Entrepreneurs Erica Davis and Catherine Carter are reimagining the wine experience thanks to The Sip, a subscription service that helps users discover their palate and find which wines best suit their needs without spending a fortune.
A shared struggle between the Oakland, CA natives inspired the launch of the company in 2020. On a getaway trip, Davis and Carter found it difficult to find new wine brands to discover. A light bulb then went off as the duo soon realized there was an untapped market. Therefore, they wanted to launch a company to make wine tasting more accessible.
“The complexities often make the alcohol category feel exclusive and that’s something that we’re trying to democratize. Our goal and our mission is to make wine more approachable and accessible to the masses,” Davis told AfroTech exclusively.
She continued: “We know representation matters. When you are a Black woman and or a woman of color in this industry, you get pigeonholed into what they think you like. There are all these expectations that we like it pink or we like it sweet and that never felt genuine to Catherine and me. We want to teach people who look like us that only your palette matters.”
The Sip Has Featured Over 55 Diverse Wine Brands
The Sip offers a bi-monthly subscription billed annually ($329.70) or bi-monthly ($59.95 per box) for users, which allows them to sample a variety of wines accessible through six boxes a year.
To date, over 55 wine brands have been featured including Black-owned brand Wachira Wines and women-made brands such as Laurent Perrier, Veuve Clicquot, and Ayala, according to information provided to AfroTech.
“We try to put as many Black and brown women-owned products throughout the year as possible because we know there are a limited number of Black and brown owned wines. We want to support and help them build as much as possible,” Davis said.
Artificial Intelligence Builds Reliable Flavor Profile
The Sip gathers customer feedback using artificial intelligence to understand the wiring of one’s palate profile. Over time, users can rely on a palette dashboard featuring a variety of recommendations tailored to their experiences.
Luckily, you do not need to be an expert to learn which wine products will best suit you. Each box will contain a QR code that will activate a virtual tasting. Users will then select the bottles in their box to rate each product. In addition, wine tasters will receive notes on the flavor profile, the sweetness level, and the wine’s origin.
The Sip Helps Users Relive Their Favorite Memories
Over time, The Sip will use the insights to help users relive the moments near and dear to the heart while highlighting new wines which match the flavor profile previously used during their special moment.
“We use technology to capture and learn of our customer’s behaviors and things that they care about,” Davis said. “We can use that data to help them celebrate and remind them about perfect celebrations or something special they may have forgotten.”
She continued: “We also remind them about that bottle that they tried 12 months ago, that’s just back in stock and also has the same flavor profiles as these five new bottles. That’s one of the reasons why — in the pandemic — when people still needed a moment to celebrate, us being able to facilitate those happy moments for them became a big reason for our success.”
Each Sale Helps A Family Need
Users who tap into The Sip will also be supporting the East Oakland community. As members of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Davis and Carter value acts of service and understanding the needs of the community. To build on that, they honored their shared belief through The Sip’s “Take A Sip, Give A Sip.”
For every sale, The Sip will donate 16 ounces of clean water to families through the East Oakland Community Project (EOCP). To date, customers have supplied over 5,000 gallons of clean water to families in need.
“Before we put pen to paper, Catherine and I said that we wanted to do something genuine to give back to the city that gave us so much — so, every sale of The Sip donates 16 ounces of clean water to an organization called East Oakland Community Project. Our philanthropic core doesn’t stop at Take A Sip, Give A Sip as we will also be partnering with influencers in the wine space that are Black and brown,” Davis said.
The Sip Will Launch An Internship Program For Class Of 2022 Grads
As the company looks ahead, it will launch a summer internship program open to four Class of 2022 graduates.
According to information provided, The Sip plans to give recent graduates an early start in the wine industry. Selectees will receive $10,000 each, coupled with the opportunity to learn about sparkling wine, retail buying, retail marketing, growth product management, and retail operations.
The program will run from June to September 2022.