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Todd Sheppard

Live Oak Bank

Naked Wines invests $8m in 22 winemakers in USA and Australia


May 6, 2012


Naked Wines, the UK’s fastest growing online wine retailer, is investing £5.5m in 2012 to help 22 talented winemakers from the USA and Australia to set up or build their own businesses.

Among the projects are:

  • AUD $400K to help Sam Plunkett, who made the Best Shiraz in Australia at the 2010 Great Australian Shiraz Challenge, set up his own label
  • A project with celebrated Californian winemaker, Randall Grahm, to develop a range of exclusive wines
  • US $1.4M to create a winemaking studio in Napa, California, where winemakers can do what they’re good at (i.e. make wine) and leave the funding, bottling, sales and distribution to Naked Wines.

Rowan Gormley, Naked Wines Founder says:

“When we finally worked out that a $50 bottle of Napa Cabernet costs $10 to make, and we can sell it for $15, we knew we had no choice but to get in on the ground floor.

By backing the talent BEHIND the big names, and investing in top quality grapes, we will produce wines equal to the best, at a fraction of the price.

With 100,000 Angels investing £2m a month with us, we have the financial firepower to kick-start some really exciting projects.

In exchange, our Angels will get exclusive access to these super premium wines at prices that will annoy the hell out of our competitors – typically 40-50% off.

We aim to allow American and Australian wine drinkers get access to these wines too, by opening low-key retail operations in both countries over the Summer. We expect it will be some time before those markets are ready to try unknown wines from winemakers nobody has ever heard of, and our key focus remains investing in winemakers, but the retail interest will come, and we want to be ready when it does. To test the waters, we’re currently recruiting beta tasters (i.e. everyday wine drinkers) to help us scout out the talent – and decide where we should be investing our money.”

Independent winemakers looking for funding in either country can apply to work with Naked Wines at  – and as of 10th May, wine drinkers who are keen to become a Naked Beta Taster can find out more at either