Episode #463: Wineries, the SoLoMo movement and the power of context – with VinTank founder Paul Mabray

Episode #463

Paul Mabray isn’t afraid to take a stand or be the one that paves the way by example. He’s a natural disruptor – someone that really looks at the status quo with some disdain and the possibilities with a sense of wonder. He’s an entrepreneur and the only surprising thing about him is the industry he is trying to disrupt: The wine industry.

He’s done this before – in fact during the last wave of technology disruption (the ecommerce wave), he founded WineDirect.com to help wineries sell directly to consumers right online. The company raised a considerable round of financing and still operates today. With VinTank, Paul leverages the social discussion already happening to help drive winery visits and long-term customers. A huge part of the growth of this business has been as a result of the SoLoMo movement – combining the social sphere with mobile and local in a way that reinforces (or starts) a relationship between winery and wine drinker.

This episode shows the power that mobile unleashes. It’s not about flashy apps or complicated technology implementations or the size of the screen or the operating system you use, it is about the practicality and value the platform drives. You can use the tools already in circulation to bring customers closer to your business or to learn more about the way your customers enjoy your product or service. It’s about simplicity, leverage and, as is often discussed on this episode, the power of context.

Paul is living this contextual revolution right now. Learn how by watching this episode.


Here is a quick reference of what we covered in the show. Click on the link and the video will take you to that clip

1. What is VinTank 3:15
2. How did you find your board of advisors? 7:18
3. How does VinTank help wineries? 10:45
4. Why build the company? What was missing in the industry? 14:00
5. What happened to your first company WineDirect.com? 15:25
6. Why tackle the wine industry? 16:10
7. Has wine accelerated in popularity? How? Why? 17:40
8. Why didn’t an ecommerce play for wineries take off? 20:45
9. How impactful has mobile been in your business and the business of the wineries? 22:40
10. What are the 3 contextual conversations that are important to your customers? 25:20
11. How does the winery use the information VinTank provides? 27:00
12. How do the wineries leverage location and social to enhance customer service? 28:25
13. Why does it matter to create a great winery experience if I’m only there once in a lifetime? 30:30
14. What about the “at home” experience? 32:30
15. How does VinTank help sell wine from the wine store shelf? 34:35
16. What kind of results are you seeing? 38:00
17. Why use geofences around wineries? 39:15
18. How do you grow your business? 45:00
19. What has been the single greatest thing that has contributed to your growth? 46:35
20. What other industries are you looking at to enter in? 47:30
21. How does the age of context help grow VinTank? 50:12
22. Is the future of your business the data you collect? 52:20
23. Does social CRM and context kill traditional demographics? 56:48

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About Paul Mabray
Paul Mabray VinTankAs Chief Strategy Officer, Paul’s leadership is the driver for the overall vision, strategic direction and product development for the company but is also the main contributor to clientele projects. Handling all of the business development, allows him to be in a key position to connect emerging technologies for our clients, data partners and the wine industry.

Paul has been in the wine and spirits industry for over seventeen years. He has worked for Napa Ale Works, Niebaum~Coppola, WineShopper/Wine.com and also was the North American Beverage Consultant for Sumitomo Corporation of America from 2002 through 2005. He founded Inertia in 2002 as one of the first major companies established to bridge the barrier between wineries and their customers.

Paul Mabray was CEO from 2003 until 2008 creating the largest and most powerful e-commerce platform for the wine industry, the Rethink Engine.

Under his leadership, Inertia created incredible new products for the wine industry to help open up the ability to sell and market direct including the innovative Direct to Trade, ReThink Compliance, Brix Open Source CMS, Marketplace Enablement, and many more. For his last six months at Inertia, Paul was Chief Strategy Officer and EVP of Business Development in charge of creating key strategic direction, business development, and mergers and acquisitions. VinTank is a continuation of his desire to help revolutionize the wine industry by bridging the gap between wine and the digital world.

A four time American Wine Blog Awards finalist, he has also been a guest lecturer at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, UC Davis and many other symposiums, seminars, blogs, and periodicals for his leadership in the wine industry.

Paul formerly sat on the Board of Directors for the wine business social network Openwineconsortium.org which was sold to FOHBOH, and the Board of Advisors for Snooth.com, Taste.com, and Cruvee.com (which was purchased by VinTank). He now is on the Board of Directors for the theappreciationengine.com.

He lives in Napa with his wife Angelica and their four children, Finn, Brooklyn, Dryden and India.

– See more at: http://www.vintank.com/about-vintank/the-team/paul-mabray/#sthash.bVtlVljJ.dpuf

About the author

Rob Woodbridge

I'm Rob, the founder of UNTETHER.tv and I've spent 14 years immersed in the mobile and pervasive computing world. During this great time I've helped some of the most innovative companies grow their business through mobile. If you are in need of a mobile business advisor or coach, connect with me here to get things rolling.

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