On average, grocery stores have more than 2,000 bottles of wine. Having so many choices can cause some consumers to be overwhelmed. As a result, 71% of people base their wine purchases on price or the design on the label, as Gary Campbell, founder, and CEO of WineView App, will tell you.
Campbell was inspired to create WineView during a visit to a California vineyard last year.
“They brought out this wine list that had each wine’s pairings and tasting notes, as well as the ratings from Wine Spectator and Wine Enthusiast…it was just a lot of information on this sheet,” said Campbell. “Being a younger person, it was just not a nice format for me to have this giant book of information in front of me. So coming from a marketing angle, I was going to approach the vineyard owner and say ‘hey, we could make an app so that when people come to your vineyard they can just open it up and can have an additional menu but with augmented reality.’”
He began to expand on his concept to feature every wine. As he was researching and brainstorming, he discovered other competitors in the space but recognized there was still a market need for his augmented reality concept.
“In August, about two weeks later, I had a full business plan put together and just started talking with friends and family,” said Campbell. “We raised a pre-seed round and started developing around September 1. Since then we’ve been full-steam ahead. So we’re creating an app that is beautifully designed, easy to use, and free for everyone.”
Originally, Campbell and his team had planned to design WineView so that a customer could hover over a bottle of wine with their smartphone (without taking a picture), to find out ratings and pairing information.
“Obviously Vivino is kinda similar to that and from what we were learning from our users, they were just a completely different demographic and cared about different things,” said Campbell. “We’ve started to focus on Dinner Mode. This is something that sets us apart from every other competitor out there because it just hasn’t been done yet.”
WineView is now working on a feature that is question-based. Upon opening the app, users will be asked if the wine is for a food pairing or a tasting. They will be given a series of choices to narrow down their options, then the user can move their phone screen around and the app will select four or five bottles perfect for that occasion.
“We’re taking the grocery store shopping experience and making it a split-second [decision],” said Campbell. “Instead of [users] going in [the store] and walking around with their hands in their pockets for about five minutes and having no idea what to choose.”
Campbell said the initial strategy to acquire customers entailed posting a WineView QR code at the front of grocery stores. Upon researching the idea further, they learned customers are usually rushed when entering stores, and most people won’t spend the time to download an app. Now, the team is working directly with grocery store chains.
Vineyards, wineries, and distributors can also partner with WineView for a low cost. The early version of the app is now out on the app store.
The next step is to scale WineView. The team opened up its seed round at the beginning of March 2021.
Campbell works alongside two other co-founders, COO Angela Grace Caine, and CTO Chris Sterling, who was just brought on full-time.
“To put it shortly, he [Sterling] is a genius,” said Campbell. “This guy’s built gaming engines and is an expert level in C++, C sharp, Java, SQL. We’re really lucky to have him. My other co-founder comes from the Birmingham market. [Caine] is an attorney with over 25 years experience who’s been with me since the beginning.”
WineView also has a growing advisory board consisting of sommeliers and others from the local tech community.