The Tasting Panel magazine

March 2013

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A LONE STAR LIFE Innovation Underway HOW AUSTIN ADDS A PERSONAL TOUCH TO WINE BUYING by Anthony Head / photo by Kirk Weddle W (Left to right) Personal Wine CEO Alex Andrawes, Sommelier Bill Elsey and Chief Technology Of���cer Anthony D���Addeo bring the digital heat to an otherwise chill Red Room in Austin. * Someone who fears technology ** Wine bottles that come off the bottling line without labels *** Certiicate of label approval from the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau 134 / the tasting panel / march 2013 hen you start clicking around www. ���which among other services, allows customers to personalize wine labels that are then applied to high-quality wines���you���re clicking straight into Austin, Texas. I���m a die-hard Luddite*, so I don���t really care that the city is emerging as an urban-tech Super Playah. I love Austin because it has bars in barbershops and movie theaters and laundromats and all sorts of other businesses. So it shouldn���t surprise anyone to know that Personal Wine���s corporate headquarters is located in the back of the Red Room Lounge. This Third Street wine bar feels something like a private club: classy interior with dark red-leather furniture and hints of underworld charm thanks to Red Room���s basement location. It���s chill. (And I���ve never, ever dared to deploy that word for describing anything other than a delicious ros��.) But it is chill, and it���s where CEO Alex Andrawes and team run Personal Wine. ���Our business includes producing personal and high-end corporate gifts for potential new fans of a winery,��� explains Andrawes. ���We approach a winery, who has X amount of shiners** and we say, ���Instead of taking that wine through the discount chain, why don���t we use it as a marketing platform to elevate your brand?������ Although customers personalize front labels, the winery���s own COLA***approved back labels identify the winery and wine, allowing customers to go back and purchase more when they desire. ���Phase two of our company,��� says Andrawes, ���is to allow customers to personalize wines directly on wineries��� websites. That���s where the technology is going.��� Working alongside Andrawes is Chief Technology Oficer Anthony D���Addeo, who runs the various media, marketing and analytics components, and Bill Elsey, a Third Level Advanced Sommelier and Personal Wine���s House Somm, to ensure that the wines overdeliver for their price points. This merging of trade, technology and wine its perfectly with the brave new world of Austin. Along with a growing number of business start-ups and a tech-savvy workforce, Austin is also an emerging destination for wine-lovers���not to mention that it���s on track to have four or ive Master Sommeliers working in the next few years, further bolstering the city���s wide-ranging appeal. So if you stop by the Red Room, be sure to stick your head in the back and tell the fellas hello. Of course, you don���t have to come to Austin to experience all this innovation. You can just click on And when you do, rest assured you���ll be clicking deep into the digital heart of Texas.

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