Category Archives: startups

A barrel in your living room – a new kind of wine club

I’ve been following Green Barrel for quite a while now and love the look and feel of the wooden barrels. They’re a great fit for corporate events as well as weddings. Most recently (based on popular demand) Green Barrel has been toying with the idea of offering a consumer product and I’ve been lucky enough to be able to test a barrel in my living room for the last 4 weeks.

Update July 26, 2012: Green Barrel is currently raising money on Kickstarter to make this a reality for everyone. Check it out!

Quality of the wine

Green Barrel has a good selection of boutique wines form Northern California. I’m currently drinking a Napa valley Meritage from JT wines but also had an opportunity to try their Merlot as well as the Syrah blend. I’m impressed with all of them but specifically like the Meritage and have received positive feedback from everyone that tried it.

How long does the wine stay fresh? Issues with oxidation?

I do enjoy a glass of wine in the evening but I never finish a bottle. And it just doesn’t taste the same the next day — even if you vacuum pump it. Therefore I was very excited about their claim that it stays fresh for 4 weeks or more. The Meritage has now been open for 4 weeks and it still tastes great. The taste may have evolved a bit over time but I can’t detect any oxidation.

Packaging and handling of the barrel

The barrel fits perfectly into my wine rack and gives it a unique look. It loads in the front and hooking up the refill pack was straightforward. Replacing the eco-pack shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes.

I’ve made sure the barrel doesn’t get direct sunlight and the room doesn’t get too warm during the day. Without built-in cooling system it’s not suitable for white wine yet.

I haven’t had any issues with the barrel setup. At times there is a residual drop at the spigot after dispensing a glass that needs to be caught.

Summary

The barrel looks great and works well. I love the idea of turning this into a wine club where I can discover a new, high quality wine from NorCal each month — delivered straight to my door. I probably won’t be giving up on bottles anytime soon but having wine on tap is a great and unique addition!

I need to host a cheese and wine party soon…

Friends with start-ups

I’m happy to report that the three start-ups mentioned in my last post a year ago are doing great. I’ve been to several shows at the Kinetic Arts Center and have been impressed by the performances. Unbelievable what these kids can do, be it on trapeze, aerial tissue or on the ground. BeeBliss has extended the number of brands carried and offers quality Yoga clothing for any taste. And Loggly has received funding and is running a successful beta of log management in the cloud.

I’m always inspired to witness friends launching start-ups and I’m very excited to add another one to the list: Green Barrel. Local wines distributed in barrels as eco-friendly, sustainable packaging. Coming soon to a bar in SF.

Kickstarter is a great idea to find crowd-sourced funding. You define a target amount and have a limited amount of time to achieve it. You only get the money if you reach the target. You’re responsible for promoting your project but Kickstarter provides a great platform with an active community. Instead of getting lots of money from one investor (and giving up parts of your company) you get small amounts from a large number of contributers (and keep control of your company).

It’s about time I get going on my own start-up…

3 startups to check out

I’ve been very impressed with 3 friends of mine that have been working really hard to launch their own business in the second half of 2009. They’re all based in San Francisco/Bay area. Go check them out:

This contrasts pretty nicely with me feeling stuck at work currently. I feel like I’m not creating enough output. This is partially my own responsibility but also due to a recent reorg that has people waiting to see how things shake out. Also things are just slower as we’re approaching the end of the year. But I’m taking it personally.