Wine maturation startup Wine Grenade has recruited technology executive Brett O’Riley to its board.
The appointment of O’ Riley, who also becomes chairperson, strengthens Wine Grenade’s commercialisation capabilities as the company expands into new wine growing territories and leverages data captured during maturation.
Wine Grenade commercialises IP from New Zealand’s Plant and Food Research in a connected device which allows winemakers to cost-effectively replicate the traditional oak barrel ageing process by delivering precise amounts of oxygen through a permeable membrane - a process known as micro-oxygenation.
The company is also exploring opportunities to capitalise on the unique location of its sensors inside the wine tanks and has just completed Vodafone Xone, a six-month-long accelerator for data and IoT start-ups.
“Wine Grenade is leveraging New Zealand’s strengths in horticulture IP and high-tech manufacturing to target an identifiable high-value market opportunity.
“I’m thrilled to be working alongside Hamish, the other founders, and the existing investor group, to make the most of this opportunity,” says O’ Riley.
Founded in 2014, the company is now selling devices to winemakers in eight countries and is building out its distributor network, appointing its first resellers in Chile and Argentina late last year.
O’ Riley has extensive experience in IT, innovation strategy and international business development. Most recently CEO of Auckland’s economic growth agency ATEED for five years, O’ Riley was previously Ministry of Science and Innovation business innovation and investments deputy chief executive, and founding CEO of the NZICT Group (now called NZTech) which represents New Zealand’s technology companies.
He is an experienced technology company director and has also held senior roles during 14 years with companies within the Telecom group (now Spark) including Southern Cross Cable Network.
O’ Riley’s current governance roles include directorships at drone noise cancellation startup Dotterel Technologies, New Zealand Film Commission, Baseball NZ and Bowls NZ.
O’ Riley also works in an advisory capacity to a number of companies including Innovation Capital.
A dedicated advocate for technology in education, Brett is a founding member of the Board of Trustees of Manaiakalani Education Trust.
“In order to exploit IoT opportunities in the global wine industry, we need to bring in additional skills, experience and networks. We are fortunate to have Brett’s contribution and knowledge to accelerate our growth at a time when Wine Grenade is rapidly expanding and raising capital to do so,” CEO Hamish Elmslie says.