In 1966, Robert Mondavi Winery's (RMW) first-growth vineyard was established at To Kalon, the heart of Napa Valley, to stand in the company of the world's finest wines. Its location in Oakville, California, is renowned for producing some of the finest Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc wines worldwide, including its crafted signature wine, Fume Blanc.
Fast forward over 50 years, RMW, now an established winemaker, sets to appeal to the next generation of wine connoisseurs looking to experience wine differently. They want to share the same spirit of the traditional brand with a modern approach. When a brand's value is highly attributed to its timelessness, it takes boldness to capture the attention of GenZ and Millenials.
In a valiant attempt to test brand engagement and customer loyalty, RMW explores web3. The roadmap was experimental, experiential, and highly innovative. In 2021, RMW approached us to explore the potential of web3 and NFTs to engage with a new generation of wine connoisseurs while maintaining the brand's traditional values.
The ask was to develop a modern and approachable experience for its customers while leveraging RMW's reputation. One of the key requirements was to integrate a blockchain solution seamlessly with RMW's current eCommerce platform, which was the Shopify Plus storefront. Fortunately, PERCS was able to efficiently develop the blockchain integration and use cases, in part because Shopify was also actively adopting web3 technology. Additionally, Shopify had existing application partners such as Stripe and Coinbase, which made it easier for brands like RMW to offer innovative ways to expand their product offerings or offer new consumer experiences. This decentralized connectivity allowed web2 brands to adapt to the rapidly evolving landscape of web3 technology and stay competitive in the market.
Web3 Strategy TLDR
After much planning and deliberation, RMW launched 1,966 NFT MCMLXVI Collection (note collection size in parallel to the established year) last December 2021. Robert Mondavi Winery has forged the first of its kind partnership with French luxury porcelain house Bernardaud to revolutionize the world of wine collecting and authentication: https://robertmondaviwinery.com/pages/nft
The NFT collection is an opportunity to own a piece of the history of the legendary vineyard brought to life in collaboration with three hand-crafted Limoges porcelain magnum wine vessels.
Launching with PERCS
We worked with RMW to develop a product delivery roadmap that included the following components:
- NFT Minting and Integration: A custom minting app by PERCS helped RMW to mint NFTs that could be sold on RMW's Shopify store. PERCS integrated the ability to sell NFTs to non-native web3 audiences using credit cards (Visa or Mastercard), Coinbase, or web3 connect.
- Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) Wallet Integration: PERCS integrated EVM wallets through a push of a button, making it easy for customers to use their preferred wallets.
- Unified Product Fulfillment: Developed a unified product fulfillment system that included the sale of both digital and physical products as a bundle, making it easy for customer checkout.
- NFT Utility: PERCS' Shopify Tokengating App was customized to suit RMW's NFT utility by tokengating exclusive bottles of wine. The utility was to provide an opportunity for customers to own a piece of the vineyard's history in collaboration with three hand-crafted Limoges porcelain wine vessels.
- In Real Life (IRL) Tokengating: The next phase of the roadmap was to enable IRL tokengating of exclusive library wine tasting and a tour of To Kalon Vineyard. This value was attached to the validation of NFT ownership and detaches flippers to those truly loyal to RMW.
The Head of Business Transformation for Constellation Brands, the parent company for RMW, shares the internal team's motivations,
“We came into this as a proof of concept that grew into a grand NFT launch with marketing and CPG. On the corporate side, we showed that we were able to execute and make it happen in a relatively short order of time. It’s a win on exposure for the Robert Mondavi brand. Financially, we certainly saw an uptick, and it was positive, with some learnings on marketing value perspective. When everything was ironed out, there was no comparison point in the market. You guys were the friendliest tech partner for any project and made this happen for being amazingly responsive.”- George Heltz, Sr. Director of Business Transformation
The investment in technology was positive, and the experiences were incremental. The launch in web3 felt inclusive to RMW's traditional clients while also appealing to a younger, tech-savvy audience. The use of NFTs created unique and valuable experiences for customers, and the NFT membership platform was successful in reaching Gen Z and Millennials. The investment garnered a net ROI, and most importantly, the well-defined roadmap achieved continued engagement of RMW's converted wine aficionado clientele. As one loyal RMW customer, David Matheney tweets:
"So excited, I will be bringing 12 frens for this epic adventure in 2022 or 2023. Can't wait to see and receive the bottles in September and know there will be amazing future utility as this will always be RMW's first NFT collection."- D8nger.eth NFT LA
The project required an army beyond the marketing team comprising legal, operations, and finance teams to ensure that the exploration into web3 was responsibly planned to protect the brand and its traditional clientele. Overall, the result was a successful integration of web3 technology and NFTs that allowed RMW to engage a new generation of wine connoisseurs while maintaining its reputation and values.
“This initiative was a lot of firsts. Introducing the concept of crypto/ NFTs and tying a physical wine bottle with an NFT was something new to the industry. There’s a theory that the wine would age better in the porcelain bottle, so we had some learnings on the logistics and fulfillment.”- Gautham Sunkara, Director, Product Engineering - Marketing & eCommerce
In serving the crypto community and wine enthusiasts, PERCS was proud to be part of this journey and looks forward to continuing to work with RMW to create innovative experiences for its customers.