per cent discount on all purchases they make with the business.

Winery Lane aspires to occupy a niche in Australia’s booming online wine market, focusing on providing independent wine makers with an additional path to market that’s relatively risk-free and prioritises telling their stories.

“Our proposition is that we’re looking for wine lovers, and we want to be able to engage with them on a regular basis, its not just about making purchases – it’s the stories behind the wine,” Mobbs told Internet Retailing.

“We invest really heavily in content development for each winery, [because] they don’t have the funds or expertise to develop a lot of that themselves.”

Winery Lane operates on a consignment model, whereby winemakers a charged a commission on sales through the platform, shipping products to a central warehouse operated by the e-tailer.

Mobbs said that while traditional market juggernauts Coles and Woolworths had done a lot to provide smaller wineries with a pathway to market, Winery Lane’s less adversarial approach was more compelling.

“The Coles and Woolworths have had a fantastic run … but we feel like our offer is more compelling,” he said.

“We’ve removed the adversarial type conversations that wineries might have with buyers, we work off fixed margins, its not about waiting for another wine maker to come in and offer a higher margin.”

Growth in online shopping has opened up the wine market in recent years, with businesses such as Vinomofo and Cracka Wines also capitalising on the willingness of suppliers to look outside of traditional channels.

But, even as the market becomes more competitive, Mobbs is confident that Winery Lane’s niche will deliver incoming shareholders returns.


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