If you’re in the  wine business, Wine Owners has a range of software solutions to meet your needs including the Wine Hub business management software, a fine wine WMS and cellar management software that engages your customers both with their professionally stored wine as well as an entire collection.

background image background image

Here you’ll find answers to your commonly asked questions.

Answers to questions covering fee structures, contract terms, how to select a new software platform, modularity, wine data, wine pricing, wine content, connectivity, operational best practise, business reporting and management tools, audit trails…

Please don’t hesitate to contact us to start the conversation about your business, goals and specific requirements.

How can I be sure the Wine Owners platform will be suitable for my business?

If you’re in the fine wine business, Wine Owners has a range of platform SaaS solutions to meet your needs. From a standardized retail/ merchant business system (ERP) for small or medium sized operations to a unique business ecosystem that connects you seamlessly to your suppliers, warehouses and channels to market.

For more complex requirements, we configure only after a thorough investigation of your business requirements – working together to develop a scope of work (SOW) that reflects your requirements and growth objectives.

With many retailers globally using our Hub ERP and over 25 major white label clients operating their business on our platform, you can be confident that our SaaS technology is thoroughly road-tested and fit for purpose. Existing clients may be contacted for references.

How modular is the platform if I want to deploy certain business functionality?

For the white label wine management platform, you can configure the platform as specifically as you wish.

The Hub ERP can be set up in minutes. From there, as the name suggests, the Hub is the heart of a modular SaaS platform solution to which you can add on: the Hub Webshop, shop POS, other channels to market (connections to Livex, Wine Owners’ trading exchange, marketplaces like Vivino etc..), supplier stocks via the wholesaler/ importer function that you can leverage to sell more), private client reserves management/ collection management, self directed brokerage/ consignment, full warehouse management.

What wine information is provided on the platform that my customers can access?

A lot! Pricing and price history on 350,000 wines, charting, drinking dates, scores, reviews, producer profiles, and then as much information about each wine entry as there’s data provided by you (or your clients for private client reserves management/ collection management.

How do you calculate wine prices?

We partner with Wine-Searcher to pull tens of millions of retail prices each year. Our team including data scientists then work with that raw data to create a market level price indicator that reflects the pre-commission estimate of an indcative selling price. We do that for each wine reference.

We can take you through the logic behind the detailed algorithms if you are into data, please contact us for further details.

What regions do you price for?

We currently collect pricing for North America and Europe. The latter has a UK bias due to the historic role London has played in global trading and the secondary market, from where Asia takes its cue. Both regions’ databases go back as far as 2007.

Can you help us to review operational best practise?

Absolutely. Here are a few areas that we know from working with scores of wine-focused businesses are important to get right:

Properly structured data model that is specifically designed for wine records, with a referential database and associated wine information related to each product reference (wine vintage level).

Validation of all data fields at time of input as much as is practical (with obvious exceptions such as new custom wines).

Wine-specific matching to maintain the integrity of the product database

Integration between inventorying and warehouses

Management of different types of inventory, whether physical or not

Integration between your core system and your sales channels – increasingly important to reach your addressable market and ensure you don’t end up double selling.

Process management – the fine wine market has deep-rooted inefficiencies that require tracking capabilities embedded within purchasing and sales processes.

Integration with sources of supply

Calculation of fully loaded purchase costs

Engagement with your clients through the management of their collection

My product database is full of product duplication and errors. Can you help?

We most certainly can. The referential database helps, as does our parsing, matching and deduplication tools, that we developed in house. You can even match incoming product data yourself using a cellar load utility we have developed that enables you to see matches, close and false matches. The founders come from a CRM background working with big data, so transposing those principles to wine was one of the first

How do you handle wines you don’t have in your database?

New wines that aren’t in the database don’t show up as you’re typing in a root of that wine name (typeahead), and the system then lets you add a custom wine. That can be reused by you in the short term, until on a quarterly rolling basis the custom wine is researched by us and added to the referential database.

Am I able to manage different warehouse and storage locations?

Yes the platform is engineered to handle multiple storage locations, along with different wine statuses, whether physical (in various duty states depending on the jurisdiction) or en primeur/ futures, lying overseas etc.. Both wine businesses and collectors often end up with wine stored in different locations, lying overseas, en primeur, in transit etc. and the platform is designed for specificities of fine wine inventory management.

I’m tight on storage space. Can your platform help me manage it better?

if you’re running a warehouse, we provide case consolidation functionality for maximization of space, enabling a few bottles in one case to be consolidated into another case.

The platform’s warehouse map will show you where all the stock is, which locations are overcapacity and which ones have space for more.

You can also identify where a client’s wine is across the warehouse in case you wish to move cases together. Stock movement and consolidations provide complete flexibility in being able to manage space optimally.

Do you integrate with leading critics such as Vinous and Parker?

We integrate with Vinous, Robert Parker, Jancis Robinson and there are more we’ll be adding in due course. If you want to see a specific critic’s content on a your platform, whether for commerce, client-stored wines, collection management or analysis, let us know.

What business reporting is provided?

We have created our own reporting suite, so that if it’s in the database you can report on it. Reports can be parameterized if required, and although we have over 100 pre-canned, you can have us create any report you require.

For the Hub ERP, a report writer is included that allows you to generate reports on the fly.

What customer management tools are included?

When you deploy the collection management interface between you and your customers, you can:

Log in via admin to see the same screens that they are looking at. It’s a great help when advising them on their collection

Analyse all client activity

Segment clients for marketing purposes

Analyse client collections, as well as holdings across the whole of your customer base

Configure your platform so that customers can add their other cellars to their account so that you get to see a 360 degree view of their collection, and can improve your advice and increase share of wallet

Automate communications to them based on platform actions and events.

Self directed brokerage or consignment

To what extent can I conduct audits of our stock?

Every action is recorded by the system. Even wines that are deleted are recorded (and viewable by administrators).

Talking of which, admin access is recorded, so no change to a business record, or warehouse movement, or consolidation, or manual adjustment can be made without the system a) knowing about it and b) being able to report on it.

Reports suitable for auditing purposes include (but are not limited to) purchasing, ordering, inventory changes, warehouse landings, sales orders, movements, changes to billing rules. You’re able to see a wine’s full history and every change made by a staff admin user.

What integrations with other business systems do you support?

We integrate with any accounting system including Quickbooks, Sage and Xero.

For marketing we’ve integrated with Salesforce to support event-driven marketing campaigns and account management activity.

Livex integration includes bidding, selling and listing Livex inventory for selling through ecommerce and all other sales channels.

Octavian warehouse integration in the UK and many warehouses in the USA.

We are able to integrate with any email marketing service provider with APIs.

Background systems include Dynamics and Navision, Oracle and Netsuite.

I need more flexibility in billing than my accounting system gives me. What does the platform offer?

The billing functionality provides enormous flexibility for a warehouse or retail/ e-commerce business to calculate fees. For example volume discounting is essential to many businesses who store wine for customers, but so it being able to override that structure and create custom fees. Fees are calculated on the fly per customer based on events such as wine landing, solid case vs mixed case, inspected and/or photographed, repacked if needed, and put away.

Billing functionality can manage retail businesses, merchants, importers and wholesalers, warehouses or storage locations.

The Hub ERP integrates with the 3 most common accounting packages that are available today: Xero, Quickbooks and Sage. These are great accounting systems but no accounting package is designed to mange inventory and complex billing rules such as those that are prevalent in the fine wine industry.

The Hub, warehouse management and collection management provide the flexible billing logic to calculate charges, whereas standard industry-leading accounting packages provide full capability for core business financial management such as statementing, debt management and statutory accounting.

Do you handle data migration from other platforms or legacy systems?

Yes we have lots of experience in migrating data and planning successful switchovers. That whole process is aided by the data quality and matching tools we’ve developed in house. Some of those tools can be used by us or you to make the process as fast and cost-effective as possible.

We intend to sell through our ecommerce website and other sales channels. How do you facilitate this?

Any inventory held on the platform can be called by another system, along with associated information, so that wine can be listed with rich content, and variables such as margin can be controlled by the platform. It also means that wines stored for clients can be listed for sale via the same API calls.

However, adopt the Hub ERP as your core business system and you’ll be able to take advantage of the hub Webshop, a fully featured ecommerce that’s designed to work seamlessly with the Hub and makes origination and display of rich content extremely easy.

What options do you provide for enabling the sale of customer stocks?

Hub Webshop

Full integration with Livex

Wine Owners exchange

Furthermore we offer an exchange model that connects a seller and buyer directly, or in jurisdictions that are more challenging, a license holder plays a key part to ensure compliance with State Liquor Authority (SLA) requirements. If you’re interested to understand how it’s done, please contact us.

We also provide an efficient self-directed brokerage or consignment model that encompasses price discovery – either integrated with ecommerce or with a simple buy and sell function that is part of the customer facing platform, and fully integrated with client storage collection management.

Will the inventorying functionality handle mixed cases and non standard conditions?

Yes, we have created a very efficient landing/ inbound wine workflow that enables a business to differentiate mixed cases from solid ones. Rules can be set up for applying barcodes or license plates to the case, and optionally barcodes ready to apply to bottles too. It just depends on your business and use case. It also means that you can specifically identify a case of wine with different conditions and fill levels, and know which one to request for an outbound process with precision.

What do you do to make the tracking of provenance easier?

Every wine entry has a Wine Passport, which is a section that enables current condition (in the form of inspection / condition images and a structured pick list for describing condition), and history of a wine (with any supporting information) to be maintained. History + current condition = traceability and provenance.

Is there a minimum term I have to commit to?

There’s no minimum term for any of our SaaS platform solutions.

What does your fee structure look like?

The Hub ERP is priced on a monthly fee basis. You can get going with the Hub without a set up fee but if you want help with migrating data and go live, we’ll price that support based on your requirements.

Because the Hub comes with migration tools you actually don’t need our help to get started.

Larger businesses with large amounts of data and a requirement to carefully plan a switch-over will realistically require a package of services to ensure a seamless switchover.

For larger projects involving the wine management platform solutions including integrations, warehouse management, private client reserves and collection management,there’s a configuration fee that covers set up. That varies according to the scope of work, plus services fees for data processing and migration.

Once you’re ready to go live there is a monthly recurring fee to cover unlimited technical support, hosting, security, upgrades and everything that comes with a fully managed SaaS environment.

What sort of questions should a wine business ask before deciding on the kind of business management system to invest in?

How do the ways in which I currently operate hold me back from what I’d like to achieve?

Does my current business software actually support my business and my customers in the ways I need it to, or have I had to compromise to fit with it?

How big is the current administrative overhead in my business? How many tasks, and of what kind, do I duplicate, or are simply overly time-consuming, and what could I do with the time or freed-up resource if many of these were systemized?

To what extent do I actually want to grow my business?

Thinking about my future plans for developing the business, what support will I need to realize those plans?

Does my existing software give me a future-proofed roadmap in respect of those plans?

How can the system handle the partial delivery of Purchase Orders?

Using the split functionality, the Hub allows you to reconcile what has been delivered and split the remaining wine to a separate line which you can reconcile at a later date.

How can I reconcile what has landed in my warehouse with the wines in my Inventory?

The warehouse reconciliation function within the Hub means that you can ensure that the wines you have bought match those in your warehouse.

From the data import section, you can use the warehouse reconciliation tool to upload a file of the wines landed which once uploaded, the Hub will match the fields, giving you the option to compare what has been uploaded and what is in the Hub.

Once you have confirmed and run the reconciliation, the Hub will highlight any discrepancies, based on the given rotation number, providing details of the discrepancy in the terms of the number of bottles per wine entry.

How can I offer my stock for sale?

Offering your stock for sale is done directly within the Hub, either over the phone, integrated sales channels or through integrated e-commerce – typically the Hub Webshop.

Once we have connected your Hub site to your chosen Sales Channels, all you need to do is go to the Wine Detail page from your inventory, and using the pricing pop up, set where, and at what price, you want to sell your wine. Ultimately allowing you to widen your reach and number of potential customers.