It’s a product! It’s a service! No, it’s delivery alcohol

Another day, another start-up offering a product you can buy in a store, but delivered to your door.

Kiwis can't get enough of to-your-door services.

While Idealog expressed some confusion at the popularity of this newish ‘put-it-in-box-and-send-it-to-me’ business model around this time last year, it seems the movement is still going strong as eager Kiwi start-ups rush to satisfy the New Zealand appetite for convenience/sloth. Since then we’ve seen the rise and fall of a good handful of other businesses looking to sell directly to time-poor Kiwis; home cooked meals, pet food and fruit have all taken a shot, not to mention the quick-failing, let’s-keep-drinking delivery service Quench.

And the latest new kid on the delivery block is WineFriend, a wine club for the would-be Kiwi connoisseur who doesn’t know his Auslese from his Eiswein.

“Wine is the largest choice space in the modern grocery store,” says WineFriend co-founder and CEO Debbie Sutton. “Wine buyers have never had it better in terms of the number of choices available from around the world – but they've never had it worse regarding the possibility of confusion and the pressure to find the perfect wine.”

“For the everyday New Zealander, choosing a nice bottle of wine really isn’t that easy. Worst of all, the place nearly all of us buy of our wine – the supermarket – is missing many of the real gems. We saw people standing in the wine aisle struggling to choose that night's bottle and thought ‘there must be a better way’.”

If you read that and felt just patronised enough to want to sharpen your wine chops (in the safety of your own home), WineFriend wants to be your solution.

Simply go to the WineFriend website, fill out a taste test form (What kind of coffee do you drink? What’s your dessert of choice? Do you drink white wine?), choose your price point (more on that below), add your deets and you’re good to go.

So what’s the service like?

According to the website – and if 'Murray from Rotorua' is to be believed – WineFriend is the “best wine delivery company ever. Actually it's more like a wine delivery family.” [Appalled italics added by us]

Prices start at the not-entirely-outrageous (but hardly-micro-budget-either) ‘Easy Everyday’ price of $99 a month (that’s for six bottles) or the slightly more expensive ‘Treat Yourself’ version at $149. If however, you’re endowed with more money than sense, you’re also covered, and you can get the $249 ‘Icons & Innovators’ version which promises six different bottles of world-class wine “from industry game-changers”.

A new selection of wines, curated by knowledgeable wine critics, delivered directly to your door? Check. 

But wine criticism (and let’s be frank, probably all artistic criticism) is nonsense. Wine critics have been shown time and time again to be helplessly influenced by external forces, including how long ago they last ate, the picture on the bottle, and often fail the most basic of identification tests.

So while WineFriend is positioning itself as a provider of guidance for those who consider themselves bereft of good taste, at the end of the day it’s probably convenience that’s the real selling point here, and that is, of course, still king.