For wine connoisseurs, the launch of Somm on Call, a new food tech startup guarantees optimal experience in wine purchase and consumption.
By providing both products and services, Somm on Call acts as a marketplace where quality wines can be bought; and an advice portal where buyers can be enlightened.
It connects adventurous consumers with premium, yet uncommon wines not readily available in stores, thereby, giving access to wine lovers to explore exclusive wines in the industry.
The South African-based tech startup is a user-friendly digital platform where local lovers of wine get 24 hours access to expert advice from a reputable sommelier (a wine steward).
Established in July 2020, by two renowned sommeliers Spencer Fondaumiere and Tinashe Nyamdoka, the startup aims to fill the gap the COVID-19 pandemic created owing to the closure of restaurants during that critical period.
Interestingly, despite the raging of the virus, a ceaseless need for the services of sommeliers came up.
The founders of this innovation explained how the new and fully bootstrapped food tech startup was borne
“Both our lives had changed significantly due to COVID-19 and the related consequences, not just for us but our entire trade.
But during it, we realised that people were still contacting us all the time, looking for wine, looking to chat about wine and it dawned on us, that though restaurants were closed our clientele were still interested.
We thus devised a way to break down the traditional wall to the restaurant and satisfy the needs of the curious in a virtual space.”
Commenting on the exclusiveness of what Somm on Call offers, Foundaumiere said:
“We’ve both tapped into our ‘little black books’, driven to the individual farms to meet with the winemakers and choose the really special stuff.”
Also, the food tech startup offers expert advice from sommeliers, allowing users to grow in their knowledge of wine.
“We’re taking the sommelier experience and expanding it beyond the walls of conventional restaurants, straight to consumers’ mobile phones,” explained Nyamdoka.
A new experience for wine lovers
Leveraging on their significant background as wine pundits and sommeliers, the founders of Somm on Call developed a platform that caters to the needs of both vendors and consumers.
Nyamdoka further stated: “We developed the platform to answer a very specific need. We have created a place where we can showcase products using our expert opinion and create a following, a tribe of people interested in learning more and trying different things, the curious and don’t always know how to access them and what makes them special.”
Each product showcased on the digital platform is followed by a unique audio story that provides the consumer with insights including production details and why it has been featured on the platform.
In addition, users are able to engage in interactive question and feedback sessions with the founders so as to make informed decisions on their selection of products.
How Somm on Call works
Users sign up on the platform with their mobile number after which they receive a text detailing their offers every fortnight. In addition, users are provided with a broad range of information about the wine available.
Currently, Somm on Call delivers its products across South Africa. The cost is R50 for six bottles or less, and for orders larger than six bottles, delivery is free.
Opportunity for all
Through its platform, this novel South African tech startup is supporting the wine industry, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Plans are ongoing to expand Somm on Call’s offering so as to enable users to hire sommelier’s for private events, creating job opportunities for local sommeliers.
In Nyamdoka’s words, he also stated:
“In doing so we want to create opportunities for other sommeliers who like us are now struggling to make a living.
Once people start asking questions on the platform, we can provide employment opportunities for Sommeliers to do what they are trained to do away from the floor.”
Featured Image: Spencer Fondaumiere (l)and Tinashe Nyamdoka(r), founders of Somm on Call
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