Imagine quitting your job to move to a different country and become a winemaker. It's the sort of thing the average 9-5er only dreams about, but one woman did just that – uprooting from the UK to grow grapes in the Languedoc region of France. But when Katie Jones chose to leave the local wine-making co-operative, having decided to make her own wine rather than pooling her high quality grapes with her neighbours' lower quality ones, things turned sour.
After the 2013 harvest, disgruntled co-operative members broke into her winery and opened the taps on the vats so the previous year's entire vintage of white wine was emptied down the drain and she was left with absolutely nothing.
"That's when Naked Wines gave her a call," said Laura Riches, marketing director for the online wine retailer. "They said, ‘We've heard about you and we've heard your story. We want to help you'."
Naked Wines doesn't operate like other online wine retailers, she explained to an audience at a DMA Customer Engagement event (June 2017). At its heart is "a community of wine drinkers" who pay £20 a month into an online account – a group termed Angels – which the business then invests in independent wine-makers.