Wine merchant aiming to raise £150k in bid to extend customer reach

Smashed Grapes, the Ellesmere Port-based online wine merchant, is seeking to raise £150,000 to improve its market reach in a bid to reach a wider range of customers.

According to trade publication The Grocer, the business is targeting angel investment and a crowdfunding campaign.

Smashed Grapes is aiming to expand its direct to customer operation and its wholesale offering after entering the hospitality market in October this year.

It says it wants to bridge the gap between the lower and higher end of the UK wine drinking market.

This involves introducing a wider range of quality brands and to battle against what it terms ‘wine snobbery’.

Former restaurateur, Sam Tendall, co-founded Smashed Grapes in 2020 with marketing and brand development specialist Dan Thomas.

Mr Tendall said: “While the drinks industry continues to expand with choice, the freedom to explore tasty new wines remains blocked and behind the times.

“Consumers are left with a choice between mass-produced and often uninspiring big brands, or with a world of historic snobbery, complex language and superiority.

“This results in many wine drinkers being forced to stick with what they know, choosing the familiar over the baffling.”

He said Smashed Grapes helps wine lovers by making good wine accessible through iyd ‘real life’ wine categories which helps consumers broaden their wine drinking horizons, get better value and make trusted choices, eliminating, what he calls fear of ‘wine letdown’.

“Our approach is gaining traction across the UK and we now see a prime opportunity to develop the Smashed Grapes brand.

“We’re aiming to do this at B2C level, through additional investment in marketing and brand-building, and at wholesale level.”

In a bid to further grow the wholesale side of the business, Smashed Grapes has announced a new strategic partnership with wine sales consultant Owen Ward.

Over the past year, Ward has secured more than £1m in sales revenue supplying wine to UK restaurants and bars.