In Vino Veritas: Innovating in the French Wine Industry

on 27/01/11 at 5:55 pm


How does an entrepreneur successfully introduce innovation to a gastronomic tradition that is a cornerstone of French culture and identity? Stéphane Girard, who graduated from the prestigious Bordeaux Wine School in 2004, has launched a modern concept in wine degustation to make understanding viniculture more accessible by placing the individual’s discovery of wine at the center of the experience.

In August 2010, Girard’s Facebook profile noted, “Stéphane Girard proudly presents the WINEpad: a tablet computer developed by WINE by ONE providing educational information about wines (a perfect complement to the WINEcard that gives you access to 100 wines by the glass).” WINE by ONE opened in May 2010 near Place Vendôme, a sophisticated neighborhood in Paris near the Louvre. Visitors admired the sleek Enomatic machines that poured glasses of wine at the push of a button and formed the backbone of the new concept. Despite a relatively slow summer due to long vacations and the World Cup, business was still ahead of both profitability and revenue forecasts. In fact, revenues had reached Girard’s January 2011 target by August 2010. However, additional growth and new customers were needed if the bar was to become a franchisable concept. Girard hoped that the launch of a full marketing effort, including a paid advertising campaign, would enable him to continue to exceed projections.

Buoyed by the strong results of the first few months, Girard was confident that the risks he had taken to become an entrepreneur would pay off. However, he also worried about being able to scale the strategy according to plan.

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