Crowd funding for kiwi wine shop

The New Zealand Cellar, the online wine company, is launching a crowd funding project to raise £35,000 for its first retail shop.

Director Melanie Brown is looking to be part of a one-off retail, events and office opportunity in Brixton, south London and has only two weeks to raise the money. The New Zealand Cellar will then have only another fortnight to transform a shell into a retail outlet.

NZC is raising the money on crowdfunding website Kickstarter, which claims to offer ‘rewards’ for pledges. People can donate however much they choose and The New Zealand Cellar is offering eight tiers of rewards for pledges starting from £10 up to £1,000+. These rewards include tickets to the launch party of the retail space, limited-edition New Zealand winery prints, Riedel tasting glasses and private wine events with Brown and her team.

Accompanying the Kickstarter campaign is a short video about the project with some passionate support from heavyweights of the wine trade and beyond in New Zealand and the UK. These include: Sean Fitzpatrick, former All Black; Bob Campbell MW, wine writer and educator; Jamie Goode, wine journalist and NZ wine specialist; Matthew Jukes, wine buyer, judge and journalist; Cameron Douglas, master sommelier; Peter Gordon, executive chef at The Providores and Tapa Room and The Sugar Club; Peter McCombie MW, wine journalist and educator; Roger Jones, Michelin-starred chef and wine writer; Tania Bearsley, president of the New Zealand Society UK; as well as New Zealand wine producers. The company is also embarking on a social media campaign and hopes this video will spread the word.

NZC says the £35,000 asked for is the minimum amount required for it to build, design and fit their first outlet. It says the walls will be lined with their full range of New Zealand's finest wines, to be available seven days a week. Customers can also taste and buy by the glass or carafe any of the 12 wines being served that day. The late licence and event space within the development also offer tasting and event opportunities that Brown plans to extend to travelling winemakers when they visit London.

The reason for the transition from online-only to physical retail space is, according to Melanie: to engage, promote and educate customers about New Zealand wine in the UK; to support producers by celebrating New Zealand wine face-to-face with customers.

“We want to create a retail space here that the New Zealand wine industry would be proud of,” she says. “By pledging to support us in becoming London's first New Zealand wine retail outlet people will be helping to grow the reputation of premium New Zealand wine in the UK and giving it the recognition it deserves. If we can change the perception of just a small group of consumers each week and educate them to spend a few extra pounds on fine NZ wine, our goals will be achieved.”