Jeffrey Shaw, the 34-year-old founder of Underground Cellar, has changed the way Americans buy and preserve wine.
What Is Underground Cellar
Underground Cellar is a digital platform for wine lovers and wine collectors. In its Series A Funding, the California-based company raised $12.5 million. This gave the financial backing to revolutionize the wine collecting experience. Last year’s pandemic had an impact on wine sales overall as wine stores had to close their facilities. But in spite of that, Underground Cellar prospered. They continued to sell thanks to their gamification concept. For their members, they submit day-to-day offers on their website. The buy-in price is fixed, and it is set to the cost of the cheapest bottle in the bid. The game works this way: once you place an order for about six bottles of wine, at $50 each, half of your order could be upgraded, at no cost, to more expensive bottles. So if you wish to sell, you will be making a profit. Upon completion of your order, you will see which bottles you have received. Your order will then be moved to CloudCellar where it will be stored.
It’s a bit like a wager because sometimes you can’t get the upgrade. But who doesn’t love the thrill behind expecting to make free money?
CloudCellar is a digital wine cellar. It has a capacity of up to 500 bottles of wine per user. The climate-controlled cellar is about 33,000 square feet and is located near Napa County, California. And it allows members to own and manage their wine cellar remotely, avoiding the stress of maintaining physical storage.
Underground Cellar not only benefits buyers, but wineries as well. “Some of the best wineries and winemakers wouldn’t respond to us two years ago,” Shaw said. “Now they are coming with tail between their legs, saying: we’d love to chat.”
Underground Cellar aims, besides selling, to educate users on wine, to present them with more expensive bottles. It hopes to broaden knowledge of vineyards and wines produced by small, unpopular wineries. In the future, they plan to add a service where customers can exchange bottles with other customers, which makes the platform more social.