Or am I?
SommSelect is the brainchild of Brandon Carneiro, a Sonoma State graduate. His clever idea is to help every home have 24/7 access to a sommelier. Sommselect.com offers a daily pick by master sommelier Ian Cauble and his wine team, with free tasting notes and an offer to buy the wine right from the website.
Carneiro and Cauble met in 1999 at Sonoma State University and became fast friends. After graduating from SSU, the duo met up again only to find each bewitched by the world of wine. Once Carneiro had his MBA and Cauble had his Master Sommelier credential, they launched SommSelect in 2014.
What follows is a Q&A with Carneiro to get a behind-the-scenes peek at SommSelect.
Q: How did you come up with the idea for SommSelect?
A: “The genesis of SommSelect came to me while attending business school at Sonoma State University. There were a lot of emerging companies in the “daily deal” wine space. It occurred to me that most of them were deeply discounting wines and there could be room for a company that could add value to the wines that it offered. I called my friend and fellow alum from SSU, Ian Cauble, to create a higher-end, non-discounted version of these sites that features wines selected by a Master Sommelier, and we were off to the races.”
Q: What have been your business milestones? Your profits? Your reach?
A: “SommSelect is growing rapidly. We quadrupled our subscriber base in the last 2.5 years and sales have followed suit. We’ve hit a critical mass where we completely sell out of our unique wine offers every day that has allowed for spectacular organic growth.”
Q: What are you hoping to create with your site?
A: “Each day we tell a story about a wine and a place. We offer a bit of education each day about the wine and create the sommelier experience for you at home when you open your email.”