Future of wine is revealed – it’s all in the cap

By Candice Sears
9 May 2016

Brothers take home $35,000 prize in winexplorer innovation challenge

South Australian brothers, Joshua and Simon Schmidt have won the Brancott Estate winexplorer

innovation challenge and $35,000, following a competitive pitch to a panel of impressive judges from the

world of wine, entrepreneurship, innovation and media.

The winning idea impressed a panel of expert judges which included Paula Joye, editor of The Joye blog,

and Sebastian Eckersley-Maslin, Founder and CEO of BlueChilli. Sebastian described the judging of the

competition as “interesting, exciting and tough” going on to say, “the Brancott Estate winexplorer

innovation challenge was looking for an idea that would fundamentally change the way wine was enjoyed

and the Vinnovate idea really fitted this brief.”

Joshua and Simon presented a screwcap closure with an in-built flavour chamber that the wine drinker

manually activates to add complementary flavours or aromas to their wine. This allows wine drinkers to

customise the flavour of their wine to their own personal taste or to match a specific occasion.

Patrick Materman, Brancott Estate Chief Winemaker and one of the winexplorer judges said “I was

intrigued by this idea as soon as I saw it, and after hearing Joshua and Simon pitch, I could immediately

see the potential. We see this as a way to help people explore different flavours, aromas and textures in

their wine to enhance the wine-drinking occasion.”

Vinnovate beat out four other finalists, which included a cellar management system based on actual

storage conditions; an online, self-directed wine tasting adventure; a wirelessly integrated stopper to track

wine quality in open bottles and a personalised wine tourism app. The pitch event followed an innovation

bootcamp where all five finalists worked with start-up incubator BlueChilli to refine their business model

and their pitching skills.

“We formed Vinnovate in 2012 with the idea of wanting to positively change how people enjoy wine, which

was a bit of a harebrained idea. The whole experience of the winexplorer challenge has really validated

the idea for us” says Joshua Schmidt, Co-founder and Chief Innovation Officer of Vinnovate.

“Having the opportunity now to take this further, and potentially bring it to market, it’s an incredible feeling

and we are really thankful for Brancott Estate for running this challenge”

The Brancott Estate winexplorer innovation challenge was open to entrants from Australia and New

Zealand, and had more than 100 innovations entered.

In March, five finalists were announced, these were:

• Joshua Schmidt and Simon Schmidt, Vinnovate (winner)

• Ross Maher and Amy Luscombe, BYO Vine Guide (People’s Choice winner)

• Jamie Metcalfe and Matt Rose, Sipple;

• Tim McTaggart, Wineminder;

• Scott Williamson and Nick Wyatt, Your Own Wine Adventure

These finalists participated in an intensive bootcamp with startup incubator, BlueChilli before pitching to a

judging panel comprising Patrick Materman, Brancott Estate Chief Winemaker, Paula Joye, editor of The

Joye blog, Sebastian Eckersley-Maslin, Founder and CEO of BlueChilli and Paulina Larocca, New to World

and Creativity Director, Pernod Ricard Winemakers. The winning team was awarded $35,000 to assist with

further development of their innovation.