• Entrepreneurship at UBC

e@UBC x e@UBCO Venture Spotlight: TasteAdvisor

Updated: Aug 26, 2020

Onboarding an industry through technology to elevate the future of wine.

TasteAdvisor is taking the guesswork out of buying wine. Founded by Alyssa Farr and Linsey Reimer, TasteAdvisor’s technology platform uses predictive algorithms to match user preferences to wine to provide answers to the measure that matters most: personal taste.

How TasteAdvisor did it

Living in a wine region is a unique experience, unparalleled to any other agricultural area as the industry acts as both a cultural and economic driver for the Okanagan. Alyssa shares "you can’t put wine anywhere - it is associated with the land".

With a penchant for solving systems problems, Alyssa was struck by the distinct lack of coordination between wine industry stakeholders (i.e. wineries, tourism and retailers). She wanted to change the ways regions operated to be more sophisticated and integrated, cultivating a stakeholder perspective that goes beyond the bottle to encompass the entire wine ecosystem from creation to consumer.

For a year, Alyssa researched the market, talking with wine owners and lovers alike to find out what core problems existed to build a solution that could be effective across user groups. Soon, she met Linsey, who, with extensive branding and communications experience, worked to wireframe their prototype to build a scalable venture that could transform an industry.

With over 350 wines and 3000 vintages of wine per year in the Okanagan alone, it is exceptionally hard for consumers to navigate wine in a personal way… particularly with the added layer of suiting user taste buds. With no regional wine databases existing, TasteAdvisor built their TasteMatch algorithm which matches a consumer’s individual taste, price point and location preferences of wine with an accuracy of greater than 80%.

TasteAdvisor integrates all aspects of their ecosystem in their product, licensing their platform to tourism agencies like Wines of BC and retailers to help wine regions, tourism regions and alcohol retailers provide customers a better experience to explore with enthusiasm, buy with confidence and become loyal brand ambassadors. Simultaneously, they are amassing a huge amount of information on consumer preferences, creating an inventory of data for winemakers as an opportunity to draw from down the line.

As part of entrepreneurship@UBCO, Alyssa and Linsey worked closely with Managing Director, Camille Saltman, who leveraged her connections across industries to further TasteAdvisor’s venture opportunity in their early stages. In the midst of COVID19, the team has been able to jump on the world’s shift to digital, using their platform to onboard an industry through technology to elevate the future of wine.

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