We started Uproot in 2011 with a very specific goal in mind: To make the highest quality wine for the next generation of wine drinker. Now you’re probably asking yourself, “What does that mean?” Well, let me back up a little bit.
I’m originally from New York, where I ended up working on Wall Street after college, as people in New York tend to do. It wasn’t for me. So in a tale as old as wine, I uprooted my life (see what we did there?) and moved out to California. I became a sponge. I tasted every wine, I pestered every winemaker, and I got my hands dirty as a cellar rat. It was a long, grape-stained journey, but I eventually gained winemaking experience at some amazing wineries including Cakebread, Jospeh Phelphs, and Vineyard 29.
Living in wine country also meant a lot of friends came to visit. My friends were (much like myself) just starting to get comfortable. They were building their careers and finally starting to save some money. They were becoming more interested in wine and their tastes were moving beyond the standard $15 bottle. Yet, the one complaint I heard over and over again was that there wasn’t a wine directed towards them (the late 20s to early 40s market). Light bulb.
Enter my friend and Uproot co-founder, Jay Levy. Jay is also the co-founder of the venture capital firm, Zelkova Ventures. Using his business acumen, we set out to build the preeminent wine brand for the next generation of wine drinker. We focused on producing great wine, but also put our efforts in to creating a fun and interesting marketing strategy, a one-of-a-kind ecommerce platform, and an exceptional customer and lifestyle experience that the younger generation has come to expect.
THE FLAVOR PALETTE.
We wanted a label that would epitomize our values. We wanted to be as transparent and open as possible. Each bottle would give the consumer a taste before they even took a sip. This is how our signature Flavor Palette label was born. Each of the color blocks represents an aroma or tasting note. Together, the blocks make up a Flavor Palette that’s unique to each varietal and each vintage. While each label will be different, we think they say Uproot loud and clear.
The labels have been a conversation starter too. We’ve found most people can recognize the differences in what they are tasting, but often don’t have the wine vocabulary to verbalize it. Our label gives them a starting point and a way to pinpoint some of the more prominent tasting notes. Other, more experienced wine drinkers, refuse to look at the tasting notes. They like the aesthetic, but they prefer to make up their own minds. Either way, we love it! We crave discussion and our labels have been a great way for our customers to engage with not only us, but with their friends.
GO WHERE YOUR CUSTOMERS ARE.
Our consumers are online and we saw this as the perfect opportunity to deviate from the status quo. We’ve taken a giant step with our direct-to-consumer marketplace. We were the first winery to integrate Shopify and ShipCompliant directly into our website. This has given us the ability to streamline our delivery and fulfillment systems. We also realized that the younger generation has become accustom to fast shipping at a low cost, something not typically associated with wine. We set up 2 shipping facilities, one in Napa and one in St Louis, that allow us to ship directly anywhere in the country in 2 days. We then decided to include shipping on orders of 3 bottles or more. We never want shipping costs to deter someone from enjoying our wines. Which means sometimes we have to eat some of the expense, but it’s worth it to keep our customers satisfied.
TELL YOUR STORY. BUT LISTEN TOO.
Wine is really about building a community and long-lasting relationships. That’s the reason I got into wine. I fell in love with the experience. When I think about a good bottle of wine, I think about sitting down with my wife for dinner. I think about laughing around a fire with my friends. I think about meeting someone new and listening to their story and learning what they’re passionate about. That’s the experience and relationship we want to build with our customers. That’s why we created Uproot. Once upon a time I uprooted my life to follow my passion. We want to hear about your passion too, over a bottle of wine of course.