Danni Lin, the founder, and CEO of Great Wine, Inc., based in Seattle, is redefining the discourse around wine, focusing on the concept of “vinotype.” With her background as a former Microsoft data scientist, she seamlessly blends technology and taste to inspire unconventional conversations about wine.
Lin founded Great Wine, Inc. in 2015 with a mission to help people discover their unique wine preferences and “vinotypes.” She believes that traditional wine choices often revolve around labels and critics’ opinions, but she encourages individuals to explore wines catering to their vinotype, aligning with their sensory abilities.
A native of China, Danni pursued her education in Canada and the United States. Her academic journey included obtaining a B.S. in Statistics and Mathematics, an M.S. in Computational Finance and Risk Management from the University of Washington, and certifications from the American Wine Expert and Business of Wine Study programs. This unique blend of analytical skills and wine expertise forms the backbone of her wine entrepreneurship.
Lin’s passion for wine was ignited by a conversation with Tim Hanni, a master of wine. Hanni introduced her to the concept of “vinotype,” the connection between wine preferences and sensory abilities. This encounter transformed her from a wine novice into a wine educator dedicated to helping consumers express their true wine preferences.
To make wine education more accessible, Lin established Great Wine in 2015 and opened its first tasting room in 2017, providing wine tasting and vinotyping experiences to clients. She went a step further by launching a wine club for her clients to enjoy “vinotyped” wine selections at home, ensuring that the wine learning journey extended beyond a physical store.
One of the significant challenges Lin encountered during the early stages of her business was attracting the right talent. While she succeeded in bringing exceptional employees on board, she also faced individuals with unrealistic expectations. Lin emphasizes the importance of finding employees who understand the realities of working for a startup and its gradual growth.
Lin’s vision for Great Wine includes introducing the concept of “vinotype” to the global market. She acknowledges the competition and the vast number of wineries in the United States. Lin plans to leverage her technical background to reach the right audience through omni-channel marketing and personalized messaging, building a community around wine knowledge and brand engagement.
For aspiring entrepreneurs, Lin advises against placing excessive emphasis on raising venture capital. Instead, she suggests that entrepreneurs focus on proving their company’s value and profitability. Lin’s practical approach emphasizes the importance of managing finances meticulously, ensuring a balance between dreams and the reality of business operations.