Casella Family Brands has signed up as a customer of Digital Wine Ventures’ specialised wine distribution platform WINEDEPOT.
Casella is Australia’s largest and most successful family owned wine business. Each year the group crushes between 160,000 and 200,000 tonnes of fruit, making it the second largest wine producer in Australia.
The deal extends across the entire Casella brand portfolio, which includes the iconic Australian wine brand [yellow tail], as well as Casella Family Wines, Peter Lehmann Wines, Brand’s Laira Coonawarra, The Magic Box Wine Collection, Morris of Rutherglen and Baileys of Glenrowan.
Under the agreement, WINEDEPOT will manage of Casella Family Brands’ entire product portfolio across a range of domestic channels.
WINEDEPOT is part of Digital Wine Ventures, with its chief executive officer, Dean Taylor, noting that the agreement with Casella validates the need for a disruptive supply chain solution such as WINEDEPOT.
“Casella’s Yenda winery site covers a working area of 95 acres and can store over 260 million litres of wine,” he noted. “At the other end of the spectrum, we also work with micro producers who hand make just a few hundred cases of wine per year.
“What this shows is that our platform caters for wine businesses of almost any scale. Having that degree of product market fit at this stage in our business cycle is very exciting.”
Flaminio Dondina, Casella Family Brands’ general manager of procurement, distribution and strategy, said: “WINEDEPOT’s network and technology offering perfectly complements our domestic distribution model with a reliable solution for small deliveries.
“Due to the scale of our business and the number of regional wineries under the Casella Family Brands’ umbrella, this partnership will add significant value to our organisation by reducing complexity, increasing operational efficiencies and improving delivery times. We look forward to a successful and long-term partnership with WINEDEPOT.”
Digital Wine Ventures also confirmed several smaller-scale wineries are now using WINEDEPOT’s services, including South Australian companies Redman Wines, Gatch Wine and Maan Wines, as well as Brown Hill Estate in Western Australia’s Margaret River region.
Taylor describes the direct-to-consumer market as a “sleeping giant” worth $1 billion.
Streamlining the wine supply chain
Digital Wine Ventures announced in July that it was partnering with Australia Post to launch WINEDEPOT.
WINEDEPOT caters to producers, distributors, importers and retailers of all sizes across the country, allowing them to significantly reduce delivery times, freight costs and breakages.
The venture is promising same-day delivery from 2500 Australian wineries.
Australia Post provides warehouses, staffing, backend IT systems and infrastructure, reducing the cost for Digital Wine Ventures.
Digital Wine Ventures also announced an AI-powered partnership with Wine Storage and Logistics, a privately-owned Australian company that provides specialised logistics services to the wine and beverage industry.
WSL agreed to establish and operate a dedicated central storage and distribution facility for WINEDEPOT, which will serve as the main distribution centre for supplier’s inventory used to support an expanding network of local wine depots.
The journey from Wine Ark to Digital Wine Ventures
Taylor was the founder of Wine Ark and Cracka Wines, he sold WINEDEPOT to Dawine late last year and was appointed as its CEO.
“The idea for WINEDEPOT was born from the inefficiencies I witnessed in the wine supply chain after having launched seven different wine businesses,” Taylor told Lifehacker.
“The wine supply chain here in Australia is fragmented and failing to meet modern consumers expectations who demand: faster and cheaper delivery, more choice and the ability to buy by the bottle. In emerging markets like China it is even more fragmented.”
The Australian start-up aims to take advantage of the burgeoning appetite for premium wine in China.
“The online and direct-to-consumer segment is the fastest growing part of the market,” Taylor told WBM.
“It’s time the industry harnessed the full potential of technology to eliminate all the double, triple and sometimes quadruple handling that goes on behind the scenes to get a single order delivered.”
Dawine purchased Wine Depot to drive its wine sales strategy in China. The integrated trading and logistics platform allows sellers to source inventory from multiple suppliers and deliver their products directly to the consumer.
The company has had a presence in Shanghai for almost three years and, similar to Wine Depot’s plans for Australia, it is looking to expand the network into other major Chinese cities as the demand grows.
The Dawine board also decided to rebrand the company’s name to Digital Wine Ventures Limited.
“The fact that we’ve had this many of the pre-registrations already convert to customers is a great testament to the strength of the proposition that we are providing the wine industry,” he said.