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Winery to offer imported wine, bottle customization

Sumin Woo, Reporter

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Walter Clements is bringing more than just wine to Evanston.

Clements’ upcoming winery, Meta Wine, will take inspiration from European concepts and allow customers to blend different imported wines to create their own custom drinks, Clements said.

Clements worked with students from the Kellogg School of Management in the planning of Meta Wine. He collaborated with two groups on different projects — one group focused on marketing research and the other researched supply chain and inventory optimization.

Although details are still in the works, Meta Wine is scheduled to open in April attached to the Main Street Metra Station, 600 Main St.

“Sometimes you hear about restaurants doing deconstructed foods,” Clements said. “We’re like a deconstructed winery.”

Clements said Meta Wine’s business model is unique to the United States. The winery’s selection will mostly feature imported wines from Italy and France, he said.

Customers will be able to personally brand their wines by selecting different bottling and labeling options in the store’s tasting room. Clements said restaurant owners can take advantage of the opportunity to make house wines custom to their own businesses.

“In Italy, it’s called ‘vino sfuso,’ which means ‘loose wine’,” he said. “When you see someone walking down the street in Italy with a purple gallon of milk, it’s because they took their milk that they finished, ended up going to the store and filling it with wine.”

Clements said he wants to avoid packaging wine in traditional glass bottles. At Meta Wine, wine created by customers will be packaged in various environmentally-friendly containers, including stainless steel and recyclable plastic kegs. Clements said he also anticipates working with local artisans and glass blowers to create other special containers.

Corey Eng (Kellogg ’16) worked on the marketing research team that helped create the report Clements will use when he introduces Meta Wine to restaurant owners.

“The whole goal was to make wine more accessible, especially for millennials, understanding what the appropriate price point would be to attract people to try something that was foreign to them,” Eng said.

Erik Ellingson, a Kellogg graduate student, worked with Clements to research supply chain and inventory optimization. Ellingson’s team worked to figure out the logistics behind maintaining Meta Wine’s inventory.

The supply chain and inventory optimization team created a calculator tool for Clements to use when restocking wine.

“We helped Walter determine what reorder points he needed, when in the process he needed to reorder wine, what wine he needed to reorder and how the seasonality of different wines affects those points,” Ellingson said.

Clements said working with graduate students was a positive experience, calling both projects “A-plus.” He said he hopes to continue to work with Northwestern students, ranging from legal studies to engineering majors, in other capacities in the future.

After opening in Evanston, Clements said he intends on expanding Meta Wine’s business model across the country.

“There’s craft beer everywhere, and that’s great, but a lot of people don’t want a craft beer that tastes like a cleaning product,” Clements said. “They want a nice, sweet, juicy, delicious, fresh glass of wine, and that’s not offered currently in the same way that craft beer is offered.”

Twitter: @_suminwoo

Correction: A previous version of this story misspelled Walter Clements’ last name. The Daily regrets the error.