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Kiwi IoT startup expands into USA with exclusive distributor

06 Jun 2018

Kiwi wine maturation startup Wine Grenade has appointed an exclusive North American distributor and established a new executive role in the USA as the company ramps up production of its micro-ox and data solution.

The distribution deal with Enartis USA gives Wine Grenade immediate access to a sales network selling a complementary portfolio of winemaking products, analytical services and winery technology throughout North America.

Wine Grenade’s vision is to provide winemakers with the insights they need to consistently make great wine, year after year. 

In December 2017, it released customer dashboards, providing real-time data about critical device information such as oxygen release rates, tank and cellar temperatures, tank headspace and membrane pressure levels as well as the battery life, Wi-Fi signal strength and amount of oxygen remaining.

Enartis USA is part of Esseco Group, a global manufacturer of winemaking and enology products.

Enartis USA president and CEO José Santos says, “We found in Wine Grenade the perfect partner to complement our offering in micro-oxygenation and better serve small-to-medium sized wineries.

“We believe that micro-oxygenation is a key technology in modern winemaking, and adding Wine Grenade to our portfolio of micro-ox systems makes it available for wineries of all sizes in a cost-effective way.”

Wine Grenade CEO Hamish Elmslie says, “Enartis USA is a highly respected name in winemaking products and lab services, and has also been a leading supplier of micro-oxygenation systems in North America since 2011.

“As a partner, they will provide the scale, market knowledge and on the ground support we need to reach more customers.”

Winemakers in eight countries are now using the Wine Grenade and to support Enartis USA and other international opportunities.

Wine Grenade’s Board has also announced an expanded executive team, effective from June.

Co-founder and current CEO Hamish Elmslie will relocate to California as chief product officer.

Elmslie, who has led the company as CEO since 2014 after a career in banking, will continue as a director.

Co-founder and director Jonathan Boswell will take on the role of managing director, guiding R&D, production and Australasian sales from the company’s Auckland manufacturing base.

Boswell has a background in law and banking and holds a Master of Commercialisation and Entrepreneurship from the University of Auckland.

He was most recently CEO of Auckland firm TGT Legal.

Wine Grenade chair Brett O’Riley says, “As the company expands overseas, we are scaling up the team to pursue our growth strategy while retaining vital product knowledge within the business.

“Creating a new chief product officer role based in the USA will help collaboration with our new strategic partner Enartis while putting us in striking distance of key markets in Europe.”

In March this year, Wine Grenade received a $438,000 Callaghan Innovation co-funding grant for product development including capturing the benefits of data and IoT in the winery.

Last month, in May, the product was recognised with an INNOVATION + QUALITY Award at IQ 2018, the annual Napa Valley forum for ultra-premium wineries focused on cutting-edge innovations that advance wine quality.

Co-founder Boswell says, “Our product has been tested and endorsed by the US winemaking industry and now is the time to invest in that market. I’m looking forward to working alongside Hamish and our team as the company enters full production and commercialisation.”

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