With more than 400 wineries, planning a trip to Napa Valley can be a daunting task. Tech entrepreneur Greg McBeth hopes to change that with his new company, Melier.
Melier curates wine country experiences.
When Greg McBeth relocated to Napa Valley at the start of lockdown, he didn’t know the move would propel him to launch a business that swirled in his head for months. While touring a property owned by Dan Zepponi, the CEO of Cuvaison Winery, McBeth and Zepponi started talking. Like many Bay Area residents, McBeth enjoyed frequent visits to wine country, but what he loved most was discovering smaller producers, interacting with winemakers and experiencing wineries in unexpected ways. If this is what he craved, wouldn’t other consumers be interested too?
Dan Zepponi, Cuvaison
The timing couldn’t have been better—as everything in the world closed down, winery owners had to reconsider their sales approach. After many meetings, Melier (pronounced mel-lee-eh) was born. “Our goal is to make Melier an end-to-end experiential platform, where people access amazing wines, vintners and stories no matter where they are,” McBeth explains.
What’s different about Melier is that it’s not only serving consumers but also the wineries. “We work with wine partners who are excited about creating content and hosting events,” says McBeth, who considers Melier a matchmaker between lesser-known producers and vinophiles. The brand has 25 winery partners, including Mathew Bruno, Goosecross Cellars and Priest Ranch Wines. All are independently or family-run operations that make smaller quantities of wine with limited distribution. Their bottles are sold directly to consumers via Melier’s website and as a part of the wine club. Wineries can participate in Melier’s private and public events, even virtual ones.
Greg McBeth relocated to Napa Valley and created Melier.
Melier will plan Napa excursions or VIP client events by directing visitors to wineries that fit their tastes, be it a fantastic rosé or an impossible-to-get cabernet sauvignon. Melier also hosts private tastings anywhere—at a winery, in a Vegas hotel room or a backyard—curating on-demand experiences.
Then, there’s the wine club. “You get access to all these different wines, and it includes wine shipments and a personal wine adviser for recommendations and trip planning,” says McBeth. Memberships are $600 per year and feature invitations to private tastings, discounts on select bottles and access to exclusive events that skew on the unusual side. Melier’s first event was a wine and yoga class, and the team has even planned a Los Angeles wine and comedy night with Cedric the Entertainer and Smith Devereux Wines.
McBeth acknowledges he’s not re-creating the wheel, but hopes his tech company will benefit the wine world. “Wine membership isn’t a new concept, but the idea of getting a wine shipment is no longer sufficient—consumers can get wine anywhere,” he says. “There’s a question of, ‘What else is there? How do I reap the benefits of being tied to and more loyal to this brand?’” The answer? Melier.
Photography by: FROM TOP: PHOTO BY KELSEY KNIGHT/UNSPLASH; PHOTOS COURTESY OF MELIER