Support the show on Patreon!
May 5, 2021

Drink Better Wine w/ Heini Zachariassen, Vivino

Drink Better Wine w/ Heini Zachariassen, Vivino

Focused on helping the casual wine consumer buy better wine, Vivino has spent over 10 years building its database of wines, creating a structured tastings database, and network of merchants to make buying better wine more convenient. Heini Zachariassen,


Focused on helping the casual wine consumer buy better wine, Vivino has spent over 10 years building its database of wines, creating a structured tastings database, and network of merchants to make buying better wine more convenient.  Heini Zachariassen, founder and CEO, tells us about the journey, what Vivino is up to today, and where it’s going.  A must-listen for anyone interested in wine.  

Detailed Show Notes: 

  • Heini’s background
    • born in the Faroe Islands, with only ~50,000 people and no wine
    • An entrepreneur into technology
    • He got the idea for Vivino from “seeing a wall of wine and not knowing what to buy”
  • Vivino’s core challenge - buying wine is difficult. Vivino wants to help people drink better wine and know what to buy at stores through rating every single wine out there
  • 1st slogan - “Never forget another wine” - because Vivino didn’t have the database to do more than capturing the wines
  • With the database, you can now say if the wine is good and what else you might like
  • Ratings with at least 10-20 ratings are highly correlated with expert ratings
  • Users - 
    • 50M total users
    • ~20k users every day, ~10M users every month, ~20-25M active users every year (% of active relatively constant over time)
    • Top 3 areas of interest for consumers - #1 ratings, #2 price, #3 what does the wine taste like
    • A lot of people rate - 15-20% of scans rate the wine, 6-7% of scans review the wine
    • App use is 50/50 exploring wine (out somewhere looking at wines) and drinking wines (mostly at home, but could be restaurants, etc.…)
    • “Featured users” are pushed in the community. Some have 50-100k followers
    • The target audience is always the casual wine drinker first
  • Launched taste characteristics - a structured tasting note (both wine structure and tasting profile), uses AI to get the data into the system
  • AI recommendations (“Match for You”) - gives a % on the wine of how likely you’ll like it, leveraging structured tasting
  • Marketplace
    • 700 merchants on the platform, 50% in the US, from small retailers to Wine.com
    • Sell in 17 countries right now
    • Today only a small % (single digits) buy wines through the app - he believes there is a big upside
    • Fully integrated w/ Vivino, users can use Google and Apple Pay
    • Money goes directly to the merchants, Vivino bills a marketing fee
    • Location matched by merchant's ability to ship to the location, the app only shows things you can buy
    • Can now search for styles of wine based on structured tasting notes
    • Wine sales - ~50% are pull (people looking for specific wines), ~50% are push (primarily surfacing what the app says is great value for money)
    • Sales can be 1,000s of bottles to 100,000s of bottles for the launch of Post Malone’s Rose in a few days
  • Revenue Streams
    • The marketplace is the biggest
    • Sponsorships - newer revenue stream, for wineries - don’t directly push wineries, but make them look better when people come across them (e.g., show them a video when they scan the wine), provide data analytics to the wineries (based on Looker connecting to Vivino data), do campaign follow up (e.g., get an email about the brand after drinking the wine)
    • No ads - always want to show what Vivino thinks is the best wine for you
  • Recently raised $155M round D (2021)
    • Vivino is currently ~200 people, looking to expand, particularly product engineering
    • Want to expand into more geographies
    • Do more marketing - today, only spend 1.5% of GMV (gross merchandise value) on marketing
  • Vivino vs. Delectable - Delectable was more focused on somms and wine influencers, which kept them on the platform, but pushed away from the casual wine consumer and felt very “insider” vs. Vivino focused on the casual wine consumer
  • Vivino vs. Wine-Searcher - Vivino values convenience more. Wine-Searcher focused on higher-end wines, looking for specific bottles of wine and where to buy it, don’t do transactions
  • Vivino vs. Drizly - the focus is on convenience for delivery, has a network of 1,000s of retailers, faster and less concerned about what exactly the product is, Vivino more focused on wine exploration and ratings
Get access to library episodes

See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.