Candy for adults that tastes like real winePublished: 01-02-2016
The idea behind the real wine gums was to make candy for adults that tastes like real wine and evokes the same relaxed feeling, but does not contain any alcohol. Founders Mireille Reuling and Marleen Teters brought the candy to market in 2014, where it met with overwhelming interest.
Reuling explains: “I started developing the concept of an edible wine candy three years ago in art school. We decided to target the high-end market. Right from the start, our real wine gums were a hit. We got a lot of free publicity and endorsements from several chefs. We’ve managed to sign a deal with some high-end hotel chains, so now they put our candy on the pillows in their hotel rooms.”
In October 2015, Vinoos by AMS received the European Columbus Trophy, an important incentive award for entrepreneurs in the hospitality industry. Reuling and Teters were recently also shortlisted for the VIVA 400 Award for the most inspiring businesswomen in the Netherlands.
All those positive responses have been a welcome incentive for Vinoos by AMS to forge ahead. As young entrepreneurs, the founders face many challenges, like finding an appropriate production facility. “Existing plants aren’t geared to handling the quantities of wine gums we want to produce. Most manufacturers are not interested in changing over their production lines for such small batches,” says Reuling. Another challenge the startup faced was finding enough follow-up investments to keep developing their product and to do the research this requires.
Vinoos by AMS looked for help and contacted Food Valley Direct. Food Valley Direct was able to support and found businesses in the Netherlands and Belgium that specialize in the production of small batches of confectionery. Food Valley Direct also put the entrepreneurs in touch with HAS University of Applied Sciences where students can help them address their research questions. Vinoos by AMS asked HAS Hogeschool to look into the wine gums’ formulation and quality.
Vinoos by AMS currently markets two varieties of their real wine gums: a red Merlot gum and a white Chardonnay. The entrepreneurs are planning to add a rosé flavor soon, as well as a wine gum that is both vegetarian and halal. “But above all, our wine gums have to become ‘the most original gift’ from the Netherlands. Edible wine is a truly unique gift, with a unique taste that the whole world needs to know about. But we can only pull this off if we work with highly-skilled, progressive and driven business partners. Food Valley NL has been very professional in helping us achieve our goals.”