Nourish Group chef gets behind wine subscription firm Wine Monster

Beer Hug did it with craft beer, now the company has launched a separate subscription wine company, teaming up with the executive chef of Nourish Group.

Wine Monster, founded by the men behind Beer Hug, Daniel Phillips and Adam Prentice, have partnered with Gareth Stewart, ex-judge of My Kitchen Rules judge and national executive chef at Nourish Group, to launch the home delivery business.

Wine Monster showcases independently-owned wineries, sending out six wines per month under subscription, with tasting notes, food match suggestions and the winery’s story.

Stewart is a shareholder of Wine Monster, alongside Phillips and Prentice, and will be responsible for food pairing suggestions and work as an ambassador for the brand.

Co-founder Phillips said the trio launched the business after just one month in development, and were able to leverage some of the technologies developed for Beer Hug in November last year.

Wine Monster went live two weeks ago in time for what Phillips is hoping will be a busy Christmas and New Year’s rush.

“If 2020 has proven nothing else, people are buying alcohol online, and we’re really excited to get a bite before Christmas,” Phillips told the Herald.

“Our intention with both businesses is to help great locally crafted products into people’s hands.

“There’s an abundance of wineries in New Zealand and I know personally, my greatest wine drinking experiences have been when I’ve been at the wineries and getting told stories by the winemaker … so we wanted to bring that to life.”

New Zealand has almost 400 wineries, almost double that of breweries, and the wine market is four to five times bigger than the local craft beer market.

The concept for Wine Monster was built around taking the subscriber on a virtual tour of a different winery each month while sending a box of their best creations.

The wineries pick their six best bottles and send the boxes out to consumers directly, similarly to a dropshipping distribution model.

Phillips said it was great to have Stewart on board, who had great connections in the wine industry, which would also be beneficial for the businesses expansion. Phillips actually pitched the business idea to him over a glass of wine, and the pair believe the model could work well overseas.

“Stewart has been a champion of New Zealand produce ever since he started working in New Zealand all those years ago, and as executive chef of the Nourish Group, he runs a lot of restaurants and has amazing experience working with New Zealand wines.”

Wine subscriptions are not a new concept, with three or four large players in the market already. Phillips said he hoped consumers would resonate with Wine Monster’s concept of shining a spotlight on smaller wineries.

“It’s about us championing great New Zealand wine.”

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