Short but insightful interview.
Short but insightful interview.
Good weekend reading from Will Lyons.
Back in the day, I participated in April Fools pranks with posts that hopefully brought a smile to the face of the reader. But after one such post fell flat, even garnering angry comments years later, I decided to hang it up. Face it, wine is not that funny to begin with and most wine blog readers don’t expect satirical posts even once a year (unless all your posts are satirical).
I was reminded of this Monday when I read a mildly funny post from Alder at Vinography but the best prank post was from John Mariani over at Bloomberg. Only it appears to not have been a prank post. I think, anyway.
My confusion began when I first saw the story tweeted by Dr. Vino as a prank so that might have influenced the context of my first reading. Starting with true facts, the hallmark of the best April Fools pranks, it gets increasing strident and ridiculous. But like my ill-fated Charles Shaw post referenced above the joke was just too subtle and it launched some earnest posts in defense of Washington State wines.
As I write this, I have not been able to figure out if this was a Fools’ Day post or not. It seems like it could be a serious critique of selected Washington State wines as those reviewed actually do exist despite long-winded and somewhat fanciful naming conventions. And I guess the cynic in me could just chalk this up to link-bait, engineered to be controversial and provoke such reaction. But I think it’s funnier as a prank. And until the author comments here to clarify, I’m going with that.
Reality TV is all the rage these days but I rarely watch this genre outside of a few cooking competition shows like Top Chef or Masterchef. But I have been hooked this year by ABC’s ‘Shark Tank’. The show’s premise is simple; entrepreneurs pitch their products to a panel of well known investors (‘sharks’) such as Mark Cuban, Kevin O’Leary, Daymond John, and Lori Greiner. Sometimes the entrepreneurs fall flat, other times they walk away after some interest, but most times they arrive at some sort of deal trading investment for equity in their company.
Wine products have surprisingly been featured a couple times this season but the most interesting was an invention called ‘Wine Balloon’ (later changed to ‘Air Cork‘) that preserves wine with a patented balloon system. Inventor Eric Corti was clearly nervous pitching the panel of sharks but did well enough to garner two offers from Kevin O’Leary and the combined team of Mark Cuban and QVC host Lori Greiner. It was clear that Corti didn’t like the strings attached to O’Leary’s offer to license the invention to a third party for marketing but was surprised when Greiner offered $500,000 for the entire company. Cuban joined the offer which grew to $600,000 but demanded an immediate response. Corti didn’t act fast enough but accepted their final offer of $400,000 for his invention. At the time of the show I thought Corti made the wrong choice as $200,000 of value had been taken off the table in under 2 minutes. And Wine Balloon seemed like a novel idea that might see wide distribution in winery tasting rooms and wine stores (although the reviews on Amazon currently are not encouraging).
So it was good to see an update to this story last week at Wines & Vines. After due diligence, Corti and his partner walked away from the deal and worked on building their business. And it appears to have worked with sales reported at 15,000 units a month. Using the cost of goods disclosed during the show of $6.50 that makes over $260,000 of gross profit a month or $3.1 million annually. It’s good to see an entrepreneur stand his ground and make something work as it was clear during the show that Corti really believed in his invention.
If you want to see the episode of Shark Tank it is available to Hulu Plus subscribers here (season 3, episode 4). Corti’s pitch starts the second dot from the end on the timeline.
via Wines & Vines