Naked Wines is offering direct consumer access to winemakers across the world. In return for committing to spend as little as £5 a month with an individual producer, consumers qualify for discounts and in some cases a half-case of free wines.
Gormley said: “The idea is to connect the winemaker and the wine drinker directly so you create a virtuous circle. The money goes to the winemaker, so they can invest in better products that the consumer wants to buy.”
The site began with 17 winemakers, including Bruwer Raats and Patricio Gouguenheim, though 32 have now signed up and Gormley predicts there may eventually be “hundreds”.
The site also has a social networking dimension: customers are given their own page where they can rate the wines they have bought and discuss their choices with others.
Naked Wines is also relying on a panel of 100 of its customers to help select new wines for the site by giving their verdicts on free samples they are sent. “The most reliable guide is the feedback from customers because they’re drinking the wine in a real-life environment,” Gormley said.