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Winning SA Innovators

April 4 2016

South Australian startup Vinnovate, the makers of a revolutionary new bottle closure for wine, water and other beverage containers, has been recognised as one of the five best start up ideas in the Australian wine industry.

Brancott Estate and startup accelerator, BlueChilli, have partnered to search for innovations that can impact the global wine industry through the Winexplorer challenge.

The global wine industry is estimated to be worth $303 billion annually, with South Australia accounting for nearly $2 billion of that in 2014-15.

Vinnovate won out over more than 100 applicants to make the final five and is the only South Australian start up to make the final stages.

Vinnovate founders, Barossa Valley brothers Simon and Joshua Schmidt say they’re excited that major wine labels are taking notice of the trend towards consumer customisation.

“In other industries, being able to customise beverages is becoming an expectation among consumers and, we believe this trend can positively impact how people enjoy and consume wine,” Joshua Schmidt says.

“With Vinnovate, our innovative new closure adds a functional element to wine packaging, allowing the consumer to tailor their wine to their own personal tastes, whether that’s to reduce the effects of preservatives in wine or to subtly change the flavour.

“We believe consumers should have a choice, and that’s something that makes our product unique.”

The Vinnovate closure contains a small, push-activated compartment within the cap that allows consumers to tailor wines to their own tastes, on-demand.

Vinnovate was recently awarded seed funding through UniSA’s Venture Catalyst program and was a recipient of the South Australian Government Micro Finance Fund.

“It’s early days, but the companies and industry leaders we’ve been speaking to have been extremely positive about what we’re creating,” Mr Schmidt says.

Australia’s first Master of Wine, Phil Reedman MW, says the new closure is a breakthrough.

“Vinnovate’s name sums it up: innovation in wine,” Mr Reedman says.

“Wine can be a pretty staid business but their solution, which allows consumers option to reduce preservatives in their product, offers a breakthrough innovation.”

UniSA Vice Chancellor Professor David Lloyd says the Schmidt brothers are genuine innovative thinkers.

“They have taken their knowledge of the wine industry, looked at the market and thought ..what would be the next big thing to give customers some choices?” Prof Lloyd says.

“Then they have developed an innovation that not only solves a problem but that is truly elegant in its simplicity.

“This is the kind of grounded creativity that the state needs to drive new businesses and underpin new industries and we’ve been delighted to back them.”

As part of the WineExplorer challenge, Vinnovate will rely on the public to vote for their business. The online voting link is located at WineExplorer – Vinnovate.

Media contacts:

UniSA – Michèle Nardelli  mobile:  0418 823 673 email:

South Australian Government

University of South Australia