Any part of running a company is paying attention to what the consumer wants; after all, they’re the ones spending their hard-earned cash on your product. Most businesses, however, do not go to the consumers directly and ask them to help create their newest product, bit by bit. Well, the Los Angeles Times says a couple wineries are doing just that in California and Washington: crowdsourcing their wines.
Crowdsourcing a wine has not been done before, but for some reason, two wineries on the west coast have recently announced that they’re going to tackle this interesting type of endeavor. We don’t know if one stole the idea from the other, or if it’s just a freak occurrence, but we don’t really care because a little healthy competition is good for the soul (so is good wine).
The first winery to announce their idea to “crowdsource a wine from vineyard to table” is Columbia Crest in Washington. They will be creating a Columbia Crest “Crowdsourced Cabernet” from the 2014 vintage over the course of 18 months and will be doing so based on feedback from a select group of consumers. They aren’t specially picking the people who can participate, but you do need to sign up through their website in order to be part of the group. Once signed up, you will vote every week on a certain winemaking task like how much to water the vines, what the final blend will be, how much to thin the fruit, and when to harvest the grapes. You can also watch live cameras from the vineyard and receive up-to-date weather information. Columbia Crest will only be making 1,000 cases of the unique wine and it will be available for sale online when it is done.
The second winery to jump on board is La Crema Winery in Sonoma. Their experience will be more learning-based and online participants will follow a schedule every week that includes videos, winemaking education, maps, and food and wine pairing quizzes. Instead of Cabernet, consumers will choose a Pinot Noir or Chardonnay and will even get to decide the specific vineyard that will be used. The name of the wine? There isn’t one yet because participants will get to decide that too, in addition to the design of the label on the bottle.
We are kind of digging the idea of crowdsourced wine and hope to see more alcohol companies in general take this approach. People love being involved with and having some control over what they putting in their bodies, but we also think it is important for them to understand all of the work that goes into creating one bottle of wine. By allowing consumers to get involved in the process, you’ll have more people with a vested interest in purchasing a specific wine and they will also be better educated about the wines they purchase in the future.