For Antonio Galloni, MBA ’05, wine is an everyday part of life—something on the table at meals to be shared and discussed and enjoyed. In 2013, this philosophy drove Galloni to cofound Vinous, a wine website that has quickly become a go-to spot for avid collectors and casual consumers alike.
According to Galloni, Vinous is the only company in the wine business to offer both professional and crowdsourced reviews, two camps that are often viewed as competing. For serious wine aficionados, Vinous publishes professional reviews from top critics, some of whom joined the company in 2014 when it acquired International Wine Cellar. For casual wine drinkers, Vinous purchased a social-media platform called Delectable in 2016. “Delectable is kind of like an Instagram of wines, where you can post a picture of a wine, and then talk about it with your friends,” he explains, adding that the platform, which appeals to a younger audience, currently has 8 million user reviews.
“I want to speak to everybody in the world who has interest in wine, whether they are very experienced or just getting started,” says Galloni, the company’s CEO. “Vinous is a modern way of delivering wine information—I had this idea of bridging the worlds of wine, media, and technology.”
The origins of Vinous date to 2003, when a burgeoning career in finance brought Galloni to Sloan. Classmates, including Vinous cofounder Alex Loucopoulos, MBA ’05, encouraged him to pursue his passion for wine and his knack for describing it. Soon he launched the Piedmont Report, a free digital newsletter reviewing wines from the Piedmont region of Italy.
A chance encounter with an MIT professor led to Galloni’s first professional wine gig, writing reviews part time for Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate. He later began working there full time, covering some of the most influential vineyard regions in the world. When the Wine Advocate was sold in 2012, Galloni seized the opportunity to launch his own site.
When Galloni isn’t strategizing with James Forsyth, MBA ’12, another cofounder, about ways to incorporate new technologies into Vinous, he’s pursuing a project born out of his desire to make a permanent contribution to his field: comprehensively mapping the vineyards of Napa Valley, something that has never been done before.
“In 30 years, most of the reviews that we’re writing today will have zero value because people will have drunk the wines,” he says. “But these are maps that my kids might see 30 years from now still hanging on walls somewhere—a forever project.”