To enable wine owners to sell, search and purchase hard-to-find rare vintage wines, as well as limited editions that will never reach the open market.
Cellar Ventures, Inc is a California-based company that operates as an intermediary agency between wineries and their customers on the global market. The company helps cellar owners export wines via convenient channels and sell wine bottles directly to end-buyers in the US.
At the end of 2019, Cellar approached Inmost with an idea to create a digital solution that would enhance the global wine trade and make it easier for both producers and consumers to sell bottles of wine across the borders. The company needed an app that could be used to find all information about a particular wine, including vintage year, grape variety, appellation, and producer. The solution needed to be perfect in terms of UI/UX parameters - to compete and take market share from other apps in the niche.
Web and mobile application that allows transparent and secure sale of wine, creation of customized wine catalogs and access to private and corporate wine cellars.
We analyzed and took the best from all major online wine marketplaces and reviewers and created even more than others.
As a result, a web and mobile applications were created with the following features:
Marketplace - enables wine trading and bottle delivery in more than 40 US states. The service provides the management of reports, shipments and orders both on the supplier's side and on the customer's side. A marketplace is a kind of auction where the seller specifies the expected price and the buyer can accept it or make an offer to change the price.This functionality makes the marketplace interesting not only for large wine producers, but also for wine collectors or small private wineries.
The security of trading deals is an important factor. This is achieved through multi-factor user authorization by manual verification of all created accounts by company employees and an automatic system that verifies users based on their driver's license - through the Intellicheck service integrated into the application. And all purchases and sales of wine are manually moderated (allowed or prohibited) by the company's employees.
Integration with other applications allows easy loading of existing wine collections from popular applications such as Vivino, Vinfolio, Cellar Tracker or a usual Excel spreadsheet.
Wine catalog - the application contains a large selection of wines with characteristics, as well as live user reviews. A unique mechanism for sorting wines by producer, wine type/varietal, country, region, area of origin, appellation, vintage year and price has been created for quick and easy navigation of the CELLR catalog.
Wine inventory management - the application provides a function to create a customized catalog of wines in cellars, as well as search by all the main wine characteristics. In addition, there is a wish list for making notes and plans to enrich your wine collection.
Community - for the development of wine connoisseurs network, the application has an option to add wines to the general catalog, and write a review for each of the wines. Moreover, a Feed channel is presented in a separate section, where application users share their photos and impressions of a particular wine, as well as comment on photos posted by others. There is also an event calendar available for users to learn about the latest innovations in the world of wines or participate in the new collection presentation, arranged by the wine producer.
In 1.5 years we reached 1700 active users.
Implementation of Intellicheck for user verification, Vuforia for wine label recognition, and Stripe for paying for the wines.
Using AWS services provides scalability, high application responsiveness from anywhere in the world, and low cost of ownership for applications due to their business policies.
The backend runs on the Amazon cloud platform and is developed in Node.js. The application communicates with the server-side via the GraphQL API.
The application uses the Intellicheck framework to validate users. The driver's license is scanned with the phone's camera to verify its authenticity. It excludes the use of the application by minors, for whom the sale of alcohol is prohibited.
All application data, user settings and wine data are stored in the PostgreSQL database, which facilitates database scaling and data search optimization (wine characteristics, names, producers, etc.). The support of JSON in PostgreSQL allows switching to storing schema-free data in an SQL database, which is helpful when developing data structures that change as the application evolves, and it is not always known in advance which fields will contain data objects.
The application allows exporting information about wines from other applications of the user. Therefore, photos with links to other applications are downloaded and stored in the AWS S3 bucket using AWS Lambda, creating links to photos already stored on our server.
The application has a function to search for wine by its photo. Recognition of the label on a photo and search for the corresponding wine in the database are provided through the Vuforia Web Services API.
By means of the Wine-Searcher service, the market prices in the system are updated daily, maintaining up-to-date information on the market price of wines.
Payment on the platform is carried out through the Stripe service, which is characterized by high speed of transaction processing and security, and is cheaper than many similar services. With the Stripe, we have an option not to store credit card information on our servers.
The Loggly service is used for process logging and error control.
We used a cloud-based service SendGrid for email delivery for users and administrators of the application. Users could receive buy/trade instructions and guidance on how to get started in application. We send information for the administrators about new users, transactions, feedback and questions asked through the application, etc.
For Push notifications we're using Amazon SNS (Amazon Simple Notification Service), which allows to notify the user about important events - for example, events in the process of buying/selling wines, etc.
Board Member at Cellar Ventures, Inc, USA