A winery? In your kitchen? If that sounds like a pitch from a late-night infomercial, then imagine the obstacles Greg Snell had to overcome to get his 10-person startup off the ground. Snell is CEO of Provina, the San Jose-based company behind an elegant new product called the WinePod. A digitally networked, four-foot-tall machine that ferments, presses, and ages wine in one self-contained device, the $3,500 WinePod can produce varietals in batches of up to 60 bottles, controlling temperature via a wireless connection to the owner's personal computer. Wine experts who've tried the first batch from a WinePod - a light pinot noir - give it a thumbs-up, but to get upscale oenophiles to take him seriously, Snell tapped product designer Loren Sterling to create a brushed-stainless steel and white oak cask that looks right at home next to a Viking range.
DESIGNER Sterling Design
BOTTOM LINE Sold out an initial production run of 25 units in 2006 and landed deals with Neiman Marcus and other high-end retailers.
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