South Australian brothers, Joshua and Simon Schmidt have won the Brancott Estate Winexplorer innovation challenge and $35,000, following a competitive pitch to a panel of expert judges from the world of wine, entrepreneurship, innovation and media.
The winning idea from the Vinnovate owners impressed a panel of judges which included Paula Joye, editor of The Joye blog, and Sebastien Eckersley-Maslin, founder and CEO of Bluechilli. Vinnovate presented a screwcap closure called the ‘Vino Cap’ with a built-in flavour chamber that the wine drinker manually activates to add complementary flavours or aromas to their wine or reduce preservatives. This allows wine drinkers to customise the flavour of their wine to their own personal taste or to match a specific occasion.
Sebastien described the judging of the competition as “interesting, exciting and tough.” Sebastien went on to say, “The Brancott Estate winexplorer innovation challenge looked for an idea that would fundamentally change the way wine was enjoyed and the idea from Joshua and Simon really fitted this brief.”
Patrick Materman, Brancott Estate Chief Winemaker and one of the winexplorer judges, said “I was intrigued by this idea as soon as I saw it, and after hearing Joshua and Simon pitch, I could immediately see the potential. We see this as a way to help people explore different flavours, aromas and textures in their wine to enhance the wine-drinking occasion.”
Vinnovate beat four other finalists including a cellar management system based on actual storage conditions; an online, self-directed wine tasting adventure; a wirelessly integrated stopper to track wine quality in open bottles and a personalised wine tourism app. The pitch event followed an innovation bootcamp where all five finalists worked with startup incubator BlueChilli to refine their business model and their pitching skills.
“The bootcamp [was] a great experience. Not only have we had the pleasure of meeting some fantastic people, but we have been able to refine our business model and utilise some business modelling tools and approaches thanks to the talented advisers at BlueChilli” says Joshua Schmidt, Co-founder and Chief Innovation Officer of Winexplorer winner Vinnovate.
“We formed Vinnovate in 2012 with the idea of wanting to positively change how people enjoy wine. The whole experience of the winexplorer innovation challenge has really validated the idea for us” says Schmidt, “Having the opportunity now to take this further, and potentially bring it to market, it’s an incredible feeling and we are really thankful for Brancott Estate for running this challenge”.
The Brancott Estate winexplorer innovation challenge was open to entrants from Australia and New Zealand, and had more than 100 innovations entered. In March, five finalists were announced:
- Joshua Schmidt and Simon Schmidt, Vinnovate (winner)
- Ross Maher and Amy Luscombe, BYO Vine Guide (People’s Choice winner)
- Jamie Metcalfe and Matt Rose, Sipple
- Tim MacTaggart, Wineminder
- Scott Williamson and Nick Wyatt, Your Own Wine Adventure
These finalists participated in an intensive bootcamp with BlueChilli before pitching to a judging panel comprising Patrick Materman, Brancott Estate Chief Winemaker, Paula Joye, editor of The Joye blog, Sebastien Eckersley-Maslin, Founder and CEO of BlueChilli and Paulina Larocca, New to World and Creativity Director, Pernod Ricard Winemakers. The winning team was awarded $35,000 to assist with further development of their innovation.
The winexplorer journey was captured by Brancott Estate and is featured in short form videos, available here.
Brancott Estate winexplorer innovation challenge – finalists
- Vinnovate, Joshua and Simon Schmidt – A screwcap which can be activated manually to deliver complementary flavours or aromas to wine, enhancing the flavour of wine to your personal taste or to match a specific dish.
- BYO Vine Guide, Ross Maher & Amy Luscombe – Designed specifically for wine tourism, this online platform allows people to create personalised cellar door tours based on visitor ratings and specific experiences. Visitors to wine regions benefit from easily identifying and planning cellar door experiences that match their particular preferences.
- Sipple, Jamie Metcalfe & Matt Rose – A wirelessly integrated bottle stopper that not only keeps wine fresh, but also connects to an app that ensures wine is consumed while still at its peak. Never wonder when the bottle was opened or waste wine again.
- Wineminder, Tim MacTaggart and team – Temperature sensors, a mobile app and insights into wine aging combine to create a cellar management system that uses actual storage conditions to determine peak drinking windows for wine, removing guess work from when wine is best drunk and ensuring cellared wine is enjoyed at its optimum maturity.
- Your Own Wine Adventure, Scott Williamson & Nick Wyatt – An online, self-directed wine tasting adventure that allows people to choose new wines to explore from the comfort of your home. Wines are home delivered, along with detailed, entertaining information about the wines, making it easy and fun to increase wine knowledge.