RIP to Kuvée, the Juicero of Wine

We'll miss you... even though no one really asked for you in the first place.

by Mayukh Sen
Mar 23 2018, 7:20pm

Photo via Facebook

Folks, it just doesn’t stop—the Internet of Things has added yet another failed product to its list of casualties. Pour one out for Kuvée, the Boston-based company that’s been manufacturing “the world’s first smart wine bottle” for the past two years. The company ceased operations on Wednesday, Business Insider reported.

Kuvée was one of those baffling Silicon Valley success stories in the vein of Juicero, that heinously high-priced juicer that, for $699, accomplished a task that any human with functioning hands could perform. We all know how that turned out!

Kuvée, which fancied itself the “Keurig of wine,” began two years ago as a little IndieGoGo that could, exhausting pre-order supplies within a matter of three hours. The company also managed to attract a preposterously large sum of capital from investors ($6 million, to be precise) while marketing itself to a very specific segment of American society—the kind who clamored for a $178 Wi-Fi-enabled touchscreen bottle sleeve that came with four aluminum wine cartridges.

The sleeves would keep the wine fresh for up to 60 days. That touchscreen, meanwhile, would give you access to a wealth of information, like where that wine’s from and potential food pairings for the wine. You'd even have the option of rating wines or simply ordering more bottles. What fun!

But that initial burst of enthusiasm petered out over time. Kuvée had been marching towards death since last fall, claimed CEO Vijay Manwani in a grim email to customers announcing the shutdown. In the email, obtained in full by Business Insider, Manwani placed the blame on the deleterious effects of last fall's fires in California’s wine country.

He claimed those fires hampered the company’s “ability to scale our customer base over the holiday season and hence our ability to raise the funds required to continue building awareness of Kuvée.” Manwani added that the company is now in search of a partner who can incorporate Kuvée’s technology into its business model.

Kuvée did not respond to immediate request for comment from MUNCHIES on Friday regarding how far along it is in said talks with potential partners, along with how many staffers are now out of jobs. In the event that Kuvée can't find any takers by the time it stops manufacturing cartridges on March 26 (they’re currently 50 percent off), its technology will be deemed useless.

I don't mean to dance on another one of Silicon Valley's graves; condolences to anyone who may be unemployed as a result of this closure. If you've got one of these machines, I'd suggest barreling that baby on over to a Goodwill near you.