Q&A with Wine Expert & Entrepreneur, Danni Lin
For any of you that know me, I am a huge wine lover, and so when I had the opportunity to interview Danni Lin, the CEO of Great Wine, Inc., I jumped at it. Here is what she had to say about her entrepreneurial journey.
1). Please tell our readers about your background.
I am Danni Lin (B.S., M.S.), CEO of GREAT WINE, Inc. I am a Seattle-based entrepreneur who has successfully promoted the idea of “vinotype” and my wines PERCIPIO in the American and Asian markets.
I attended the University of Washington in Seattle, where I received my B.S. in Statistics and Mathematics and my M.S. in Computational Finance and Risk Management. Academically in the discipline of wine and spirit, I have passed WSET Level 3 and currently pursuing Level 4. I also hold certificates of the American Wine Expert Study program and the Business of Wine Study program. Yet, before becoming the CEO of GREAT WINE, I was a Data Scientist at Microsoft.
With a strong financial background and professional knowledge of wine, I am taking my business to the next level of growth and expansion worldwide through my extensive international experiences and connections. I hope to introduce the traditions and innovations of Californian winemaking to more clients around the world.
2). Why did you start your business?
Like many, I had experiences of going into a supermarket, and got lost in massive product lists and ads. I thought my likes and dislikes were related to how knowledgeable I was in wine – until I had a conversation with Tim Hanni. Hanni is one of the first Americans to become Master of Wine and introduced me to the scientific concept of “vinotype,” (i.e., wine preferences and sensory abilities of people). I then transformed from a wine novice to a wine educator who encouraged consumers to speak their mind – what they really enjoy drinking and experiencing.
In 2016, GREAT WINE opened its first tasting room in the Seattle Metro Area to offer tasting and vinotyping experiences to clients. But I did not let tasting and learning end in a brick-and-mortar store; I started a wine club for my clients so they can enjoy “vinotyped” selection of wines at home.
3). What market does your business serve?
GREAT WINE serves and inspires clients who would like to discover their unique preferences and perspectives. We do so by seeking the best possible wine sources to create delicious, healthy wines at a great price.
Also, GREAT WINE serves the market with forever-changing taste in both the USA and in Asia. We believe that the market will tell you what it needs, and the key to success is to be ready to change. When GREAT WINE was founded in 2015 in both the USA and China, it was one of the few companies in the industry which successfully caught the changing tides of the Chinese market. More and more Chinese young professionals prefer affordable wines with traceable origins, and have stopped chasing after high price tags. By comparing tea flavors including pu-erh and jasmine to wine flavors, GREAT WINE carries the mission of introducing the traditions and innovations behind Californian labels to the Asian markets.
4). What's the largest challenge you've encountered as a business owner?
High cost: The production, labor, and facility costs of running a winery are very high. Sacrificing wine quality because of the high cost will never be our choice. Instead, we seek the best possible wine sources and work hard in offering services which are educational to clients. To GREAT WINE, clients are not paying for our products; they are casting a vote of trust on the quality of our wine in exchange of knowledge and experience.
Building brand awareness: GREAT WINE is in fierce competition with other well-established wine brands. Our marketing team has built the brand and has successfully created a loyal client-base by managing multiple channels dynamically to communicate with clients. Our wine specialists and even I myself are just a few clicks away from clients! We believe that this is hugely different from reading a book because people come together and participate in knowledge-making together.
5). What's your best piece of business advice?
Think of a way to keep yourself motivated. There will be ups and downs in the progress of setting up a business. At the up times, you may want to ride on the tides and go faster. At down times, remain confident and work hard to achieve your goals. Successful entrepreneurs are people who do not give up.
6). How do you like to relax?
I keep a notebook and handwrite great quote whenever I see one. When I feel really tired, I will read the quotes and rethink my business directions. Then, I will come back to work with a clear mind and loads of energy!
7). Connect with Danni on: