The Spotlight: How is the Business of Winemaking Changing?
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The Spotlight: How is the Business of Winemaking Changing?

As part of Travel + Leisure's new technology and innovations vertical, The Grid, we're rolling out a video series all about the ideas, products, and people shaping the future of travel. Next up: Entrepreneur Philip James on the future of winemaking.

“Great wine is made in the vineyard and in the winery,” insists wine entrepreneur Philip James. But until just recently, it was extremely difficult for boutique wineries to deliver their goods to oenophiles.

In 2005, a Supreme Court decision made it way easier for wineries to ship directly to consumers and retailers in other states. That made wine from California, for example, way more available to the majority of the union.

But that was 11 years ago. The next logical step for modern winemaking? Enter: Penrose Hill, a wine-commerce site that cuts out the middle men between wine producers and their consumers. James is the company's founder and CEO.

What's more, James runs a program called Firstleaf (a partnership with Time Inc. and Penrose Hill), an innovative wine club that uses an algorithm comparable to that used by music streaming site Pandora to offer personalized wine recommendations at an impressive price.

After all, wine is an integral part of cultures across the globe, from Austria’s Wachau region to the Cape Winelands in South Africa and even the unsung wine state of Virginia. In fact, there’s an entire branch of tourism, vinitourism, devoted to tasting the finest vintages.

But it’s not always feasible to fly to Mendoza to sample a selection of Malbecs. Just like a staycation—or even a virtual reality trip to Machu Picchu—sometimes you’d like the exploration to come to your door.

For more on how the winemaking business is changing, check out the video, above.

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