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New association for digital wine start-ups

A new Bordeaux-based association for wine start-up companies was launched this week at Vinexpo.

Wine StartUps so far has 13 member companies, all of which were formed between three months and three years ago.

It is led by Gilles Brianceau, director of Inno’vin, an ‘company incubation’ facility at the Institut des Sciences de la Vigne et du Vin at the University of Bordeaux.

The companies in the group are linked by the fact they target the wine industry, and use innovative or ‘disruptive’ digital technologies.

Among the companies are Kasual Business, who publish the Smart Bordeaux application, a wine label scanning system that has been adopted by the Bordeaux Wine Bureau (CIVB) for its chateaux database.

, the ‘virtual sommelier’ system that works on smart phones and is used by several major supermarkets in France, and Wine Services, an online research and marketing company which is working with high-end classified chateaux.

Xavier Montero, director of Vinallia, a company that offers joint purchasing of vineyard equipment and other material to help smaller estates, told Decanter.com trainees and digital specialists can apply to work in any of the companies, and new startups can apply to become part of the group.

‘A few months ago, we were aware of each other, but felt we were in competition. But we decided that collectively we could raise awareness of new technologies and products, and stimulate a creative environment.’

Aymeric Fournier, director of Wine Data Systems, also a member, said, ‘In the future we hope to attract wine startups from other countries to Bordeaux.

An example is Vinoga, a Facebook game that won an Innovations Trophy at Vinitech wine fair last year, which decided to set up in Bordeaux rather than California, to draw on the global renown of the region. They are now partnering with Ma Bouteille, another company within Wine Startups that provides online customisation of wine bottles.

Key figures in wine and the internet are offering advice and support such as Jean Moeuix of Maison Duclot, and Dan Serfaty, the French internet entrepreneur and founder of Viadeo, a professional social network with 30 million users worldwide.

‘We will also be looking to raise investment, and hope to have an ongoing dialogue with the local and international wine industry, to ensure our technologies are responding to actual needs,’ said Fournier.

Written by Jane Anson in Bordeaux

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