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Vinomofo’s Justin Dry talks wine deal with Gary Vaynerchuk

Empathy 2018 Rose 5Online wine business Vinomofo has come a long way since it began in a garage back in 2011.

Last month, the business announced a partnership with US media mogul Gary Vaynerchuk, known to many as GaryVee, to bring the inaugural wine from his new label, Empathy Wines, to its customers in Australia, New Zealand and Singapore.

It’s the first step in a bigger push to introduce more wine from overseas to Vinomofo’s customers in Australia, New Zealand and Singapore, Vinomofo CEO and co-founder Justin Dry told Inside FMCG

He said the partnership was fitting, since Vaynerchuk’s approach to the industry aligns perfectly with Vinomofo’s mission to offer great wine at the right price.

“The inclusion of Empathy Wines is an exciting one for us,” Dry said.

“It strengthens our offering as well as supporting Californian winemakers who’ve been devastated by fires recently and cements our commitment to bringing really cool wines to our wine lovers.

“We’re currently buying for our second container – after filling the first one with GaryVee’s Empathy Wines Rosé – so look out for some super cool wines by iconic US winemakers like André Hueston Mack hitting our shores in 2019,” he said.

One month in, Inside FMCG spoke to Dry about the first 30 days, the Empathy Wines brand and what it’s like working with one of the internet’s biggest business personalities.

Inside FMCG: Congratulations on the launch of Empathy Wines here in Australia, Justin. How did the collaboration with GaryVee start?

Justin Dry: I’ve known Gary for a long time now. Before VaynerMedia, he was in the wine space too which is how we first met. We both ran online wine businesses that were heavily focused on community, social platforms and content including video.

In 2009, he sent one of his team Jon Troutman to Australia to take part in a wine event I was at and we hit it off and have since become great mates. Fast forward 10 years and many chats about how fun it would be to work together and Gary and Jon decide to get back into the wine space and launch their own brand with another mate Nate.

They reached out to me to see if I wanted to get involved in bringing the wine to Australia, Singapore and NZ and I of course said yes. Great bunch of people and awesome wine.

Inside FMCG: How do you see this collaboration taking Vinomofo to new levels?

It’s a great wine that we have the exclusive rights to in Australia, NZ and Singapore. It’ll get serious marketing support behind it, [which will] certainly help brand awareness for Vinomofo. Plus they are a great team and we plan to do a lot more together going forward – so watch this space.

Inside FMCG: Who is the target audience for the new range?

The wine is delicious and is made in a style that will appeal to everyone from wine newbie to the most seasoned wine nerd so it’ll have a broad appeal. There will also be plenty of GaryVee fans who will buy the wine because it’s his and they love to support any projects he’s involved with.

Inside FMCG: A month after launch, how did Australian consumers receive the brand in its first 30 days?

As expected, it’s been very well received – people are excited to be part of Gary’s first wine release and at the same time get their hands on an extremely delicious wine. [Rose] was the first Empathy Wines release. There has been some very serious growth in demand for rosé over the last few years so it’s a good part of the market to be in. There is a white and red coming too when they are ready.

Inside FMCG: What made you decide to support the California winemakers?

Producing wine can be a very tough gig that is subject to a lot of challenges so anything we can do to support them is super important to us. We have traditionally done this in Australia but when the opportunity came up to help through Empathy Wines, we jumped at the chance.

Empathy’s 2018 Rosé is $30 a bottle in Australia and New Zealand, and $35 a bottle in Singapore.

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