Cab savvy: Uncorking the next big thing in wine

Wine glasses

A new innovation competition is on the hunt for Australian and New Zealand startups and entrepreneurs who can disrupt one of the world’s oldest and most popular industries.

The Winexplorer competition is open to savvy entrepreneurs with an idea that could disrupt the way wine industry works.

Brancott Estate Wines have teamed up with BlueChilli to launch the challenge which is offering a $35,000 cash price and the chance to be offered a spot in the BlueChilli accelerator program to commercialise the product.

“We are looking to change the wine world by identifying ideas that will fundamentally change the way people enjoy wine,” Brancott Estate chief winemaker Patrick Materman says.

“Whether it’s an idea about how people choose what wine to drink, or how they share that wine with their friends, if it’s big, bold and revolutionary, then we want to hear it.”

Applications opened on Thursday, from which BlueChilli will select five finalists. Wine enthusiasts will be given the opportunity to vote via social media, which will contribute to the final judging night on April 7.

The wine industry offers many opportunities for startups, BlueChilli general manager for innovation Colette Grgic says.

“While there have been significant advances in the winemaking element, the consumer area of wine consumption is ripe for new ideas and we are excited to be helping entrepreneurs to turn their big idea into a viable business opportunity through Winexplorer,” Grgic says.

Australian startup Vinomofo has found great success in disrupting the wine industry, offering curated selections of wines to subscribers.

Applicants for the Winexplorer challenge have to describe how their idea will change the way people consume wine, why they think they can turn this idea into a startup and what support they’ll need to do so.

Got some grape ideas of your own? You can apply here.

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Denham Sadler is the editor of StartupSmart. He was previously a journalist at the publication and has worked as a freelancer for the Guardian, the Saturday Paper and the ABC. In his spare time he likes puns and jaffles.