Wine Talk


Future of wine is revealed – it’s all in the cap

Brothers take home $35,000 prize in winexplorer innovation challenge

South Australian brothers, Joshua and Simon Schmidt have won the Brancott Estate winexplorer innovation challenge and $35,000, following a competitive pitch to a panel of impressive judges from the world of wine, entrepreneurship, innovation and media.

The winning idea impressed a panel of expert judges which included Paula Joye, editor of The Joye blog, and Sebastian Eckersley-Maslin, Founder and CEO of BlueChilli. Sebastian described the judging of the competition as “interesting, exciting and tough” going on to say, “the Brancott Estate winexplorer innovation challenge was looking for an idea that would fundamentally change the way wine was enjoyed and the Vinnovate idea really fitted this brief.”

Joshua and Simon presented a screwcap closure with an in-built flavour chamber that the wine drinker manually activates to add complementary flavours or aromas to their wine. This allows wine drinkers to customise the flavour of their wine to their own personal taste or to match a specific occasion.

Patrick Materman, Brancott Estate Chief Winemaker and one of the winexplorer judges said “I was intrigued by this idea as soon as I saw it, and after hearing Joshua and Simon pitch, I could immediately see the potential. We see this as a way to help people explore different flavours, aromas and textures in their wine to enhance the wine-drinking occasion.”

Vinnovate beat out four other finalists, which included a cellar management system based on actual storage conditions; an online, self-directed wine tasting adventure; a wirelessly integrated stopper to track wine quality in open bottles and a personalised wine tourism app. The pitch event followed an innovation bootcamp where all five finalists worked with start-up incubator BlueChilli to refine their business model and their pitching skills.

"We formed Vinnovate in 2012 with the idea of wanting to positively change how people enjoy wine, which was a bit of a harebrained idea. The whole experience of the winexplorer challenge has really validated the idea for us” says Joshua Schmidt, Co-founder and Chief Innovation Officer of Vinnovate.

“Having the opportunity now to take this further, and potentially bring it to market, it’s an incredible feeling and we are really thankful for Brancott Estate for running this challenge”
The Brancott Estate winexplorer innovation challenge was open to entrants from Australia and New Zealand, and had more than 100 innovations entered.

In March, five finalists were announced, these were:
• Joshua Schmidt and Simon Schmidt, Vinnovate (winner)
• Ross Maher and Amy Luscombe, BYO Vine Guide (People’s Choice winner)
• Jamie Metcalfe and Matt Rose, Sipple;
• Tim McTaggart, Wineminder;
• Scott Williamson and Nick Wyatt, Your Own Wine Adventure

These finalists participated in an intensive bootcamp with startup incubator, BlueChilli before pitching to a judging panel comprising Patrick Materman, Brancott Estate Chief Winemaker, Paula Joye, editor of The Joye blog, Sebastian Eckersley-Maslin, Founder and CEO of BlueChilli and Paulina Larocca, New to World and Creativity Director, Pernod Ricard Winemakers. The winning team was awarded $35,000 to assist with further development of their innovation.


For more information please contact:
Liz Patrick, Global PR Manager, NZ Brands,

Brancott Estate winexplorer innovation challenge – finalists

• Vinnovate, Joshua and Simon Schmidt – A screwcap which can be activated manually to deliver complementary flavours or aromas to wine, enhancing the flavour of wine to your personal taste or to match a specific dish.
• BYO Vine Guide, Ross Maher & Amy Luscombe – Designed specifically for wine tourism, this online platform allows people to create personalised cellar door tours based on visitor ratings and specific experiences. Visitors to wine regions benefit from easily identifying and planning cellar door experiences that match their particular preferences.
• Sipple, Jamie Metcalfe & Matt Rose – A wirelessly integrated bottle stopper that not only keeps wine fresh, but also connects to an app that ensures wine is consumed while still at its peak. Never wonder when the bottle was opened or waste wine again.
• Wineminder, Tim MacTaggart and team – Temperature sensors, a mobile app and insights into wine aging combine to create a cellar management system that uses actual storage conditions to determine peak drinking windows for wine, removing guess work from when wine is best drunk and ensuring cellared wine is enjoyed at its optimum maturity.
• Your Own Wine Adventure, Scott Williamson & Nick Wyatt – An online, self-directed wine tasting adventure that allows people to choose new wines to explore from the comfort of your home. Wines are home delivered, along with detailed, entertaining information about the wines, making it easy and fun to increase wine knowledge.


About Brancott Estate

BRANCOTT ESTATETM. Honouring our Marlborough heritage, Brancott Estate wines take their name from our cherished Brancott Vineyard, home of the original Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc; one of the world’s favourite New Zealand wine styles. In 1973, Brancott Vineyard was planted with grapes, a decision that went against the popular opinion of the time that the South Island was too cold to grow grapes. In 1975, Brancott Vineyard was planted with the first Sauvignon Blanc grapes in Marlborough. This pioneering determination and skill of our winemakers and viticulturists continues to be evident in every bottle, as is the care and respect for the land that allow us to produce each and every one. Brancott Estate wines are sourced from multiple vineyards.

BRANCOTT ESTATE TM is committed to sustainable practices and is a founding member of New Zealand’s original sustainable winegrowing initiative established in 1995. This programme has since transformed into Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand (SWNZ). All vineyards and wineries are accredited under the scheme.

About BlueChilli
BlueChilli helps entrepreneurs, investors and corporates build highly investable, scalable and well-designed businesses that are enabled by technology. We select smart founders and then provide them with the support they need to build successful startup businesses. We do this by providing incubation, an accelerator program, and technology and business services alongside investment into our portfolio startups, which we support in in Australia as well as abroad. Thanks to our dedicated product development team, our rigorous 156 accelerator program and our $10M BlueChilli Venture Fund, we are well on our way to smashing our ambitious goal of creating a $1B portfolio by 2020.

Enjoy Brancott Estate wines responsibly. or follow us on and
Brancott Estate is a trademark of Pernod Ricard Winemakers New Zealand Limited.

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