Lot18, Backed by NY and Silicon Valley VCs, Creates Exclusive Wine Club

8/1/11Follow @jpruth

Wine aficionados can be rather choosy about what they will imbibe. The casual drinker may simply pair any red wine with steak, but New York’s Lot18 wants to serve those with highly discerning tastes.

Lot18 is a members-only website that sells wine and gourmet food products that are available in limited supply. Though the website might not sell Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon—which typically costs several thousand dollars per bottle—it does offer wines from fellow California winery Jonata, which is hard to find in stores. “[Jonata] is not a $1,000 wine, but it’s a $100 wine,” says Lot18′s Philip James.

One-year-old Lot18, co-founded by James and Kevin Fortuna, has more than 400,000 registered consumers all eager to satisfy their cravings for unique vino and repasts. James says Lot18 lists select wines from small wineries, as well as large producers such as Robert Mondavi Wines. “Maybe it’s a prized vintage, a special blend, or an incredibly high-scoring wine,” he says. “We don’t have 2,000 products on the site; we have five to 10 [at a time].”

Lot18 has been quick to find financial backers. The company has already raised $13 million in funding—including $10 million in April—and as of March was generating more than $1 million in average monthly sales. (James declined to offer more current sales stats.) Investors in Lot18 include … Next Page »

João-Pierre S. Ruth is the editor of Xconomy New York. He can be reached at jpruth@xconomy.com and followed on Twitter @jpruth. Follow @jpruth

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