The wine flows at Wine 2.0 at Crushpad

Bambi Francisco Roizen · April 4, 2009 · Short URL:

Wine 2.0's Smoke Wallin gives me the background on the methodology behind the competition

This week, we wrapped up the Wine 2.0/Vator competition, which sought the top wine startup, incorporating new technologies. We're announcing the winners this Monday. 

On Thursday night, I met up with J. Smoke Wallin at the Wine 2.0 party held at Crushpad this Thursday, to get an idea of the competition standings, and to showcase the methodology behind the rankings.

As you'll see from the video, it was a very festive event. While my visit was partly to catch up with Wallin, it was also to check out the party and the wines. The Coral Mustang Tempranillo was on the top of my list, as far as wines go.

So, here's how the startups of the Wine 2.0 competition were ranked by judges. They were given a score between 1 and 5 for 1) Business idea 2) Business plan 3) Competitive advantage 4) Presentation 5) Team. 

"Being a good MBA, I can't just vote on something," said Wallin. "I have to have a process."

A company could potentially earn 25 votes from the judges. Then those votes combined with the popular vote were divided by the number of judges. Thank you to the judges: Heidi Roizen, founder of Skinny Songs, former partner at Mobius Venture Capital; Richard Rosenblatt, CEO, Demand Media; Bowen Osbourn, M&A, Demand Media; Gary Vaynerchuk, star of Wine Library TV, Alan Citron, executive at Buzznet and J. Smoke Wallin, chairman of Wine 2.0, for their votes and feedback.

Thank you to all the contestants. Here are the top 10, based on votes.


Curiosk Marketing Solutions, Multineer Magazine, Vinobilla, Vinogusto,, WomenWine

VintageGraphs, Drync, Snooth and Wine to Water.

Check in on Monday for the winner.

Image Description

Bambi Francisco Roizen

Founder Vator, Managing Partner - Vator Investment Club; Former Columnist/correspondent Dow Jones MarketWatch; Business anchor CBS affiliate KPIX

All author posts

Read more from our "Interviews" series

More episodes

Related Companies, Investors, and Entrepreneurs

Wine 2.0


Joined Vator on

Wine 2.0™ is the innovator in social networking and events in the wine industry. With a focus on the next generation wine consumer, Wine 2.0 breaks down the barriers to learning about, experiencing, and enjoying wine. Wine 2.0 events feature a rich diversity of world class wines and the newest generation of emerging technology companies, services and communication tools that are changing the world of wine.

Wine To Water

Service provider

Joined Vator on

Wine To Water is a non-profit (501 c 3) organization that utilizes wine tastings and wine events to raise awareness and funding for it's projects around the world.  Our charity goes hand in hand with the wine industry.  Integrating our organization with a wine event, no matter what the venue, gives guests or clients an opportunity to appreciate attending that event even more.  For more information please see our contact details on our website...

Vintage Graphs LLC


Joined Vator on


The world if full of great wines. The world is full of people looking for great wines. Vintage Graphs connects the dots.


Vintage Graphs, LLC is launching a new inventory and customer management system for wine retailers that feature a patent- pending visual illustration of how a wine tastes.  These tools are designed to appeal to average wine consumers and attract them to less familiar and more expensive wines. 


Vintage Graphs' mission is to be the premier wine education and information resource for consumers using our innovative patent pending visual system and to utilize leading edge computer and Internet technology. Additionally, Vintage Graphs aims to change, for the better, how consumers buy and retailers sell and market wine by providing an intelligent suite of products to simplify and revolutionize the wine marketplace.



Build Loyal Customers by Explaining Wine Visually–beyond notes & ratings 

Promote Inventory that is Not Selling Without Lowering Prices 

Feature New or Obscure Wines you want to introduce 

Sell More Wine @ Increased Price Points 

Attract Next Generation of Wine Consumers with hand-held technology 

Effective in Wine Stores and Essential for Grocery Stores – 86% of consumers 

surveyed said they would pay more for a wine with a vintage graph label. Think 

of Vintage Graphs as your silent sales partner. 

VintageGraphs’ mission is to demystify wine by: 

1.)  Distillinga sommelier’s complex analysis of wine into an easily understood visual illustration,

2.)   Educating consumers about their personalwine preferences through an intuitive visual graph,

3.)  Matching informed buyers with great wines they will like as they interact with Vintage Graphs’ productsand website. 

Wine consumers will use a vintage graph to understand the flavors and characteristics of wines and be able to clearly articulate their personal preferences for future purchases.

Using our patent pending technology the worldwide wine industry will use our products as a more personalized way to buyand sell wine, delivering more return on investment for labeling, marketing,and e-commerce thereby transforming Vintage Graphs into an industry standard and a billion-dollar enterprise.    


Curiosk Marketing Solutions Inc.


Joined Vator on

Curiosk is redefining the way people shop for, buy, give, receive and enjoy wine and spirits. Installing a Curiosk touchscreen kiosk lets wine & liquor retailers enhance customer service, increase basket size, achieve store differentiation,  provide a value added product and turn browsers into buyers. The Curiosk product and process is an innovative and informative, creative and convenient retailing solution.


How does it work?

Simply scan the barcode label to receive product information such as; tasting notes, food pairing notes, serving recommendations and cellaring guidelines. Then use the touchscreen to personalize and a print a greeting card. The patents pending card containing both the product information and the personal message, prints at the kiosk and is designed to fit over the neck of the bottle. It is the ultimate greeting card.

Women & Wine


Joined Vator on

Women & Wine is a lifestyle company with a social media platform for user contributed content from lovers of wine, food and travel ages 21-59. Free members can share stories, tips, pics, and videos to entertain, inspire and educate. Our weekly newsletter goes to 50K people - both women (80%) and men who like our storytelling sensibility.

 Women & Wine's core revenue comes from creating multi-media content and offline events for our A-list clients who are interested in unique and creative ways to reach savvy college educated women who, in addition to their interests in wine, food and travel, also love movies, books, fashion - you name it! Clients from movie studios, women's magazines, top fashion houses, travel and of course wine, spirits and food brands engage W&W as a trusted source for women. W&W has held events in 31 cities for over 7,000 people in the past 18 months and has a top rated podcast on i-tunes (RSS feed from

Women & Wine is a US and EU trademark and the company also owns a small wine boutique called Wine Valet at Two Rodeo Drive which provides the company the ability to sell wine and build an offline clientele around the world for our concierge services.


W&W has a top 100 wine show on i-Tunes with over 90 hours of archived podcasts and on March 29th at 10 a.m. PST will launch our new one hour show LIVE! at the Wine Valet at Two Rodeo Drive on and broadcasting to 20 million Time Warner Cable households (check local listings). The show tapes on Via Rodeo - similar to The Actor's Studio as guests sip the wines of our winemakers and tastemakers and the they can buy the wine in our store or online. 


We have an ambitious plan to be the next breakout brand for women - as there's a huge vacuum in this space - and believe we are the leader in this niche catering to 40 million women who say they buy or drink wine at least once a week. And, as there is an enormous opportunity to reach women ages 21-30 who are interested in learning about, as well as drinking wine, there is the opportunity to be the "brand for life" as wine means something different to women at every stage of their lives.



Joined Vator on

Snooth is a social shopping site for the wine industry. User's can use Snooth's powerful search engine to browse 2 million ratings across hundreds of thousands of wines and then link to 11,000 merchant partners (stores and wineries) in 50 countries to make a purchase. In addition, Snooth is a social network. Users can create accounts, see what their friends are drinking, get recommendations and find their 'taste twins' - users with similar palates to their own.



Joined Vator on


The Vinogram™’s 12 flavor and aroma criteria are a revolutionary promotion tool for your wines. The intuitive visual aspect is quickly and easily understood, breaking language barriers. If you are looking to export increase sales, you’ve got a new secret weapon. Learn more

Internet Presence and Advertising

Exporting your wine has become an obvious necessity. But the big question remains. How do you get buyers and consumers abroad to see yourproducts? We provide visibility with our innovative communication, presentation and GPS tools.

Drync LLC


Joined Vator on

Drync builds mobile "lifestyle" applications that enable people to learn about and remember favorite specialty products while on the go.

Targeting the $330b wine industry and 70m wine loving US "Millenials", Drync's first product simplifies the way people research,store, share and purchase wine using their mobile device. Built initially for the iPhone, Drync-Wine is the only mobile wine application that scours 100's of thousands of wine listings in real time to identify the exact wine you are drinking, as well provide expert ratings and reviews. Users may snap a photo of the label, save the wine to their own virtual cellar with personal ratings and tasting notes, and purchase the wine from the phone.

Growth opportunities exist not only in expansion to new mobile platforms, but also to other specialty categories, such as beer,scotch, and cheese.

Founded in 2008, Drync is a privately held company in Cambridge, MA.The management team consists of seasoned technology entrepreneurswith deep industry expertise in mobile, social networking, ecommerce,and beverage industries.

Crushpad, Inc.


Joined Vator on

Crushpad is a San Francisco winery where you are the wine maker. Crushpad provides grapes from the West Coast's top vineyards, an industry-acclaimed wine making team and a state-of-the-art winery 100% focused on making wine in small lots. You choose your level of involvement and we do the rest. No matter where you live, you can now make your own wine.


Joined Vator on

There are three aspects of  Left Bank LLC, dba America Uncorked and, which sells great value imported wine:

1.  Business-to-business -- America Uncorked

2.  On-line direct to consumer, wine clubs --

3.  Creation of proprietary wine brands that will be sold business-to-business and on-line direct-to the consumer at a high margin -- creates a solid equity base

America Uncorked sells great value imported wines to the trade on a national level.  The wineries in the America Uncorked portfolio keep inventory in the USA at their own expense with no risk to America Uncorked.

In addition to selling to the trade, America Uncorked sells its wines to, a sister company, on a just-in-time basis.  Most wines retail for between $ 12 and $ 20 per bottle. then pays America Uncorked within 30 days after upfront credit card transactions for the sales are received.  Again there is no need to invest in inventory because purchases are made just-in-time.   The businesses are vertically integrated in that one aspect of the business sells to another aspect of the business earning the highest margins possible.

A third aspect of the business is to create and launch proprietary "Bibola" brands to be sold through the national trade and on-line through has various wine clubs, based on subscrpition memberships.  Most club members receive six bottles delivered quarterly.   Discounts are granted to wine club members as incentives to join.  There are no fees for joining. 

"Bibola" is the founders "alter ego", and is a cartoon character who tells her story of years in the international wine industry. is a whimsical, visually entertaining site with lots of personality and offers a very fun and educational shopping experience.

The portfolio will be expanded to offer new producers from around the world, including domestic wineries and proprietary brands, and will also add own brand tea, olive oil, chocolate and other complimentary gourmet products.

Mutineer Magazine


Joined Vator on

General: Mutineer Magazine (Wine Mutineer LLC) is beverage media company that currently produces a Nationally distributed print magazine and dynamic web site/blog.  Our mission is to meet the communications and media needs of the industry we serve while producing the best products we can for our customers.

The Mutineer Blog and print Mutineer Magazine work synergistically to give our readers and the industry the most complete and exciting beverage media experience possible. We typically post anywhere from 2 to 5 blogs a day and feature a wide range of guest bloggers.  Topics include news, interviews, new products, exploring ideas and controversies, history, and anything else related to fine beverage.  One aspect of the blog that has really had an impact on fine beverage companies is "The Happening", where we not only promote fine beverage events, but also interview the people behind them to help sell the event's vision.  We also feature other bloggers on our website through interviews, our featured blog of the week, and our blog roll. integrates web 2.0 and social media throughout the site which connect readers to our  Myspace, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and Flickr pages. 

Mutineer Magazine is a staunch supporter of beverage blogs and websites.  Two challenges we see facing beverage blogs right now are attracting a larger audience to the medium and building commercial relevance and credibility, and with our current audience of 20,000 readers constantly being introduced to blogs through the Mutineer Blog and the print magazine, we are addressing these challenges.  

Mutineer Magazine (Print): Our first print edition was only 44 pages and came out in July 2007. We are currently on our fifth issue, which is up to 84 pages andis the first to be Nationally distributed through Curtis Circulation.  The magazine is structured to include a regular set of columns with unique authors in each issue, wine feature, beer feature, spirits feature, non-alcoholic feature, “Mutineer Interview”, and special reports.  Mutineer Magazine has developed a cult following and is looking forward to continued growth.



Joined Vator on

Wine is a pleasure to share ! enables its users to select and find the wine they're looking for. The concept is based on user reviews of more than 100,000 wines and as many producers and wine merchants. encourages to share, learn and discover the world of wine. Over 15.000 lodgings in the wine regions, 5.000 restaurants and winebars, wineries to visit... a unlimited source of information for everyone who wants to discover the world beyond the bottles, meet the winemakers, visit the wineries, dare enter a specialized wineshop, discover lovely spots not mentioned in the traditional travel and wine guides... was launched 18 months ago in 5 European languages. Today with up to 450,000 monthly unique visitors, it has become the European market leader.


To the wine professionals we offer the opportunity to increase their online presence and to enrich their content on our site. key features

-         Recommend wines which fit the user criteria and are available nearby

-         Enable a user to manage its wines and reviews for wines and places

-         Offer the opportunity to share and meet around the wine pleasures


Richard Rosenblatt

Joined Vator on


J Smoke Wallin

Joined Vator on


Alan Citron

Joined Vator on

Digital Media veteran; General Manager at TheWrap

Heidi Roizen

Joined Vator on

Operating Partner at DFJ, board member TiVo and DMGT, teach entrepreneurship at Stanford. Co-founder/CEO T/Maker Company. Former VP WW Developer Relations at Apple. Stanford undergrad and MBA.