Auckland, 24 January 2018 - Wine Grenade, the wine maturation start-up, has recruited technology executive Brett O’Riley to its Board. The appointment of Brett, who also becomes Chairperson, strengthens Wine Grenade’s commercialization capabilities as the company expands into new wine growing territories and leverages data captured during maturation.
Brett has extensive experience in IT, innovation strategy and international business development. Most recently CEO of Auckland’s economic growth agency ATEED for five years, Brett was previously Deputy Chief Executive, Business Innovation and Investments for the Ministry of Science + Innovation, and founding CEO of the NZICT Group (now called NZ Tech) which represents New Zealand’s leading technology companies. He is an experienced technology company director and has also held senior roles during 14 years with companies within the Telecom group (now Spark) including Southern Cross Cable Network.
Brett’s current governance roles include directorships at drone noise cancellation start-up Dotterel Technologies, New Zealand Film Commission, Baseball NZ and Bowls NZ. Brett also works in an advisory capacity to a number of companies including Innovation Capital. A dedicated advocate for technology in education, Brett is a founding member of the Board of Trustees of Manaiakalani Education Trust.
“In order to exploit IoT opportunities in the global wine industry, we need to bring in additional skills, experience and networks. We are fortunate to have Brett’s contribution and knowledge to accelerate our growth at a time when Wine Grenade is rapidly expanding and raising capital to do so, says Hamish Elmslie, CEO.
Wine Grenade commercializes IP from New Zealand’s Plant & Food Research in a connected device which allows winemakers to cost effectively replicate the traditional oak barrel ageing process by delivering precise amounts of oxygen through a permeable membrane - a process known as micro-oxygenation.
The company is also exploring opportunities to capitalise on the unique location of its sensors inside the wine tanks and has just completed Vodafone Xone, a six-month long accelerator for data and IoT start- ups.
“Wine Grenade is leveraging New Zealand’s strengths in horticulture IP and high-tech manufacturing to target an identifiable high value market opportunity. I’m thrilled to be working alongside Hamish, the other founders, and the existing investor group, to make the most of this opportunity,” says Brett.
Founded in 2014, the company is now selling devices to wine makers in eight countries and is building out its distributor network, appointing its first resellers in Chile and Argentina late last year.
Wine Grenade CEO Hamish Elmslie gives a quick rundown on some recent developments in the lead up to Unified Symposium.
We're very excited to announce that Wine Grenade customers can now visualise what is happening inside their tanks through our web-based dashboards, available on laptop, mobile phone or tablet. These dashboards give winemakers instant access to the data recorded by their micro-oxygenation devices during maturation.
The real time data shows the oxygen release rate, tank and cellar temperature and tank headspace pressure as well as the status of battery and oxygen canister levels. This development represents the first stage in our vision to provide winemakers with the insights they need to make consistently great wine, year after year.
The dashboards are launched as The Wine Grenade expands its presence into eight countries in North and South America, Europe and Australasia, with devices most recently adopted by winemakers in France, Spain, Belgium, Canada and Mexico. The company continues adding to its distributor network, including in South America.
“The dashboard puts the Wine Grenade’s live data into the hands of winemakers on a laptop, mobile device or tablet so they can easily check the status of a device. The dashboards will evolve as more wineries adopt micro-oxygenation and our devices become integral to their winemaking,” says Hamish Elmslie, Wine Grenade CEO and co-founder.
‘Wine Grenades’ allow winemakers to replicate the traditional oak barrel ageing process by delivering precise amounts of oxygen through a permeable membrane - a process known as micro-oxygenation. The Wine Grenade is an Internet of Things (IoT) device which measures data that winemakers use to make decisions.
A great article by Grape Grower and Winemaker on what makes the Wine Grenade so unique and such an exciting product for 21st Century winemakers.
Read "The Bomb for Micro-Oxygenation."
Vodafone has recognised the potential for Wine Grenade to disrupt the wine maturation industry with internet connected devices by offering a place in the 2017 Vodafone Xone program.
Read the full story on the NBR website.
Wine Grenade’s versatile and highly portable technology can be used on wines from around the globe, so it didn’t take much time for our team to start working on adding South America to our distribution network.
So in May, Cyril packed up his bags and headed South from his California base to meet distributors in Argentina and Chile, the ninth and seventh largest winemaking producing countries in the world respectively.
Home of many red varieties, and in particular their signature varietals that are Malbec for Argentina and Carmenere for Chile, the two markets share many similarities but are also remarkably different.
Argentina has an international reputation for great quality wine produced at large scale however has suffered massively in tumultuous economic times. However, as Forbes reports, there are strong signs Argentina is ready is ready for a comeback to the international stage. A new government has removed the import/export tariffs that crippled the trade economy for the last five years, and winemakers are beginning to look externally again rather than focus on the domestic market.
Cyril lived for over a year in Mendoza and capitalised on his industry contacts to meet potential distributors. He also presented Wine Grenade directly to local winemakers, receiving positive feedback.
Chile has steadily emerged as a global wine force. Considered as “new world” as its neighbour Argentina, Chile’s favourable growing conditions and now stable economic climate has enabled it to become the 4th largest exporter of wine into the United States (after France, Italy and Australia). With a length of over 4,000 km from North to South, Chile offers a broad spectrum of wine varietals. Names such as the valleys of Casablanca, Maipo, Colchagua and Curico might all sound familiar, and if not - try them!
The South American exploration builds on our experience creating distributor partnerships in the USA, Canada and Mexico. Our expansion strategy is based on gaining scale through trusted local partners and as a business we are building knowledge about how to create sustainable, profitable partnerships.
Overall, the trip was highly efficient in identifying potential partners and the feedback on our technology raised a lot of interests so we can definitely say that we will certainly we having several wine grenade aging Chilean and Argentinian wines in the near future!
About Wine Grenade
Wine Grenade is wine maturation, redefined. This blog will keep you up to date with our business and provide some thoughtful commentary on the art of winemaking.