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Nov. 2, 2022

Enhancing the Enjoyment of Wine Collecting w/ Elton Potts, Vine Vault

Enhancing the Enjoyment of Wine Collecting w/ Elton Potts, Vine Vault

Catching the wine bug from the nudge of a physical trainer, Elton Potts, Founder & Managing Partner of Vine Vault, has built a business focused on enhancing the enjoyment of wine and wine collecting. From full-service wine storage to refrigerated shipping to hosting wine events, Vine Vault has grown rapidly and serves six markets in the US.  


Detailed Show Notes: 

Elton’s background

  • A 27-year career in finance & ops ran a global storage and logistics business
  • A physical trainer said beer would undo the impacts of training and to substitute it with red wine
  • Frustrated with storage and delivery options that existed, he started Vine Vault

Vine Vault

  • 1st two facilities launched in Q4 of 2015
  • 70% annual revenue growth, doubled in 2021
  • Six markets (Napa, LA, Austin, Atlanta, Miami, Philadelphia), >50 team members (incl ~12 sommeliers)
  • >75% of wine stored in a full-service storage program

Mission: to enhance the enjoyment of wine and wine collecting (beyond storage)

Additional services 

  • Fully refrigerated, door-to-door delivery services 
  • Fulfillment service for high-end wineries, incl pick & pack, hand labeling, wax dipping
  • Moving cellars
  • Wine events
  • Sommelier services

Storage basics

  • Climate control with low temp fluctuation
  • Humidity - too dry dries corks; too humid creates mold
  • Security - feel safe and have ease of access
  • Access wine - want availability, but doesn’t risk security
  • Clean facility - no chemical smells that can damage wine or rodents that might eat labels and packaging
  • Location access - ease of drop off / pick up (e.g., ramps)
  • No vibration
  • Lifestyle requirements - staff to receive shipments, inventory wines

Pricing varies by location

  • Self storage - ~$3-4/case/month
  • Concierge / full service - ~$4.5-8/case/month

Scale is not that important for only storage

  • Scale supports logistics and events
  • Plans to expand into more markets 

Arranges pickup & delivery of wines bought from wineries for consumers

  • Schedules delivery, refrigerated, no styrofoam 
  • Winery avoids breakage, returns, and damage
  • Winery knows customers get the best experience of the wine

Inflation and supply chain impacts - price not keeping up with cost increases

  • Added a fuel surcharge
  • The most significant issues are supply chain, e.g., a truck offline for 4 months waiting for a door latch

Developed boxes for storage & shipping

  • Cardboard lays bottles flat, sturdy for stacking, and bottles don’t touch each other
  • 40-60% recycled material, no styrofoam
  • White color to show confidence in the process, won’t get dirty or damaged

Traveling road show for wineries - organize and plan events

Business breakdown - all segments growing

  • Wine delivery 40%, storage 30%, wine moving 20%, events 10%
  • The biggest opportunity is delivering wine

Trends

  • More women collecting wine
  • Post-baby boomers collecting wine
  • The storage business is still growing, and people are becoming aware of it


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