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A Venture Capitalist Walks Into A Winery...

NEW YORK — Jay Levy and Greg Scheinfeld didn’t have a famous winemaker. They didn’t have a winery. They didn’t even have a vineyard. But Levy is co-founder and partner of Zelkova Ventures, a New York-based venture capital firm. And Scheinfeld is a financial industry refugee who built a new life in Napa working for the likes of Joseph Phelps Vineyards, Cakebread Cellars, and Vineyard 29. Together, they saw an opportunity to build a lifestyle brand for the next generation of wine consumers, one that’s focused on the customer experience and modeled after the loyalty-building strategies of major market players like Zappos, Amazon, and Warby Parker. Less than two years ago they launched Uproot Wines as a hybrid company that blends wine and ecommerce. And it’s working, despite the notoriously low success rate of wine-based business initiatives. What’s their secret?


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