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New Pix wine platform on global ‘matchmaking mission’

Published:  29 September, 2021

An ambitious new wine discovery platform is soon to launch with the aim of becoming the “biggest wine platform in the world,” according to its creators.

With its launch planned later this autumn, Pix is to offer a free-to-list “wine discovery platform”, open to producers, suppliers and retailers to feature their wines, while matching wine drinkers with both online and nearby sources to purchase the wines that fit their search criteria.

Pix is the brainchild of its CEO Paul Mabray, conceived in response to the on-going migration to online purchasing, with the first lockdown cementing the idea as that trend fast accelerated.

With a couple of funding rounds under its belt and the backing of tech-focused venture capital – raising millions of dollars – Pix is described as “the world’s first wine discovery platform with a simple matchmaking mission: to pair people with bottles that bring them joy”.

Several features, however, differ from rival wine platforms, according to the Pix team.

“When we created Pix what we looked at was if you ignore the revenue stream, in an ideal world what would you create?” Joe Fattorini, trade managing director, told Harpers. “Well, you’d make it free to list on."

He added: “For wineries, you’d let them handle the transaction, you wouldn’t get in the way, because wineries are very low margin, so to make it worthwhile they need to ‘own’ the customer. And it would be the same for retailers.”

A key difference from rivals, says Fattorini, is that while the likes of Vivino are more akin to Amazon in the marketplace, Pix is more like Google, simply directing traffic and offering purchasing opportunities from across a number of different platforms.

“Most people don’t know what the wine is that they are looking for most of the time. But they have a [drinking] destination, with certain people, and a certain mood. So how do you merchandise a shop with a quarter of a million wines? We have an MW using AI to help teach a computer, up to diploma level, how to merchandise wine,” he adds.

Backed by “a clever database” and AI-enhanced relevance of the wine listings, the Pix search engine can take a name such as Montepulciano, coupled with a customer location, and deliver a choice of the nearest retailers stocking such wines.

Descriptors, too, are focused around texture, then the ‘taste’ of the wine – “words that you can describe people with, like rich, plush, refined, which kind of humanises wine”, according to Fattorini.

“Our research shows that people want to know what to do with a wine, how it fits in their life, so we use three key words; a simple texture word – a flavour word and then the third could be a ‘BBQ wine’ or something like a ‘female winemaker’ or ‘undiscovered regions’.”

In addition to adding what Fattorini describes as a “democratic element”, bringing ‘new’ wines to a drinkers’ attention, this also “levels the field a bit for smaller producers”.

As for future revenue generation, the platform is looking to launch what it describes as a key word bidding system, enabling paying producers to promote their products to particular audiences alongside the majority free-listed suggestions turned up by the search engine.

One thing is certain – Pix’s 28-strong team is certainly not short of ambition.

“We will launch as the second biggest wine platform in the world and we want to be biggest wine platform in the world,” said Fattorini.