It was just three years ago that Justin Charbonneau first realized the need for a service that would give buyers and sellers of bulk wine and grapes a more amenable place to find one another.
Based in Atlanta, he began working with family friends who were starting a winery in northern Georgia and were struggling to find bulk wine to buy until the newly planted vines could start producing grapes.
In the end they found their wine, but he recalls there “wasn’t any kind of discussion around finding the best product at the best price. It was such a laborious and friction- filled process where we were just happy to find anyone who was willing to ship California Cab across the country.”
That experience led to the creation of GrapeConnect, the wine industry’s wholesale grape and bulk-wine marketplace that aims to become the standard B2B marketplace for wine producers.
In its early days it was strictly a directory, but that landing page evolved into much more, as people began reaching out wanting to post their information. “Eventually we got to the point, about a year and a half ago, where we completely scrapped the directory altogether and now we have over 1,200 active lots for sale posted by sellers directly to GrapeConnect.”
Indeed, for those who remember visiting the site a couple years ago when it was in its infancy, Charbonneau suggests coming back to see what it has become now: a powerful online platform that supercharges sales, sourcing, and analytics for wine companies that depend on the bulk wine and grape trade.
For sellers, it connects growers and wine producers with active buyers and equips them with the tools to sell available inventory more efficiently and securely.
For buyers, it connects wine producers, negociants and brokers with a robust supplier network and the tools to efficiently find and buy the best product for their programs.
Both sides benefit greatly by GrapeConnect’s market intelligence, allowing them to make better decisions through quicker access to transparent and granular market pricing data. The company has even started to produce quarterly pricing reports that incorporate data scraped from publicly available sources in addition to its own material posted specifically to the platform by producers and brokers.
“Interest in that data has been pretty surprising and overwhelming; even folks who have no interest in selling or sourcing on the marketplace access and leverage that data,“ he says.
While GrapeConnect has grown rapidly over the past couple years in a market that can shift in a matter of months, it takes great pride in its ability to listen to its customers and make those adjustments on the fly.
“We’re still an early stage company,” Charbonneau says, “but we’re regularly facilitating deals and have been around long enough to make a real impact for many of our users, so whether it’s our data being picked up or delivering great outcomes for people, we’re certainly now a real force in the industry.”
For more information go to: www.grapeconnect.com.