Start-up of the month, MADIVIN

EM Lyon BS incubator, January 16, 2023
MADIVIN, founded in 2020 by Thomas Gautier, aims to highlight on each bottle of wine it sells, the winemaker with whom the company collaborates to create its own cuvée. The start-up’s slogan says it all: “Behind each of our wines, there’s someone”. Currently supported by the Mentorat program at the emlyon business school incubator, Thomas tells us more about his project.
MADIVIN is a collaborative wine brand: the start-up works directly with winemakers to create its own cuvées. What makes it special: “For us, it’s the winemakers who deserve to be highlighted more than the appellations. On each bottle, it’s the winemakers that we illustrate and display for all to see. The faces of the winemakers can be found on each bottle, along with a QR Code giving access to the history of the place and the person.
MADIVIN currently works with 6 winemakers in the Rhône Valley, Burgundy, Provence and the Loire. The range is expanding, with a 7th and 8th wine in the pipeline. One of the start-up’s strengths is its ability to make wines anywhere in France.
The wines are sold in over 250 outlets in France, Belgium and Ireland, mainly wine shops, hotels and restaurants.
MADIVIN – A wine distribution company like no other
Thomas Gautier, after working for several years in the world of mass retailing, and more specifically in the world of brands, wanted to embark on an entrepreneurial adventure. “Part of my family works in wine, and I’ve always found it an attractive and rich product”. So he decided to launch his own wine distribution company: MADIVIN. MA-DI-VIN: MAison de DIstribution de VIN.
As he developed his business, he made several key observations: “We’re living in an age when people need meaning. They attach a great deal of interest and importance to the history and provenance of the products they buy”. Thomas also realizes that many wine consumers don’t really know much about the different appellations, grape varieties, terroirs, and the wine-making process.
The many encounters he’s had with winemakers have had a profound effect on him: “Every time I’ve met a winemaker, I’ve found it great. I was struck by each of their stories. That’s when I asked myself if there wasn’t another story to tell about wine. Why not that of the winemakers?
It was at this point that Thomas decided to take his project to the next level, highlighting on each bottle the winemakers with whom he had collaborated to create special cuvées.
The making of a MADIVIN wine
For MADIVIN to work with a winemaker, he or she must meet precise specifications:
Organic certification: all MADIVIN wines are organic.
The winemaker must accept a collaborative approach: create a wine together, and give MADIVIN the right to use his image on the bottles.
The winery must be large enough not to be too subject to bad weather, and to need to work with additional markets like MADIVIN.
The wine must be good: the start-up works with a broker, 2 sommeliers and 2 oenologists to analyze the estate’s wine (tasting and technical aspects).
If the partnership bears fruit, they can then develop their cuvée in close collaboration. Once the cuvée has been defined, it will be harvested and transported to Liergues for the final stage: bottling. “The wines are filtered and worked on to make them as beautiful as possible, as perfect as possible for sale”.
The wines are then sold in 250 points of sale. MADIVIN frequently organizes tastings for its customers, in order to maintain good relations with them and train them in the specifics of the products.
MADIVIN – Projects
After just over 2 years in business, MADIVIN has set itself some ambitious goals:
International development: the start-up already sells its products in a number of boutiques in Belgium and Ireland. It hopes to further develop this strategic axis.
Volume market: MADIVIN wants to work with franchised winery networks, hotel groups and restaurants to gain market share.
Consuming differently: MADIVIN is very aware of the way wine is consumed today: “Consumers buy their wine at the wine shop, in the supermarket or in a restaurant. But there are plenty of other times and places when they might fancy a glass of wine. MADIVIN could stand out again”.