This article has nothing whatsoever to do with #bitcoin. I have nothing smart to say about #bitcoin, but the inner bag that keeps our box wine fresh for six weeks after opening may or may not be described as a bubble. Just like #bitcoin.
I’m just jealous because tons more people will be talking about the cryptocurrency revolution over Christmas dinner this year, whilst pouring wine from single use glass bottles, so we’ve got tons more work to do in 2018 to advance the #boxwinerevolution.
That said, looking back over 2017, if you’d told us this time last year how far we’d have come, we’d probably have been too terrified to believe you. This is how it happened…
January 2017 began with not much more than a clear aspiration and a sketchy business plan. And very little money, traditional or #bitcoin. Various plots and plans were afoot to get people ditching single use wine bottles in favour of boxes.
By April we’d launched The Glitterati – Britain’s first box wine subscription. Our technology is a bit clunky (just like #bitcoin) but the wine is great and we’ve seen a rapid growth in membership.
But life had even bigger plans. In August we got a call from Waitrose. ‘We love what you’re doing. Would you like to meet?’ Around the same time, one of our team noticed that Harvey Nics’ food and drink department in Bristol didn’t contain a single box of wine. The stars were aligned.
On 16th October, four of our wines – Falanghina, Barbera, Nero d’Avola and Sauvignon – launched in Waitrose stores across the UK, on Waitrose Cellar and Waitrose.com. Not long after, Philip Schofield (This Morning’s silver fox) and Joe Fattorini (The Wine Show) were tweeting about us. It’s an honour to have Waitrose endorse the box wine revolution and they genuinely look after smaller suppliers like us.
Less than a month later, our Dolcetto, Refosco and Pinot turned up on the shelves of Harvey Nichols – the first box wine they’d ever sold in over 136 years of trading.
Exciting as it is to work with household names, we’re equally grateful for the support (and occasionally understanding and patience too) from our independent stockists during 2017 – with Vinotopia, More Wine, Webbs of Wychbold and Wolf Wine leading the pack (Sorry!). Thanks to you guys, we’ve had a lot of boxes to shift, and we couldn’t have managed it without the help of our unbelievably awesome logistics partners, CBF and STI Internazionale.
Yes, some great things have happened this year. Especially when you consider it’s only our second year of trading. It’s been a crazy, stressful, awesome, heart-in-the-mouth, exhaustingly exhilarating year. But has it been worth it? Unequivocally, YES.
Ask any small business owner if running a business is hard and you’ll always get a yes with a slightly tired smile. But a smile nevertheless. And When in Rome feels like so more than a business. It’s a movement. It’s the #boxwinerevolution
Who knows what 2018 may bring, we may even start accepting #bitcoin on our website, but in the meantime I’d like to say an almighty thanks to everyone who has helped us on our journey this year. To each and every one of you who has bought our wine, to Waitrose and Harvey Nichols and all the independent wine stores who stock us, to all members of The Glitterati…. and of course to the beautiful wine producers in Italy who work hard all year round making some of the most beautiful wines I’ve ever had the privilege to enjoy. Without you there’d be no When in Rome and no revolution.
The one thing small business owners will always envy salaried employees is the office Christmas party. Free food and drink all night, followed by a full day’s pay for sitting in front of a computer focused on nothing but your own hangover. My Christmas party will be at home, with my family, in my pyjamas. But I’ll have high quality Italian craft wine on tap whenever I want it. Will you?
Merry Christmas to all of our partners, suppliers and customers!