Cork Report: China’s Premier Subscription Wine Club

Signature Wine Club was created in 2014 by expat, Mike Signorelli (my supervisor), to solve the problem of finding premium wine for a reasonable cost in China. “Sigwine” is China’s first independent O2O subscription based wine club and is currently based in Beijing. My company has served over 500 clients across mainland China, with a majority of them being expats.

Through our subscription wine club, we help members discover new wines, and provide educational information on each wine. Each month we deliver different international wines to their home or office. Our flat monthly fee includes the wine, tasting notes, and delivery.

We offer 2 subscription levels, Silver and Gold. Silver represents value for money, the toughest wines to find in China: Good quality at a reasonable price. Gold subscription is for people who prefer premium wines. These wines cannot be found in local shops, but rather in hotels and fine restaurants.

My company has created a tasting panel of wine professionals that meet every month to sample dozens of wines from importers and distributors. From these samples, our Sigwine specialists choose 6 different international wines, 3 everyday drinking wines, and 3 premium bottles.

Since there are only two employees at my company, departments and teams do not exist. Rather, one may balance many departments. So far, my projects have mainly been focused on research and creating marketing content, but I have also worked with inventory when we shipped out June boxes last week.

In the future, my company hopes to expand their customer base. We want to get more locals, as well as other expat communities, comfortable with subscription services and become members of our club. Many of our customers live in Beijing, so there is also a desire to reach more populated cities, such as Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Qingdao, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Tianjin, etc. Further, my company is focused on partnering with restaurants and other businesses in order to host more wine events and increase the wine community here in China.

While my company is doing well, there are still some obstacles. The first challenge my company faces is the lack of local interest. The growing Chinese middle class is where the opportunity for expansion is, however, the subscription model is a scary thought. In my opinion, the second challenge my company faces is the lack of employees. A few months ago, I believe there was a team of four; I think if my company wants to expand, there needs to be a larger force behind it and should fill in those positions.

Cheers!

-Brenna

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