Startups are often associated with founders from the tech scene. Not least thanks to the Vox program “The Cave of the Lions”, the term Startup is also established among food founders. However, in traditional occupations and industries, young people are less likely to startup. Rebecca Materne and Janina Schmitt did it anyway. In 2012, the two founded the winery Materne & Schmitt and produce their own wine in Winningen on the Moselle.
Both come neither from a classic wine region nor from a family of winegrowers. Schmitt comes from near Kassel and began there first a study of the social sciences. Materne comes from the Ruhr area and studied economics there. Through mini-jobs in wine shops, both came to the wine independently, tell the two in conversation with Business Insider.
“We did not start anything and worked our knowledge for ourselves”
This has led both to reorientate themselves and to do internships with winemakers in Winningen and Kiedrich in the Rheingau. Both got to know each other in the subsequent study of viticulture and oenology in Geisenheim. Three years after graduation, the two founded their winery.
The two initially took quite as startup true, as they stated to Business Insider. “We did not start anything and worked our knowledge for ourselves. We have not adopted an existing customer base, we have not adopted any interior, “says Rebecca Materne. Whether they see themselves as a startup today? “Maybe not, but it sure was like that back then”
Her first own vineyards were financed by crowdfunding
After both first shared a butler position at the Winninger Winzerei Heymann-Löwenstein, they began in 2012 to order the first own space as a part-time job. Since 2014 both work full-time with three hectares of leased space.
When the owners of the vineyards decided last year not to lease the space but to sell it exclusively, Materne and Schmitt resorted to a financing measure that was otherwise only known by “classic” startups: via the “Ploppster” platform, which is based on Crowdfunding specializes in the wine industry, they initially launched a campaign for 8,000 euros to buy the approximately 2,000 square meter area. At the end of the financing campaign, over 15,000 euros came from 169 investors, the two report.
The two of them explain their success with their interesting story: “Two best friends, who got to know each other during their studies and have nothing really to do with wine and then here in Winningen, one of the most difficult winegrowing regions, out of nowhere a winery build up” says Schmitt. In the future, the acreage of their winery will grow to six hectares – well financed by crowdfunding.
The rather small customer base is offset by distribution through dealers
For young wineries it is not necessarily easy to gain a foothold in the market of established wineries. But although the wine industry relies primarily on long-established names, Schmitt also has a market for young wineries.
Also published on Medium.