Foot of the Bed Curated Wines
A New Way to Pick Wine
Handpicked local craft wines bottled and delivered with a story to tell
Although they didn’t start in a Silicon Valley garage, Foot of the Bed Cellars is turning the traditional wine producer business model on its head. They don’t own a winery. They don’t grow the grapes. And they don’t even make the wine.
“People in the wine business tell us we’re crazy,” says Luc Bergevin, co-founder of Foot of the Bed. “But our model is different.”
Foot of the Bed sells curated wines directly to the public. Subscribers receive three $15 bottles each month from wines selected by sommelier Martin Sheehan-Stross. With connections throughout California and the West Coast, the company has been able to secure wines mostly from smaller, family-owned wineries.
They began shipping in October 2016 and have seen 15–20% growth each month. It’s a new wine business model, but with winesavvy subscribers the fuel that powers Foot of the Bed is excellent wine.
Foot of the Bed’s story began after college, when Bergevin helped with a small-scale craft wine production in Los Altos. For his efforts, Bergevin received a barrel of Zinfandel, which he took to his new apartment and stored—you guessed it—at the foot of his bed.
It was after a brainstorming session with high school friend Sheehan-Stross that the business was hatched. “People who make wine have been selling off bulk wine since the beginning of viticulture,” says Sheehan-Stross. “We differentiate ourselves in that we want to tell the story of the wine and the winemaker.” In fact, they turn down opportunities where the seller insists on remaining anonymous.
Sheehan-Stross has serious wine chops: As sommelier for renowned restaurants Spruce, Gary Danko and Michael Mina, he currently heads Michael Mina’s 900-bottle wine program. Last year he won the International Chaîne Young Sommeliers Competition, recognizing him as the best sommelier under 31 years of age.
In typical tech start-up style, they do much of the work themselves, holding pickup parties once a month in San Francisco and on the Peninsula. “It’s an opportunity for clients to meet up with their friends, talk to us about the wine and introduce new people to our program,” says Bergevin.
It’s a program that owes its success to the entrepreneurship and wineries that thrive in California. “The reality is that California has some of the most exciting things going with regard to fine wine anywhere in the world,” says Sheehan-Stross.