BWW Interview: Niv Nissenson Founder of WINECRASHER
Broadwayworld.com interviewed Niv Nissenson who is the founder of Winecrasher, an incredibly unique and effective wine marketing system for people who want to get great wine at the best prices.
Winecrasher is a wine purchasing concept that has been inspired by travel websites like Hotwire.com and Priceline.com. Winecrasher is the first wine company in the United States to utilize such a concept exclusively and offer the most logical, best value on all its products.
At the Winecrasher's web-store, http://www.winecrasher.com/, customers receive all the information about a specific bottle of wine that includes region, varietal, rating, tasting note etc. The wine label is only revealed after the purchase. In exchange, the customer receives the guaranteed best price in the market.
This can free customers to discover and explore new wine regions and varietals feeling secure in their purchase. It can also make it much more simple to choose a wine without the overload of confusing information. This means that Winecrasher customers will get great wine and come back again and again.
Niv Nissenson holds a BA in History and Political Science from the Tel Aviv University and an MBA from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and has worked as the CFO of an Aerospace Defense company in Nevada. Before founding Winecrasher in 2015, he was the CFO of Soutirage, a Napa based ultra luxury wine retailer. While at Soutirage, Niv was fascinated by the underlying economical drivers in the wine world specifically pricing and diversity. At Soutirage, he also worked with Nancy O'Connell who is one of Winecrasher's co-founders. After living in Nevada and California, Niv now resides in Israel where he manages the company along with Nancy who manages Winecrasher from Napa. The company was also founded by Niv's sister, Tal Nissenson who is the Marketing Executive based in San Francisco and his brother Guy Nissenson.
How did you come up with the concept of Winecrasher?
I've always been a wine enthusiast, and growing up - my family imported wines from Bordeaux. After years in finance, I was ready to pursue my passion and become an entrepreneur in a manner which will combine my love for wine and my skills in finance.
During a vacation, I had an interesting discussion startup and doing my own business, which was followed by an epiphany and a "Eureka" moment in the elevator of the hotel: A Hotwire/Priceline is perfect for the wine world. These Semi Opaque models can work where there is great product diversity, products have critical rating and suppliers are averse to public discounting.
This is exactly the case in the wine industry, where there are known, set parameters which make for significant decision factors yet there are endless choices to choose from. When I got home I researched it and saw that no-one in the U.S. Is doing anything like this. I decided I have to do it - provide a BEST VALUE concept where every choice a customer makes is OPTIMAL. I reached out to my former colleague, Nancy O'Connell, and we became partners.
What have been some of the reactions of your recent customers?
One of the best parts in our work is that we get to chat with wine enthusiasts from all over the US. The most common reaction we receive from customers is that our concept allows people to experiment with new regions and varietals knowing they're getting great value. It feels wonderful to take part in their wine adventure.
Do you have any restaurants or businesses that purchase from Winecrasher?
Currently, we focus on wine consumers and enthusiasts. However, I believe our concept is greatly appealing, especially for non-chain, individually owned and operated quality restaurants. We can be a great go-to wine provider for large-scale events, such as birthday parties, weddings, and more.
Tell us a little about your team.
Nancy O'Connell and I founded the company. We both worked for an ultra-high-end wine retailer in Napa which specialized in providing Personal wine Shopper services for high profile customers, including tech-executives, movie stars and more.
I come from a financial background and was the CFO of that company, which is how I got into the wine world.
I was very curious to discover what makes this industry so unique. I'm Israeli and have a BA in History and Political Science and an MBA. I live in Israel (Startup Nation) and manage the finance and marketing from there.
My business partner, Nancy is the Wine Director for Winecrasher and brings over 10 years of experience in the wine industry. She lives in Napa and worked for several wineries as well as other retailers in the Valley.
Her goal in life is matching great people with great wine. She runs our wine clubs as well as our purchasing. At Winecrasher every wine must have an external wine critic rating AND be approved by Nancy!
Two additional Co-Founders are my brother Guy, who is a CEO of an international tech company and my sister Tal, who is an executive at an online advertising company based out of San Francisco. Each of them contributes from their experience and expertise to our project.
What are some of your plans for the future of the company?
We launched a BEST VALUE wine club last week in which every wine we send has a high rating and is offered at the best price. Currently, we're focusing on promoting that.
But for the future we want to roll out a concept we call WINE DUEL. We want to do weekly duels in which we send 4 or 6 bottle packs that allow people to settle long lasting wine controversies (or who is better):
2 bottle of Oregon Pinot Noir Vs. 2 Burgundy Pinot Noir
3 Napa Vs. 3 Sonoma
Young wine vs. old wine
Champagne Vs. Other sparkling
We want people to make a dinner occasion out of a duel, because contests are fun and help you discover new wines and unveil new preferences!
As a wine connoisseur, do you have any personal favorites?
A good friend of mine who's an amazing Sommelier, once told me that loving wine means that you need to appreciate all the styles and regions. Favorites are OK but there's no ABMs (Anything But Merlot) or ABCs (Anything But Cab).
My preferences change over time and during different periods of the year, but I've felt myself drift towards Rhone valley reds. When I drink a great Rhone blend I can feel the taste getting crushed in my mouth - it's very satisfying for me. Rhone also has some of the best values in the old world wines.
Anything else, absolutely anything you would like Broadwayworld.com readers to know!
The thing that makes wine great is that it's not a Pepsi/Coke preference. It's not a destination but a journey through wonderful regions, tastes and styles. Nancy and I built Winecrasher to allow people to take that journey knowing that they are always getting great externally verified quality and the best price.
Visit the Winecrasher site at http://www.winecrasher.com/ where you can learn more about their system and shop for wine. And follow Winecrasher on Facebook and Twitter.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Niv Nissenson