Bonnier Finance’s O Vinu grows community, revenue with wine product

By Jodie Hopperton


Los Angeles, California, United States


Did you know that there are over 3,000 winemakers in Slovenia? Me neither. Although I do know they make great whites.

I spoke with Bonnier Slovenia’s Alenka Susnik, who has been managing their wine offering. Also, here are five learnings I’ve gleaned from Bonnier and other media companies delving into wine as a product.

Just after the first COVID lockdown,, a leading B2B title in Slovenia, started a wine club. They were solving two problems:

  1. During lockdown, their readers could not access premium wines that were not sold in traditional retail. 

  2. Premium wineries that did not have traditional retail suddenly had problems reaching their customers. 

They already had wine content for their brand. Originally a column that had six years earlier been turned into its own Web site, O Vinu, with robust content from hundreds of wine tastings each year. 

The O Vinu wine club targets the middle market in Slovenia.
The O Vinu wine club targets the middle market in Slovenia.

After consideration, they aimed it at the middle market — those with some experience of wine, such as how to store and service, but not necessarily high end. 

The wine club charges an annual fee, which gets members the following:

  • Twice per year (in spring and December) they receive a case of six wines selected by their wine experts. These are usually diverse picks, including one big name, one natural wine, and one rising star.  

  • Each case comes with a booklet with information and advice on wine pairings.

  • Invitations to exclusive events.

  • Discounts with partners, such as a wine school and a wine travel agency. 

Since COVID events have been a huge hit, now they are building this out with more and more traditional events. Wine pairing dinners with Michelin star chefs have been sold out exclusively through the club. Marketing is solely through the club itself and the parent title, 

This wine club product has been a success in its own right. It still has its challenges, such as fulfilment (currently done in-house), but is a profitable business that is popular amongst its customers and partners alike. They are also finding novel ways to develop. 

One issue that they, and other wine clubs I have spoken to, have found is that the membership tends to skew older. They are taking a leaf out of the social media influencer playbook and this year will be working with young Slovenian sommeliers to pick their own wines, which will be sold to both audiences. Alenka recognises that motivations will be different and they may need to tweak the product, but the team will be testing different things.  

They have also found additional routes for engagement and revenue, such as offering free events sponsored by a partner. The example Alenka gave me was a wine glass manufacturer. 

What I love about this model is that what started as a community-driven effort to help local wine makers has turned into an exclusive club that people want to be a part of. This product is now a profitable business in itself with several revenue lines as well as an engagement tool for

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About Jodie Hopperton

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