Usually we reserve this space for a column called “What’s My Wine,” but today we’re asking “Where’s My Wine?” It’s a question Adam Chilvers can answer with his startup company, Wine on the Way. Chilvers, who started the Web-based business with his wife, Gigi, had previously owned brick-and-mortar wine shops, which is not to say the wines were thick but rather he had conventional retail outlets, including Vino on Winter Park’s Park Avenue.
But even before the economic downturn, he says, he longed for a more efficient way to market wine without the high rent and high overhead of a retail outlet. Some “big box” wine sellers were undercutting the independently owned wine shops. So it occurred to Chilvers that the only way he could compete was to go leaner and offer something that places like Costco didn’t: better customer service. Now he markets his wines via his Web site and through direct telephone sales, and purchases are delivered free throughout the Orlando area. “It’s Walmart pricing with a Four Seasons experience,” he says of wineontheway.com.
Don’t expect the Four Seasons stretch limousine to pull up with your order, however. Instead, Chilvers or a member of his staff will deliver your wines colorfully wrapped Smart car. Besides being efficient and fitting into Chilvers’ leaner business plan (hell, it’s small enough to fit into anything), it’s an attention-getting vehicle that helps market the business.
So as not to get too far off track, I asked Chilvers “What’s My Wine” for summer drinking. “There’s something about a really great, nice dry rose from the South of France of Spain,” he says. “I would go with the 2009 Portal del Montsant Brunus rose from Spain. It’s a really rich, dry rose, 100 percent grenache, that normally retails for $25.” Wine on the Way is offering it for $18.
So how fast can you get it here? It’s possible to get a wine the same day, says Chilvers, but it could also take up to four days depending on various factors. “We are not quite large enough to be the Domino’s Pizza of wine and have it to you in 30 minutes or less,” he says. “One day, maybe.”