Chicago-based startup Uncorkd is focusing on make wine more accessible to the average diner with a unique iPad app service. Uncorkd provides restaurants with an interactive wine list that diners can easily peruse to see images, descriptions, and even recommendations about what kind of wine would go best with the meal they’re ordering.
The company is aiming to solve the problem of the often-overwhelmed diner looking for the right bottle of wine for their taste and price range. “Uncorkd is really about demystifying wine for consumers and helping restaurants educate their customers,” wrote Josh Saunders, founder and CEO of Ideavation, the company behind Uncorkd. “Our guiding principle is to do this in a simple and non-intimidating way regardless of people’s experience level with technology.”
Saunders launched Uncorkd last year, and currently has the company headquartered in Chicago’s new 1871 startup incubator. The University of Wisconsin – Madison graduate began the company based on the principal that wine should be enjoyable, not intimidating.
“I enjoy drinking wine, but am by no means an expert,” Saunders said, explaining that he came across the idea when dining at a restaurant that used iPads for menus. “I did some research and found that restaurants were seeing a significant increase in sales as a result, but the product was really only available for celebrity chefs with tens of thousands of dollars to invest.”
The founder wanted to change that by creating a much more affordable software-as-a-service platform, which could be provided to restaurants for a monthly subscription. Uncorkd gives restaurants the power to update and customize the menu at any time, and even brand it as their own.
Saunders’ idea has been appealing enough to land Uncorkd in country clubs, casinos, restaurant chains like Ruby Tuesdays, and even a selection of Four Seasons hotels. The founder said Uncorkd will be expanding to even more well-known restaurants within the next few months. “We are presently raising funding for a seed round to support our growth,” said Saunders.
Though he doesn’t consider himself a connoisseur, the founder still has a fine taste when it comes to his personal favorite wine, Brunello. “My wife and I actually brought back 20 bottles in our suitcases last year from Italy on our honeymoon,” he wrote, clarifying that he saves the Tuscany red wine exclusively for special occasions.