The company is investing £5.5 million to help winemakers in Australia and the US set up or build their businesses – and will make these wines available to consumers in both markets.
Naked Wines founder Rowan Gormley said: “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.”
The cash is going towards projects including helping Sam Plunkett, whose Shiraz was named Best in Australia in the 2010 Great Australian Shiraz Challenge, to set up his own label; a project with California’s Randall Grahm to develop a range of exclusive wines; and setting up a studio in California’s Napa Valley where winemakers can make wines to be bottled and and sold by Naked Wines.
Gormley said: “When we finally worked out that a US$50 (£31) 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 £2 million 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.”
To find out more about becoming a Naked beta taster or getting funding to make wines, visit nakedwines.com.