Vivant is the first interactive online platform that enables winemakers, consumers and expert wine advisors to connect virtually, showcasing and offering fine wines from around the world.
Despite an increase in wine consumption, revenues across the industry have fallen in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. We are chugging more wine than before, but manpower, logistics and supply line troubles across the globe have left winemakers high and dry.
With restaurants and gatherings largely prohibited, sales of wine have sharply declined; and with restrictions in place for workers in vineyards, there is no doubt that the industry has had to pivot, and adapt quickly.
Enter Vivant, the first-ever interactive online platform to connect winemakers, consumers and expert wine advisors. Yet what is it like to experience new fine wine from across the world, in the comfort of your own home? How does a virtual tour of vineyards in the Bordeaux region compare to the real thing?
With their trademarked “Live Experiences”, Vivant boasts that their platform blends engaging interaction, personalised education and lively entertainment, transporting members to iconic wine regions without leaving home. It aims to redefine how consumers learn about wine and supporting a more sustainable future for the industry, featuring the world’s best-tasting wines from responsible winemakers practicing sustainable, organic and biodynamic viticulture.
“Our ambition is to recreate the magic of visiting a wine region without the carbon footprint of stepping on an airplane,” says Michael Baum, CEO and founder of Vivant. “We’ve assembled a team of wine educators, product designers, software engineers and media producers to immerse people in the world of wine like never before.”
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The former CEO of big data pioneer Splunk had ventured into wine as a hobby, and this eventually paved the way for Vivant. Baum, incidentally, is also the owner of Chateau de Pommard, the French winery and estate which was established in 1726 — making him the first American to own such an estate in Burgundy. Baum made his billions from the US$5 billion ($6.6 billion) IPO of Splunk.
It is no surprise then, that he has taken a rather technologically-minded approach to wine. One could say he is taking his Silicon Valley-savvy into the business of wine.
On the Vivant.eco platform, its expert wine advisors educate and guide consumers with winemakers, but with one significant difference: they focus on winemakers who are dedicated to making sustainable wines for consumers to enjoy without damaging the environment.
Vivant launches with three French wine regions: Bordeaux, Burgundy and the Loire. New experiences from Champagne are also available, and experiences from Alsace will be released in January 2021.
During the Live Experiences, members who have also purchased the Experience Kits separately (which are not compulsory for participation) will be guided through the Interactive Tasting Method, which will give them an insight on how to taste and appreciate wine like a professional.
The Experience Kit consists of either six 10cl vials of wine or three full bottles of wine.
When we had the chance to experience the tasting, we were guided through the process of assessing the wines and comparing their profiles. We were also taken on a virtual tour of the various vineyards (which differs by session and by tasting kits) and took quizzes to test our knowledge of the wines’ profiles.
A membership to Vivant, which includes access to all the Live Experiences, starts at $239 a year, and Experience Kits are sold separately.
With the kits, members can taste and assess the wines featured in each session, and all wines featured in Vivant experiences are available for purchase by the bottle and shipped globally. In addition, Vivant is pledging 1% of memberships, Experience Kit purchases, and wine purchases towards funding innovative new ideas and research making a positive impact on a sustainable future for wine.
While perhaps it will not quite replace the experience of a real vineyard tour, Vivant is, without doubt, filling a niche gap in the world of wine.
Sustainable wines have been the talk of the industry for a while now, but it is not easy to truly determine what counts as sustainable wine or not, and especially so when buzzwords such as “organic” or “biodynamic” abound. By working directly to the winemakers who are open and transparent about their practices, this will go a long way towards ensuring the sustainability of the industry