Tipples

Boutique wines delivered in under an hour

Thilo Fuchs, co-founder of BottlesXO, hopes to make the wine world less esoteric for consumers.
Thilo Fuchs, co-founder of BottlesXO, hopes to make the wine world less esoteric for consumers.PHOTO: BOTTLESXO

Together with the new food delivery services that have popped up in the past year, there is now a new app that promises to deliver wine in under an hour. The delivery man, armed with a corkscrew and plastic wine cups, will even open the bottle for you.

Whether you are on a rooftop, at home, in a park, or on a boat, the European wine will be delivered at the perfect drinking temperature.

The app, called BottlesXO, is available on both iOS and Android devices. It has GPS technology that allows customers to track how far the delivery driver is from a location. The service allows for cash on delivery or payment via credit card.

And to sweeten the deal, there is no minimum order or delivery fee.

The app is the brainchild of three expatriates - Thilo Fuchs, Mischa Schulze and Zou Zhengfang - all based in Shanghai, China.

The service began nine months ago in Shanghai, moved to Suzhou and Hong Kong within six months, and has since expanded to Singapore. There are plans to offer the service in other Asia-Pacific cities.

On weekdays, the service is available from 3.30pm to 10.30pm, while on weekends, operations run from noon to 10.30pm. The cut-off at 10.30pm is in accordance with Singapore's drinking regulations.

Mr Fuchs, 44, says: "With the app, we tried to find a way to open up the wine world and make it less esoteric, because connoisseurs speak in a language that nobody understands."

Along with tasting notes, the app tells users what food can be paired with the wines, which are all sourced from Europe. There is also background information on the winemakers.

On offer are red, white, sparkling and rose wines with prices ranging from $35 for a 2014 Poggio Civetta chianti from Tuscany to $488 for a 1995 Louis XV vintage champagne by de Venoge, one of the Champagne region's most prestigious houses.

For the Singapore market, BottlesXO is starting off with about 30 wines, 20 of which form its foundation selection. The remaining 10 wines - known as limited editions - will be changed constantly.

This also narrows down the options from the plethora of wines available in wine shops, super- markets or online.

"We decided we wanted to open the wine market to those who are not used to wine, reducing the problem of selection," Mr Fuchs, who is from Berlin, says.

He and his partners bring in wines only from family-owned boutique wineries that they have long personal relationships with and whose quality they can vouch for. The app does not carry commercially available wines.

"We know how they work in the vineyards, if the grapes are harvested by hand or machine, and even how they work in the cellars," he says.

By cutting out the middle man, the wines can be sold for less.

While there are no new world wines on the list at the moment, he says "there will be all kinds of wines in the future".

While the app has only been in operation for a few days in Singapore, he says that the "response has been encouraging".

There will also be weekly wine tastings at the BottlesXO office at 67A Kim Yam Road, where customers can sample the selection of wines on offer before purchasing them via the app.

Either way, he is confident it will take off in Singapore.

"Life is too short to have bad wine," he says.

Correction: An earlier version of this story stated that the delivery service starts at 7.30pm. It actually starts at 3.30pm. We are sorry for the error.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on March 06, 2016, with the headline 'Boutique wines delivered in under an hour'. Print Edition | Subscribe