Last updated on July 3rd, 2019 at 07:11 pm
Whitefish Bay-based HaloVino is getting ready to launch a new product, in addition to its plastic wine glasses.
The startup, officially CATA LLC, was established by Jessica Bell in 2016. She developed shatterproof, stackable stemless wine tumblers for use at events where wine glasses would not be feasible, like concerts and sporting events. Formerly an investment banker at Goldman Sachs, Bell spent time as a sommelier and previously founded Milwaukee-based My Wine School, which offered in-person and online wine tasting classes. She noticed at concerts, festivals, on airplanes and at stadiums, wine was being served in regular plastic cups.
Now, Bell has invented a new type of wine dispenser for use at events that deal in high-volume wine sales.
“Ours solves the problem that’s inherent in trying to serve wine in large-volume venues, which include temperature, cost and convenience,” Bell said.
Using hundreds of wine bottles is cost intensive and bulky, and single-serving options stored in plastic are not ideal in terms of taste, she said.
The first prototypes of the dispenser will be ready in about two weeks. HaloVino plans to beta test its new wine dispenser at the new Milwaukee Bucks arena, where operators have told Bell they’ll use the dispensers at one of its bars when the arena opens in September.
HaloVino’s tumblers are currently used at the BMO Harris Bradley Center, Miller Park and the Wisconsin State Fair, as well as venues nationwide.
“The Miami Heat rolled (HaloVino wine tumblers) out for the playoffs and the feedback was that people loved them,” Bell said.
On April 27, HaloVino received a $100,000 loan and $25,000 grant from the Milwaukee Economic Development Corp. Separately, it is working to complete a $400,000 seed funding round by August. The new funding will be used to bring its wine dispenser to market. So far, HaloVino has raised $320,000 of its seed round, of which $50,000 came from the Doyenne Evergreen Fund in Madison, Bell said.
“We want to get to the next milestone and in the next three to six months, we’re open to raising another $25,000 to $70,000 if we can come across the right partner or strategic investor,” she said.
In addition, HaloVino in late February completed a production mold that can produce four of its glasses at once, increasing its manufacturing capacity.
“Now we can do 20,000 a day,” Bell said.
HaloVino sells about 15,000 tumblers per month.