Small Business Trends: Spotlight 9/16/2015

Spotlight: FlyWine Offers Wine with Both Convenience and Quality

Wine in Small Bottles

The wine industry is known for quality and precision. But wine drinkers also appreciate convenience, which is why the single-serve wine industry is experiencing a boom as of late. The only problem is, most of those single-serve wine brands don’t produce wine with the same quality and standards that wine drinkers have come to expect.

That’s the problem that FlyWine aims to solve. The company produces single-serve wines, but doesn’t do so in bulk. And it partners with different winemakers for each edition. So those looking for the convenience of single-serve wines can still enjoy the quality and variety they’ve come to expect. Read more about FlyWine in this week’s Small Business Spotlight.

What the Business Does

Offers premium wine in small bottles (a 100ml bottle).

Business Niche

Offering convenience and quality.

FlyWine’s founder, Stephanie DeMasi tells Small Business Trends, “The single-serving wine industry is growing rapidly now that, just recently, companies and entrepreneurs understand the demand for conveniently packaged wine. But the integrity that makes the wine industry special is being pushed aside to make way for profit. FlyWine seeks to change people’s perceptions of single-serving wine. We partner with a different reputable Napa winemaker for each of our editions who wouldn’t attach his/her name to a product that lacked premium quality. The quality gap between our competition and us is noticeably wide.”

How the Business Got Started

Because of a gap in the market.

DeMasi had studied wine since college, moving to Northern California from New York in the early 2000s. She even worked her way up to partner in two wineries.

She was interested when some companies began to take on single-serve wine. And she thought that there should be a company that provided single servings of high quality wines.

Wine in Small Bottles

Biggest Win

Getting high ratings for its first-edition wine.

DeMasi says, “The first edition of FlyWine, named The Kitchen Sink, is a Sonoma Coast Red Blend. It received a 90-point rating from Robert Parker out of the barrel. This was a great win for the company right out of the starting gates. It proved that FlyWine could stand up to the established industry, even if it comes in small bottles.”

Biggest Risk

Donating profits to charity.

DeMasi explains, “From the start we wanted FlyWine to be a company that gave back to the community. The idea was to partner with a different charity for each edition and donate $1 per bottle. Setting aside 10 percent of revenue from the beginning could have put us in a sticky financial situation, but it was important to us to take the risk, and it worked out perfectly.”

Lesson Learned

Take your time with branding.

DeMasi says, “In the beginning we were rushed to put together the brand and get FlyWine on the market. I think out success could have been even greater if given a little more time to visualize what we wanted this brand to be. Now, after our first wave of editions, we are compensating for this by giving our brand a little ‘facelift’.”

How They’d Spend an Extra $100,000

Marketing to raise national awareness of the brand.

Wine in Small Bottles

Company Mascot

A bottle of wine with a mustache.

DeMasi explains, “We started a series of social media posts featuring Tommy the Traveler. He has quite the personality and travel stories, and he is nothing but a FlyWine bottle with a fake moustache.”

Favorite Quote

“A ship is safe in a harbor. But that’s not what ships are for.” – William Shedd



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