Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Naked Wines and Carmen Stevens

Naked Wines

On Thursday, May 14, 2015, your Ms. Brown attended a wine tasting, naked. Oh! My mistake! I attended a wine tasting presented by Naked Wines. What is Naked Wines?, To give you a clear picture of Naked Wines, I must begin with a little background on it's founder Rowan Gormley. Rowan Gormley is a South African entrepreneur. He went to work for Richard Branson of Virgin Group in 1994. Later,  while working for Branson ,he set up a business with two business partners. This business was  dubbed Orgasmic Wines. Orgasmic Wines became Virgin Wines in 2000, when Richard Branson bought into the business. Then, in 2005, Virgin Wines was purchased by Direct Wines, although it retained the Virgin Wines brand name. We all know that there is often collateral damage in the cut throat world of mergers and acquisitions. As such, by 2008, Rowan Gormley was fired and in need of a job.He decided to start yet another business. Now, economic times were tough during this season. People were extremely prudent with their money. This compelled Gormley and his business partners to be  bold and innovative. They started something completely different and profoundly better than what was already being done. Their idea was a crowd sourcing model to sell wines. Consumers pay money for wines by wine makers they're unfamiliar with and try wines that they otherwise would have never tasted. A model such as this requires transparency and from the need for transparency, the name Naked Wines was born.

So, how does it work in the real world? Basically, "Angels" ( what investors are called in the Naked Wines World), pay a monthly fee against future purchases of wine offered at lower prices. In the United States it's $40.00. Angels can spend the money on wines whenever they choose. or, if they choose not to purchase wine, or discontinue the relationship, any money remaining in the Naked Piggy Bank is fully refunded. Period. ( There is no shortage of investors. In fact, there is a waiting list.) The pool of money is then funneled to talented wine makers who need capital to start up their brand or expand. Naked Wines 600 plus selections are exclusively for  Angels. You won't find them in wine stores, bars or restaurants. You can get more information on how you can become a Naked Wines Angel at www.nakedwines.com..

Carmen Stevens

 Wine professional Carmen Stevens  ( pictured with me at the top of the article.) is one of the beneficiaries of Naked Wines advanced funding model. Carmen is the first black woman in South Africa to graduate with a degree in wine making. As you can imagine, the road to her degree was not an easy one.When Stevens entered University and throughout her schooling, she was challenged on many occasions. She got a lot of aggressive in your face questioning about her chosen career path, an issue that  she really struggled with . She even wondered if she was making the right decision getting into the wine industry.Would she ultimately be happy with her chosen career path? However, from the first day that she started meeting  with the wine makers of South Africa, she states," I was totally and  completely amazed at being a female, being from a completely different background, not being a white person, I was respected for what I was trying to get into my life. I have never been to a winery where people asked me ' what are you doing'...Nothing like that. As a matter of fact, I only get the opposite. I am welcomed. "  She now works for a premium American owned award winning winery in South Africa and is recognized as one of South Africa's most exciting wine making talents. She also makes her own private label which can be purchased through Naked Wines.

I was able to sample sample some of the fruits of Steven's labor at the wine tasting, while naked. (Oops, there's my dyslexia again. I mean the Naked Wines Wine tasting.) And, each one that I tried was in my opinion, excellent. I also sampled some very tasty selections from wine maker Luis Vieira of Portugal .However, I must say that every wine that I sampled ( and I sampled a lot) was outstanding. Now, let me begin with my disclaimer. I am in no way an expert on wines. My knowledge on the subject is extremely limited and I do not profess to be a wine connosseuir. In fact, I haven't been wine tasting in six months! I am attaching a photo at the end of the post from the last time that I went wine tasting. It's a shot of me in the wine caves at Mumm Champagne in Reims ( the Champagne Region) France.( Yes, seriously.) So, take my novice opinion on wines for what it's worth. Well, looks like that's all the time that I have for today! As always...

Keep it hot and sweet,
Ms. Brown

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