Two years ago, a young, heavily bearded entrepreneur named Steve Young created a Kickstarter campaign to promote his new invention, SYNEK: a craft beer dispensing system that filled the void in packaging between growlers and bottles. The idea resonated with the public: 2,191 backers pledged $648,535 to help bring the project to life. Encouraged by that success, Young is now developing a new product, called SOMM, for wine lovers. The Kickstarter campaign begins today.
SOMM is described as a "smart" wine dispenser that chills, aerates and learns your palate over time. People who pledge $199 ($100 off the retail price) over the next 33 days will get the product by November. So what exactly is it?
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SOMM looks like a kegerator for wines (see the video), but it's not really designed to house the wines you already like—though it can do that. It's actually two things: A wine storing/pouring machine and a dedicated app. The storing takes place in a proprietary container called a "Sylo," which holds the equivalent of three regular wine bottles. Consumers tell the app what kinds of wines they like and it learns preferences over time, putting together the right blends, vetted by sommeliers, for each palate (there will be 30 to start with). Where do these blends come from? According to Young, there are 250 wineries on board at this time, though he cannot name who they are. The system is similar to Club W, which creates "palate profiles" for customers.
Does the world need a wine machine that combines the convenience of pod-based coffee machines and the variety of an iPod shuffle? Apparently, yes: So far, 71 backers have pledged $59,086 of the $100,000 goal with 33 days to go. Not bad for day one.