Alyssa Rapp developed her appreciation for wine during her travels through Europe, New Zealand, and South America. She even led a wine club while she was a student at Stanford, so it’s not surprising that she subsequently founded Bottlenotes, an online wine community where oenophiles can discuss, rate, and learn about new wines. Rapp came up with the idea for Bottlenotes while working for an importer of New Zealand boutique wines.
Launched in 2005, Bottlenotes sells wine and makes recommendations based on an online survey members take. Questions such as how the member takes their coffee or salts their food, as well as their ratings of different wines help personalize Bottlenotes’ wine suggestions. The website educates and entertains wine enthusiasts via four primary channels: The Daily Sip and The Weekly Pint email newsletters, social media platforms, iPhone apps, and interactive public events such as Around the World in 80 Sips. These events attract hundreds of consumers from across the US and are regularly featured by Daily Candy, Thrillist, Tasting Table, and Urban Daddy. There are also different online wine clubs on Bottlenotes, including the invite-only Limited Addictions, the Explorers’ Club, and a Kosher wine club.
According to Rapp, she started Bottlenotes to dispel the elitism associated with the wine industry and provide a space where both new and veteran wine lovers could come together. Rapp has been named one of Inc.’s 30 Under 30 coolest young entrepreneurs in America, one of Playboy.com’s 10 Sexiest CEOs in America, and number 23 on IntoWine.com’s Top 100 Most Influential People in the US Wine Industry. The author of Bottlenotes Guide to Wine: Around the World in 80 Sips, Rapp has appeared on national TV as a wine and entrepreneurship expert. She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and art history from Yale and an MBA from Stanford’s Graduate School of Business.