Interview with Tim O’Connell-Founder Designwine.com

This morning I conducted a phone interview with Timothy O’Connell, who is the CEO and founder of Designwine.com. He is an American born in Chicago. He has been living in Italy for 15 years working for a variety of Italian companies. Now his main focus is Designwine.com. He started this company because he had many partners and colleagues that were designers and had an impact design industry. In addition these individuals were and are very passionate about wine and they wanted to integrate the two.


When asked how he will measure the success of his business, Mr. O’Connell replied, obviously the success of any business is somewhat determined by sales, but we are also looking for exposure. We want to be respected in the game of the wine industry and we greatly feel that we are already achieving this. We want to be as a well-known, prestigious firm that wine producers would like to partner with.

I asked Tim what other marketing tools he uses to promote his wine and he said Design wine not only has their own website Designwine.com but they are also present on

Facebook:

as well as Twitter: http://twitter.com/Design_Wine

He also commented that Design wine also participates in many offline events. DesignWine’s World Premiere was during Salone Internazionale del Mobile from April 13 to 16th in Zona Tortona, at Fuorisalone Officine Firentini. Over 1,000 people a day, including famous Designers such as Philippe Starck, enjoyed a glass of wine and toasted this newly-born adventure. Mr. O’Connell believed it was a great way to kick off Europe’s premium online wine boutique in style.

When I first found out about your site, it said Designwine was looking for international wines, now on the about page it is written only Italian wines. why did it change?

He commented that he changed because they first would like to establish credibility and dominate the market in Italy and then expand internationally. The site is both in Italian and in English so international consumers can buy wine. However, international producers do now have the chance yet to advertise their wine. Mr. O’Connell commented that he has a lot of contacts in other countries and are completely anticipating penetrating the international market in future years. He also commented that he considers small producers that do not have a lot of visibility but have a specialty product and Designwine  is here to help them become recognized.

When asked how does he justify that he is providing his customers with exclusive wine, he said to justify it is very hard but he does ensure that he is always trying to provide exclusivity to his customers. For example with the Brunello wine in South Tyrol he went there interviewed journalists and wine experts to find out which ones are considered the best. He also said that the wine selection process is very selective. He said there could be 5,000 great wines but his job is to choose the best.

When asked where he finds his suppliers he said to call or email us at sales@designwine.com. We will be happy to schedule a meeting in your Showroom or at the DesignWine headquarters and discuss the commercial opportunities, present you our innovative business model and the terms of our partnership. DesignWine is a premium brand and the development strategy on the market follows very closely. Therefore any cooperation in line with our positioning is very welcome.

But also he said that they use professionals and journalists who know that particular area so they know the best wines. He said when they deceide to do an area/region of Italy they will select as many as 60 vineyards and will narrow it down to about 6 wines. He said it is of course a very competitive and complex process and they execute also bind tasting process.

I also commented that if I was a wine producer or knew a wine producer and wanted to be selected by Designwine what should I do. He said that they would not pick a person right on the spot. Anyone would need to propose their interest in being apart of Designwine and contact the company via email or phone. Designwine would then invite the producer to set up his wines and then they would evaluate his wine as well as the wine in the entire region .

designwine Headquarters
Via Roberto Ruffilli, n. 18/20
47030 San Mauro Pascoli (FC), Italia

Tel. +39 0541 810231
Fax +39 0541 1641060

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