School: Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management
Team members: Annie Moon, Makiko Yamashita, Iris Yen
Concept: When Americans go out for Thai food, what kind of wine do they drink? Wine With a Passion wants the answer to be Thai wine.
Rather than compete with the world's vast army of grape wine producers, Wine With a Passion plans to produce a line of high-end, moderately priced Thai wines from tropical fruits such as mangosteen, pineapple, lychee, dragon fruit and mango.
Wine with a Passion hopes its Randee-brand wines will fill a market void: most Thai restaurant customers lack a native wine option to pair with spicy Thai cuisine. In addition to restaurants in the U.S. and Japan, the company is targeting the more than 14 million tourists who flock to Thailand every year. The founders hope its fruit wines will make irresistible souvenirs.
Timeline: Because the production cycle of fruit wine is four months, one-third the time needed to create grape wines, Wine with a Passion hopes to have its wines on shelves by 2009. - Jennifer Lawinski
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