Crurated: The Grapes Of Passion
Crurated, a new membership for the wine community, marries new technology with rare collectibles.
The scenario plays out at dinner parties the world over: the host brings to the table the wine they’ve chosen to serve with the main course, pours the glasses and sets this featured vintage on the table, then the dining begins. There may be a comment on the wine and how it so ideally complements the food, but, for the most part, the conversation moves along to the topic du jour. But, it seems, there is always the one couple who picks up the wine and closely examines the bottle, perhaps even entering some notes into their phones. Behold the wine connoisseurs.
Those eager to learn more about wine acquire rare vintages from the masters, adding to their collections and indulging in their passions for the care, dedication and skill required to grow and appreciate great wine.
It is for these connoisseurs that Crurated was created.
A welcoming online portal for tastemakers, Crurated, launched in May 2021, is a new membership-based wine community, giving wine lovers the opportunity to buy and bid on bottles hand-selected from the cellars of some of the most coveted producers in the world. Collectors and enthusiasts of all levels can come together to celebrate their passion and learn more about their favourite wines and regions through digital content and exclusive in-person wine experiences to connect them with the people behind the bottles they love.
Crurated is the brainchild of former professional Italian footballer Alfonso De Gaetano. When his career ended by injury, he entered the field of consulting and has spent the past decade at Google, where he is currently Director of Google Global Partnerships in Emerging Markets. It was in his professional business life where he discovered his passion for wine.
“In 2014, I went home to Italy over Christmas, and my good friend was a wine connoisseur. And he opened three bottles of fine wine, and it was a shocking experience — different than anything I’d tasted before,” says De Gaetano, in a recent interview with Dolce. “It was an incredible experience, and I started to go to some special places and meet producers and see the cellars. This triggered my idea to only work straight with producers and get the bottles directly from them. My friend is very knowledgeable, and, in fact, is now joining our team.”
While investigating his new passion brought pleasure to his palate, it also brought a level of frustration because of some of the roadblocks De Gaetano encountered.
“When I get into something, I really go indepth and read lots of books about different regions and was starting to build my cellar with wines from Europe and joining different clubs,” says De Gaetano. “But, I became really frustrated about the experience as someone who was just getting into wine, and Crurated came out of that frustration … frustration in not being able to access the best wines in the world. You could buy them, but never from producers and only in secondary markets at high prices, and producers weren’t able to access the new generation of wine lovers. And, where do you keep your bottles if you move or change careers, as moving wine affects its quality?”
Crurated brings a team of specialists to provide personalized services and authentic experiences, while the company’s seamless logistics services guarantee quality and provenance, thanks to secure storage. Crurated now offers three membership tiers with different monthly fees: Connoisseur, with curated mixed-case discovery and offers from top winemakers around the world; Collector, with unlimited storage, offers access to rare bottles and invitation-only events; and the top tier is Ambassador level, which includes all the other advantages, as well as first priority in lot allocations and exclusive events with producers.
“Trust is at the Core of what We do, and with Blockchain, we Can bring more Trust to our Offerings”
Its selections of bottles are unparalleled in that they are all hand-picked from the cellars directly from the producers, giving members the chance — and access — to purchase young and library vintages from sought-after wineries. Members also receive complimentary storage at Crurated’s professional, temperature- and humidity-controlled warehouse in Burgundy, France, guaranteeing that wines will arrive in the best condition when ready to serve.
Given his knowledge of technology from his current career at Google, De Gaetano has introduced a rare marriage of technology with the centuries-old tradition of winemaking in that every bottle features blockchain technology that tracks wine from the moment it leaves the domaine’s doors. This allows members to simply tap their phone on the bottle label for all the information, authenticity and history of the bottle, knowing that it came straight from the producer, with all its tracked movements, in a month, a year, or 10 years, when it is opened. This information may now dominate the conversation of any dinner party through the addition of technology to rare collectibles — a potential glimpse into the future.
“Trust is at the core of what we do,” says De Gaetano. “And with blockchain, we can bring more trust to our offerings and our industry around the world. If others follow our lead, perhaps in 20 years, we’ll have fewer fake bottles, and this would benefit everyone, including clients and producers, in the system.”
There has never been a wine lover who hasn’t picked up a bottle and imagined themselves part of the process: the planting, the tending of the vines and grapes under the warmth of the sun, the harvesting, the barrelling and fermenting, and, finally, the release of the nectar when absolutely ready. Crurated puts members in the vineyards with the masters, first in line to savour the care, passion and dedication that goes into every bottle of the world’s finest wines.
Interview by Estelle Zentil