What happens when you combine a Groupon executive, a lawyer and an ex-beverage distributor with an all-encompassing passion for wine? You get Winestyr, a service designed to connect other oenophiles with small, high-quality American wineries.
Winestyr features individual wineries on their website and in newsletters sent out to subscribers. Customers can read short winery stories or a biography of the winemaker, and they can learn about specific bottles Winestyr recommends from the winery. If they are interested in trying one of the bottles, they can buy a discount voucher through Winestyr and redeem it directly at the winery’s online store.
Co-founder and CEO Bob Wilson said the idea for Winestyr came from a desire to bring exposure to small wineries without national distributors. “With a lot of these wineries that we feature, you can’t even purchase their wines in a lot of states,” Wilson says. “So we tell their story and sell their wine, but we also give the consumer a nice discount and preferred pricing to try something new.”
Bringing something new to the glass is a main goal of Winestyr, said Public Relations and Marketing Intern Ross Caton, a Weinberg senior. “A big thing about Winestyr is education,” Caton says. “For people our age who haven’t been drinking wine for a long time or who are just getting into the legal age of drinking, it’s hard to know how to pick a good wine.”
Many Northwestern students buy their wine from a grocery or liquor store for the sake of convenience, but a lot of this wine comes from large conglomerate wineries that package the same wine in different forms to hit all markets. The difference with the smaller wineries featured by Winestyr is that smaller winemakers work out of passion and often go unnoticed.
This service is especially beneficial for novice wine drinkers because it gives them the opportunity to try higher quality wines. “Our demographic of college students doesn’t have a ton of money to spend on things like a nice bottle of wine, but Winestyr makes it possible for them to buy it at a significant discount,” Caton said.
Winestyr launched its first deal in January, so the service is still very new. So far it has spotlighted wineries in California, Washington and Oregon, but its goal is to expand to wineries all over the country in order to raise awareness of the different types of wine in different regions.
In the short time Winestyr has been offering deals, the company has received a ton of positive feedback. “A lot of people love the presentation and love that we’re focusing on the story as opposed to just the discount,” Wilson says. “They want to know more about these passionate winemakers, so we give that to them.”
Check out today’s featured winery and its story at