Startup Spotlight: Fitvine WinesJune 13th 2016
This week we speak to co-founder Mark Warren about what ‘BioHack’ means and why Athletes were looking for avenues for #cleandrinking.
GH: What is FitVine Wine?
MW: FitVine wines are wines for the active lifestyle.
MW: We ‘BioHack’ our wines. All of our wines go through malolactic, secondary fermentation to lower pH levels to ensure the cleanest, best tasting wine. All our wines are cold stabilized and chilled to drop out impurities prior to filtration. We filter with both diatomaceous earth and micron pads. Our fermentation process is extended to 10-15 days to enhance the antioxidants and optimize the pH levels. With pH levels being at optimum levels, we do not have to add sugars, additives and or unnecessary amounts of sulfites. Many wines have sulfite levels of 50ppm (parts per million), where FitVine Wines are at 35ppm – that’s almost half the sulfites of typical wines! No GMOs here and all of our grapes are pesticide free! That’s a lot of science! What does it all mean? We spent extra time and effort to create healthier, cleaner wines so you know what you’re putting into your body. This is the way wine is meant to be made, not with all the additives, sugars and impurities that wreck havoc on our bodies. #cleandrinking
GH: What was your Eureka moment: how did FitVine Wine get started?
MW: In attending CrossFit competitions, mud runs, 5ks, triathlons, we saw a gap where people that liked to live healthy and were active would compete in these events and then after wanted to drink alcohol. We saw that we could offer a clean wine as a healthy choice.
GH: How did you build your team?
MW: Tom and I have been working together for years. We had built and sold a tech company together. A few years back, we met Zach who had been in the liquor industry and part of a couple successful companies and he is also a chemist. We began speaking with him about our idea in bringing a clean wine to the active community.
MW: To bring the cleanest, highest quality and best tasting wine to the active lifestyle world!
GH: Startup life is full of failures and ‘make it work’ moments – can you identify how you bounced back from one of yours? (please identify the perceived failure as well)
MW: There is a 3-tier system for alcohol in the US and many distributors are not aware of the need and demand for the healthy, low sugar, low sulfite wine for the active community, so we decided to start by selling direct to consumer in 40+ states.
GH: What did you learn from your first customers?
MW: We learned that most consumers had concerns about the quality and taste of our wines being a healthy choice and for a better lack of words, expected it to taste like shit. Once they tried it, they absolutely loved it and continue to return for more.
GH: What’s the best/worst piece of advice you were given along the way?
MW: People told us that it would never work and that there wasn’t a market for the product. Plenty of naysayers along the way.
MW: When retailers started calling us asking how to get our wine due to the number of consumers entering their stores asking for FitVine. We’ve also been able to highlight a lot of Fitvine Wine Athletes like Tom Holland.
GH: What does the future hold for FitVine Wine?
MW: Have as many people as possible touch and try our wines and continue to make high quality great tasting wines for the active community! We’ll be showcasing at Powerpoint Karaoke on Tuesday June 14th at WeWork South Station – and giving away a case of mixed wines so come by and check us out!