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April 24th, 2016

Winner Ideas.

Last Friday, I had the privilege of being on the judging panel for Winexplorer: an innovation challenge for inventors and entrepreneurs to create a business or invention that changes the way we enjoy and/or consumer wine.

Created by New Zealand based winery Brancott Estate and start up specialist company BlueChilli, the competition selected five finalists from over 100 entries; put them through business bootcamp and then gave them the opportunity to pitch to a judging panel (Shark Tank style) in a bid to win $35,000 and the chance to turn their dream into a business.

And yes it was intense.

They were all great ideas, all deserving minds…it was tough.

Obviously my experience with wine is in the drinking. The only innovate I’ve brought wine is adding ice to my pinot noir (don’t knock it until you try it!) so I was there with my trend spotting hat on and am blown away by the calibre of thought and passion behind the winners invention.

And SO proud it’s coming out of this country.

Listening to the life stories and dreams of the finalists reminded me just how important it is to LOVE what you do. To not give up on what you want and to constantly challenge ordinary thinking.

As a mum of two daughters, I’m all about pushing the STEM ship and increasing the number of women entrepreneurs in this country. Competitions like this encourage and nurture that spirit – it was a really refreshing, pay it forward platform to be involved with.

Take a look.


The Winner.

Vinnovate has developed a functional, on-demand, dispensing screw cap closure containing a chamber inside that when activated (via push-button), allows the consumer to deliver a precisely measured dosage of a compound into their wine. These compounds can include flavours, aromas or preservative removal solution that can be added any time during the consumption of the wine. The purpose of this product is to empower the consumer to tailor the wine to suit their individual needs.

Created by South Australian brothers Joshua Schmidt and Simon Schmidt – CMO and Winemaker at Vinnovate. From a German heritage, and growing up immersed in one of the world’s premier wine regions, the team at Vinnovate has a unique perception, passion, and understanding of wine and the industry.

The Finalists.

The BYO (Be Your Own) Vine Guide is an app that creates personalised (self-drive) wine tours based on crowd sources ratings for winery experiences and your individual wine, and wine tasting preferences.

The information is collected using a crowd sourced ratings system as well as your personal preferences to create a personalised guide that will reduce your search from 100 cellar doors to the best ones that suit your wine preferences.

Victoria based Ross Maher and Amy Luscombe the brains behind BYO Vine Guide are passionate about entertaining, tourism, wine and how they combine in our modern society. Individually they have worked as consultants and project managers in many different industries and sectors, and together they have worked on establishing a national rating system to improve the sustainability of Australian building products.

Sipple: Have you ever reached for a bottle of wine and you can’t quite remember when you opened it? You think it was the last few days, but just can’t be sure?

Sipple is a wirelessly integrated wine stopper which both keeps your wine fresh but also reminds you to drink any any currently open bottles. It  is a connected wine ecosystem made up of a wirelessly enabled physical bottle stopper and two mobile apps.

Created by Jamie Metcalfe (CEO and Founder) and Matt Rose (Co-Founder and CTO) from Victoria. The bottle stopper detects the remaining wine in a bottle, extracts the necessary air from the bottle and wirelessly updates the Sipple app. The app sets how much wine remains in a bottle, and when to drink it by. Wine habits can be tracked and the app will also offer up recommendations of other wines to sample. A second app, Sipple Cellar will focus on the cellaring of wine with reminders set years into the future based on vineyard recommendations.

WineMinder is a unique cellar management system that uses actual storage conditions to determine when each bottle in a cellar is at its peak. It removes the guesswork from deciding when to drink a bottle by adjusting the ideal cellar life based on accumulated exposure to temperature.

Tim MacTaggart is the founder and creator of WineMinder from Queensland. Tim has over 20 years’ of experience in business, with the last ten focussing on technology commercialisation and innovation.

The product consists of a mobile app, a wireless temperature sensor and a proprietary shelf life algorithm specific to the aging of wine.

The product is great for people who store wine but don’t have a temperature controlled environment- to manage their wine collection without having to install and expensive wine cellar or fridge.

Your Own Wine Adventure

Your Own Wine Adventure combines innovative packaging and distribution with software (online and mobile apps) to make it easy and fun for people to try a wider range of wines in their homes and to find out more about them – how they are made, where they come from, the people to make them and their relationship with the land.

Wine “adventurers” select a combination of wines from a website, using a laptop or mobile device. A shipment of 4 to 6 wine samples, in innovative, recyclable containers and packaging, is couriered to them at an affordable price.

When picking their wine adventure, users can choose from  several categories: grape variety, region, company, random and even blind. Each sample has a link or QR code, which takes the taster to a web page containing information about the wines they’ve tried and links to other sites that contain further information. This product allows users to enjoy wine tastings with family and friends in a safe environment.

The New Zealand based Your Own Wine Adventure team is made up of Nick Wyatt and Scott Williamson.  Nick and Scott have been mates and colleagues and have worked together on various projects for about 15 years but have been tossing around this concept for the last 3 years. Their skills complement each other and they work extremely well together.


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