Fine Wine Delivery

Discover how a family-owned business is shaking up the wine buying experience and customer expectations.


How Fine Wine Delivery blends wine and tech for a brand new experience


Jeff Poole has been in the wine game for over 40 years, managing the balance between retail and online sales, with his current focus for the last 25 years on He's always believed if you have the right inherent values, commitment, vision to be better, technologically deft and innovative, you'll survive anything that's thrown at you (from the mid 2000's global financial crisis to COVID).


Fine Wine Delivery as you'd expect from the name sells great wine, but also a massive collection of beer and spirits. Their Constellation Drive location on the North Shore is their Big Box format retail outlet, and the Lunn Ave address has been repurposed into a large warehouse and distribution centre to meet the rapidly growing needs of their delivery channel. They also pioneered individual temperature and humidity-controlled storage units in NZ in 2001, for those that need to store their wine in ideal conditions and don't have anywhere at home. 

The Fine Wine Delivery difference


The core values Jeff established 25-years ago remain today and determine their path and success. This includes, believe it or not, Jeff and his team sampling every drink they sell, and if it doesn't pass their taste test, they don't sell it. So, buyers can be reassured of the quality and value every time they buy.


Jeff also wants to try and break down the perceived barriers of customers feeling awkward when buying in-store or online. 'I really want to solve the fear of looking silly when going into a store and not knowing what to say or order' says Jeff. 'For example, no-one orders Gewurztraminer by name, as it's hard to say and even harder to spell! But it could be a variety you'd love'.

Using tech to personalise the customer experience

With online sales now three times the level of retail, Jeff and his team are embarking on rolling out a whole new experience for online buyers. Jeff had a vision to empower customers to accurately identify their own style preferences, self-determining what they're enjoying and consequently be presented with beverages accurately suited to their taste. 'I searched online to see what was happening globally' says Jeff, 'and found no one was utilising artificial intelligence (AI) the way it could be. I contacted Mike Smith of IBM NZ, and invited him to view our online data and explain my vision. From that meeting, he introduced me to Spacetime, an agency focused on designing empowering consumer experiences with AI, and the journey began to create a new online era for Fine Wine Delivery customers'. 

Jeff wants to put you as the customer in the driver's seat when buying online and empower you to be your own style expert. The progress has been rolled out in stages over the last few years. In order of launch, Jeff has introduced to the website: 

  • A smart search function you communicate with in your language, to get the results you need, fast.
  • Their flavour wheel, which allows customers to select the types of flavours they like (think black fruit, spice, toast, butter, peach, plum, nutty), which produces product recommendations that accurately match selected profiles.
  • Jeff the avatar, a virtual discussion (yes, it's called 'Jeff'), as the perfect medium to guide less experienced shoppers to confidently achieve personalised recommendations. 
  • Expert assist, which has taken the flavour wheel and added new layers of information, including a very cool interactive map to show you where the product originated from around New Zealand (or the world).

November sees the launch of our subscription service, which we're very excited about. It will use the same Expert Assist technology to curate personalised selections based on your online and in store purchasing history. It also has personal style preferences which you can manipulate as your palate changes or you feel like exploring new wines. You simply set the type of wine, craft beer, or spirit you enjoy, budget and frequency, and trust us to do the rest. This is a quantum step forward on the customary “one size fits all” subscription services widely available. 

Jeff's vision is having 1,000's of customers receiving totally bespoke orders, accurately personalised to their tastes, 'every time'. We certainly like the idea of customers being empowered to 'set and forget', in this busy world. 

Future thinking

Jeff believes the biggest investment and growth opportunities in the drink market will be from global leading AI initiatives and that there is an opportunity to license the intellectual property they're building to other drink companies, targeting major liquor groups in Australia and the US, who have hundreds of stores and a massive online presence. 'If I can move the needle on their sales by a few percent', says Jeff, 'it's a massive revenue increase for them and will empower customers, increase loyalty, and provide touch of a button beverage education for their staff, which is something we can scale'.

To better enable Jeff's vision, they're experimenting with a personalisation window to track a customer purchase. The user can select 'compare', and the AI will personalise what else the customer may like, based on their buying behaviour. In addition, it will provide a dynamically changing auto personalised list based on new vintages and arrivals, 'I see it like building your own Spotify playlist' says Jeff, 'where every customer has their own unique list and are presented with what they want to see'.

This new AI will be able to get insights into what customers want in a consumer-friendly way, and then drill down into recommending other drink styles and varieties they may like. 'What's important, says Jeff, 'is that the AI is genuine and has integrity, to provide the knowledge and tailored recommendations you need whether in store or online'.

Banking on growth

Fine Wine Delivery have banked with ASB Commercial since 1997, and in those 25 years ASB have been consistently supportive of Jeff's business, including the challenging trading environment of the global financial crisis. 'One of the best aspects of ASB' says Jeff, 'is the quality of their Commercial Managers throughout our journey, tailoring finance to our ever-changing needs as we grew from a sole trader to employ thirty-five staff'. This is especially tricky when catering to the complexities of an evolving domestic and international supply relationship and ongoing technology investments. ASB's online banking technology has made business banking easy, and the whole Poole family value the ease, personalisation, and efficiency of the relationship.


There are key challenges to meet in any business, so Jeff and the team are always seeking to improve their service levels and alleviate the current supply chain problems everyone faces. His final words for other business owners? 'Be passionate about your vision and clearly define your opportunity and point of difference to your competitors. Then, build great supplier relationships and run a fiscally disciplined business with total focus on your preplanned objectives. Success will follow'.

We couldn't agree more, and can't wait to see what's next.

Check out for yourself the buying experience from Fine Wine Delivery at

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