How it works: Selling wine on Libre.vin

Libre.vin is not a traditional wine importer. We are not a completely open marketplace either. We are a hybrid trying to extract the best from both models. We are not your customer, we are your collaborator. Our goals are aligned and set at creating a friction-free line between you and your fans.

What we offer

Empowerment

Our model is tailor-made for the true, independent winegrower. We help you build and serve your own audience of many small customers instead of relying on a few big ones. We believe that your fans belong to you. By connecting you to your fans we empower you to serve them better, while reducing your long term risk.

Logistics

When it comes to the logistics of bring your wines to your audience we act completely as a traditional wine importer. This includes arranging shipping, handling, storing and delivering. It also means paying excise duties, order handling and processing payments.

In addition, you get your own web page and shop on our platform.

Awareness and community

We are actively building a community around you, your fellow winegrowers and your wines. Online this happens primarily through our email list and Instagram. Offline our work include maintaining openings hours at our Copenhagen based warehouse “Collective NG23“, public and private tastings, the annual Vild Vin Festival, restaurant visits (by demand) and who knows… wine travels. We always aim to organize our actions so that you get the opportunity to take an active part.

Independence (both ways)

Libre.vin offers independence. Although we are technically your Danish importer, we are not married to each other. If it helps you working with other Danish distributors besides us we will support you 100 %. But independence also works the other way, and we are not obligated to buy your wines if our collaborative efforts do not work as effectively as expected. You get paid when your wines are sold.

A larger slice of the pie

Our model aims to optimize the life of consumers and winegrowers. We are thrilled to help both sides anytime we can add value. The rest of the time we stay out of the way. This makes our model very lightweight, and it allows us to set our commission low. This, in turn, gives you a larger slice of the pie while offering consumers and professionals unbeatable prices.

WHAT IS LIBRE.VIN?

We want to see you shine. We want to see you build a business that is every bit as sustainable as your farming. And we only want to invite middlemen if they add real value between you and the consumer. We believe that this is the best way to spread the fruits of your generous work.

We connect small scale natural winegrowers with Danish consumers and professionals. Our Copenhagen based warehouse acts as your remote Danish storage. The online platform gathers all the wines on a shared marketplace, but each winegrower also get their own web page and shop. We handle all the administrative tasks fast and efficiently. The rest of our energy is spent developing the platform and growing a community around winegrowers, consumers and professionals.

We are looking for small scale winegrowers who work organically in the vineyard and naturally in the winery. We are not fanatics, but we demand full disclosure on your winemaking practices. You are not the type who hide behind exclusivity deals and other small monopolies. You appreciate the value in connecting directly with your fans. You believe in independence as the best investment for the future.

We invite you to apply for Libre.vin. After having your application accepted you finish the registration process. We are glad to help you decide which wines and how many bottles you should send. Once you’ve packed the wines, we take over. When your wines have arrived we add them to our online marketplace, announce their arrival and start working with them towards Danish consumers and professionals. Once you make a sale, your share is automatically added to your Stripe Connect balance, which is transferred to your bank account in the frequency of your choice.

  • The joy of buying sustainable products directly from the producer.
  • New inspiring friendships, and a great story to tell their friends.
  • Savings compared to more “heavyweight” businesses.

Our pricing model is very simple. For each sale of a regular 75 cl bottle we will keep:

15 % + €2 (+ shipping costs)

Our commission is used like this:

€2 to cover the costs of excise duties, credit card fixed fee, bottle recycling tax, storage, insurance and handling.

3 % to cover variable credit card and bank fees.

12 % to run, develop, promote and grow the platform

Shipping is initially paid by us. We then divide the shipping cost into a fixed amount per bottle and add that to the fixed commission above (so if you ship 500 bottles at the cost of €200 we will add €0.4 to our commission of each bottle sold).

For magnum (150 cl) bottles the fixed commission is €3.17 instead of €2. The extra €1.17 cover the increased excise duties. Likewise, for bottles smaller than 75 cl the fixed cost is less than €2.

My name is Joachim Niclasen. I have worked with wine since 2007 when I got a job in a local wine bar. I was soon managing the place, and I stayed there while I finished my studies at the IT University in Copenhagen.

In 2011 I handed in my thesis about new web-based business models in the wine industry. I immediately began putting the theory into action and created what I called Vinkollektivet (The Wine Collective), an online platform and offline community among small Danish wine importers. That was fun!

In 2014 I started the to import wine myself. I called my company Vinhacker (Wine Hacker) and tried to live up to the cheeky name by turning things (price structures, communication strategies and preferred segments) upside-down. This was also the time I really fell in love with natural wine.

In 2018 I launched a natural wine subscription called Kaoskassen. 2018 was also the year that I hooked up with my business partner, Troels.

In 2019 I took the first baby steps towards learning to grow and make wine myself, when I co-created and joined a 18-month course in collaboration with Danish natural wine producer, Garbolund.

The idea for Libre.vin has lived inside my head for years, and it doesn’t seem to go away. So here I am trying to do what most people probably find naive and impossible: Creating a place for winegrowers to connect directly with their fans, making a better life for themselves and their fans along the way.

GETTING STARTED

We recommend starting with somewhere between 300 and 600 bottles for your first shipment. If you provide us with a little info of your wines and its prices we’ll be glad to help you determine the number of bottles for your first shipment.

Please see our step-by-step guide to registration.

If you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

A realistic estimate is 1-3 hours.

To get started you need to follow these four steps. You should be able to complete step 1,2 & 4 within 1-2 hours. Step 3 (registering wines) depends on how many wines you want on the marketplace and how well documented the details of the production are. It usually takes 10-20 minutes per wine.

RISKS & BENEFITS

Minimize risk by connecting directly to many customers instead of relying on one big customer.

Earn more per bottle while offering your customers better prices.

Take control of which wines and the number of bottles to ship, when it suits you.

We know this may sound counter-intuitive. After all, you send your wines all the way to Denmark without knowing when you will receive your payment. So yes, there is a short-term risk.

But think about the long term. Would you rather have one big customer or many smaller customers?

When you are dropped by your one big customer, you have to start all over. But if you deal directly with restaurants and consumers, you are much less sensitive to getting dropped by a customer. For longer you work independently, the more robust you get.

But it requires long-term thinking.

That is a very valid concern, and it’s the reason why we are not in a hurry to bring in thousands of wines at a time. If your wines just don’t sell, we can send them back to you at your own expense. Or we can try to work out a deal (via a simple legal document) that will make everyone satisfied. But let’s hope that will never be the case.

Yes.

We are taking full responsibility of your wines while they are in our possession. Actually, since we are formally buying your wines (though under special terms) it makes perfect sense that you don’t have to worry about the safety of the bottles.

SALES & MARKETING

Here is how we will actively help selling your wines.

Email
We are constantly building our email list. Here we present new winegrowers and arrivals, and we update our audience on events. Subscribers are able to select the winegrowers they want to hear from, and we encourage all winegrowers to send a message to their followers every time new wines arrive in Copenhagen.

Vinhacker
Vinhacker is our traditional wine import. Besides our connections to restaurants and wine bars across Copenhagen we have loyal group of email subscribers who follow the advise given by Joachim and his personal taste in wine. If Joachim likes a wine of yours, you can be sure his followers will know about it. If a restaurant does not want to pay up-front in the webshop, they can instead buy the wines from Vinhacker with a 15 days credit. We will add 10 % to the Libre.vin price.

Collective NG23
We share our 150 m2 warehouse in central Copenhagen with a couple of like-minded wine importers. We have named the place Collective NG23. Together we maintain weekly opening hours and host private tastings, pro-tastings and public events.

Restaurant visits
We are happy to bring samples to restaurants and wine bars, and we don’t mind spending time with good people who want to spend time with us.


Here is how we will actively help creating awareness of your wines.

Instagram
Libre.vin is our official account. Our company has separate accounts for all of our activities, so you can also expect content from joachim_le_vinhacker, kaoskassen and collective_ng23. But of course, the true value of Instagram is its ability to let people tell meaningful stories. If we deliver the goods, perhaps people will tell stories about us.

Vild Vin Festival
Once a year we are co-hosting the Vild Vin Festival, an annual celebration of real wine in Copenhagen. And a growing success. We have a lot of event experience in our team, and we are eager to put it to work. As a part of Libre.vin you are invited to attend free of charge.


A couple of notes…

Network effects and growth
As the platform grows bigger it’s value for everyone involved will increase. When consumers and restaurants buy more wine, more winegrowers will want to join. Making more wine available. And so on, and so on. Easier said than done, but it’s important to know that philosophy: We want to be more useful as we grow, not the other way around. Our goal is to be useful and solve problems, and we see no point in growing for the sake of growth alone.

Other ideas…?
Imagine an online forum where people could learn about wine (regions, growing techniques, production methods, grape varieties) by engaging directly with growers. Or what about a Wiki on (real) wine? We would definitely like to organize wine trips across Europe. Also, creating an ambassador program for your biggest fans in different locations has been an idea for a long time. Got an idea? Let us know!

There are three ways for potential customers to sample your wines.

  1. During our warehouse’ opening hours we offer consumers and professionals to drop by to taste almost any wine they want (we use a Coravin).
  2. Professionals (with a PRO account) can buy samples cheaply and get them delivered for free inside Copenhagen.
  3. If you insist on giving away free samples (e.g., for reviewers) we will figure that out too.

PRICE STRUCTURE

We set the price together, and we do like this:

1. You set your minimum price (typically equal to your export price).

2. We put your minimum price into a magic spreadsheet that takes into account our commission, shipping costs and quantity discounts. Out comes your selling price at total purchases of 1, 6, 12 and 24 bottles respectively.

3. PRO accounts get further discounts (30 %), but only if you allow them to. No matter what, you always receive your indicated minimum price.

When you register information for each wine, we ask you to indicate a minimum price. This is the minimum amount you expect to receive per bottle of the wine.

You decide the minimum price.

We do, however, recommend that you start by setting your minimum price equal to your normal export price. In that way you are sure to receive at least what you are used to.

But remember, the minimum price is exactly that, a minimum price you receive. Given the price structure of the marketplace your average price per bottle is very likely to be higher.

The prices on Libre.vin reflect our lightweight approach, and we have purposely created a structure that benefits curiosity more than anything.

  1. Base price = just like at home
    The ‘base price’ (for one single bottle) is more than competitive with the rest of the Danish wine market. Actually, we aim to compete with the retail prices in your home country.
  2. Rewards for quantities
    We reward our customers for buying larger quantities by giving discounts of 10%, 15% and 20% for orders of 6, 12 and 24 bottles respectively.
  3. Rewards for curiosity
    We reward curiosity by applying the quantity discounts across all wines on the marketplace.

No. The structure of the quantity discounts is fixed and cannot be changed.

Why?

In order to give your customers the chance to apply the quantity discounts across all wines on the marketplace, we need to keep the same structure for everyone.

PAYMENT FLOWS

Here is every step of your money’s journey from the customer to your bank account.

  1. The full amount is deducted from the customer’s credit/debit card.
  2. Your share enters your Stripe account immediately (in rare cases it takes 2-3 days).
  3. Depending of the payout frequency you’ve chosen, the money will be transferred weekly or monthly to your bank account. It usually takes 3 bank days for the money to arrive.

You get paid when the wines are sold through Libre.vin.

After receiving an order, the money is automatically split between you and us. Your share in transferred directly to your Stripe balance, which is paid out to your bank account in your desired frequency, typically weekly or monthly.

You are always welcome to request a manual payout, which is just a click away.

SHIPPING

Initially we pay for shipping the wines to Denmark. We then distribute the shipping cost on each bottle of the shipment and add the amount to the fixed part of our commission.

We arrange everything related to shipping just like at traditional wine import.

Note: Paying the initial shipping costs (along with the excise duties) is our way of putting “skin in the game”. We show you that we are ready to share the risk with you.

WINE INFO

Quite a lot actually. All wine info is supplied through a Google Form. You are welcome to register a test wine in order to see the extent of the info we ask for.

Different people consume information in different ways. The level of details may be more than enough for the novice consumer, but for the professional who aims to communicate the qualities of the wine precisely every information counts. In addition, it’s a strong signal to send that you are not afraid to show complete transparency.

LEGAL STUFF

Yes. That is certainly possible.

We have formed a legal document summarizing the agreement between winegrower and Libre.vin describing the possible outcomes if things don’t go as planned.

Some want everything written down in details, some want to keep it more simple. We have space for both.

If you need a fixed payment date on your invoice to us we will not be able to guarantee a place on Libre.vin. We may, however, decide to put the fixed payment date in the legal document between us if we are convinced about the popularity of your wines.

OTHER COMMON QUESTIONS

Yes and no.

Formally we act as your importer. We make sure the excise duties are paid, and we handle the shipping, handling, storing and physical distribution of the wines. This is part of our service.

But rather than a traditional wine importer, you should consider us your collaborator. A partner with all the tools you need to connect with your Danish audience.

No. Basic customer service is our job (and it’s a task we take very seriously).

But if customers have questions about you and your wines we encourage both customers and you to get in touch.

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