Obvious Wines is a company founded by a Frenchman living in Los Angeles, CA, that bottles and labels a collection of currated wines intended to take the guesswork and hesitation out of wine buying.
Seeing that many people are intimidated by the wine buying experience, the entreprneneur has collected wines from eco-friendly vineyards from across the world and then labeled them with taste profiles and additional information such as suggested food pairings and ratings. The concept is to add a degree of education along side the wine buying experience to take much of the guesswork and fear out of the process.
The company was started when the entrepreneur began to take an interest in California wines but started to get lost in where to go and what to try next. Despite being French, the entrepreneur actually had no experience with wine before. He had been employeed in finance. He saw other experience the same issues that he'd been having and decided to come up with a novel way to handle it.
The sharks complimented the entrepreneur on his wines, especially the white that he demonstrated.
Obvious Wines has been on the market for just seven months and in that time has sold 9,000 bottles wholesale for $100,000. However, the entrepreneur had run a pilot in the previous year to gauge interest and he claims that all of the stores re-ordered. The retail cost of a bottle is $16 and the wholesale price is $11.
Currently, the product is only sold in Southern California but part of the reason why he is trying to raise money is to hire a sales person to go out and contact stores and distributors in order to get the product carried more widely.
This deal appeared in Episode 10.12.
Making a Deal
At first things didn't look so good for the entrepreneur. Daymond dropped out of the deal quickly because he stated that building a brand is "hard." Mr. Wonderful, perhaps the most obvious shark to go after, also dropped out stating that he already sells $10,000,000 in wines a year and has no interest in competing with himself.
Unfortunately for the entrepreneur, he began his pitch with a mime alongside to help... no one knows... Has a mime ever helped anything? It certainly didn't here. Mark stated that he was out because he doesn't do buisness with anyone who hires mimes.
Fortunately, Lori expressed an interest in a company that makes wine buying more fun, more exploratory, and less intimidating. Rather than accept the entrepreneur's deal of $150,000 for 5% (a small amount of equity for a shark to bite on), she instead offered the money for a 12.5% stake.
The entrepreneur hesistated at the offer, not out of a disinterest in working with Lori, but because he had already raised outside investment at a higher value. He counters Lori's offer with the same 12.5% stake but for $170,000 instead. Finally, the split the difference and agreed on 12.5% equity for $160,000.
- Mr. Wonderful frequently mentions his wine society, The Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin. A tastevin is a shallow saucer made of silver that the society has taken for their symbol that was made for wine tastings in dark cellars and which they wear around their necks. (The word looks a lot less impressive when Kevin isn't putting his spin on it. It's literally means, "tasting wine" in French.)