Bárbara Vidal, founder of Wine With a View, had always dreamed of having her own business. Bárbara had a lot of ideas, but none of them really made her feel the spark inside her.
"A month before my [back then] only child turned one year old, I finally got the idea that made me feel that spark. My husband [an experienced investor] was always very engaged whenever I spoke of an idea I had in mind for a business. But he was particularly interested in this one."
"I heard on the news that a study had come out saying that our gastronomy and wine should be better marketed than the good weather and the beach, because these two last factors didn't make our country more appealing or interesting compared to others."
It rang a bell. A few years ago, when finishing her Masters in Tourism, Bárbara thought of doing her thesis on how important it is to focus on Portuguese gastronomy and wine as a differentiating factor, instead of golf, beach and sun. Bárbara put several facts together: short breaks are increasing, we have an amazing city, the Portuguese wine is excellent and not expensive at all.
That night Bárbara told her husband "Imagine tourists visiting Lisbon for a weekend and reaching one of our stunning viewpoints. First they take some pictures and then they contemplate the view. What else could make the moment even more perfect? A good glass of Portuguese wine!"
"90% of Portuguese restaurants do not sell wine by the glass, only bottles. Oftentimes we don't have the same preference for wine as those we're travelling with, one might prefer red wine, the other white wine or even rosé."
After listening to Bárbara's idea, her husband said "That could be very interesting!"
"In the middle of preparing our only child's first birthday, my husband was working on his computer and started asking me a few questions about the business idea I had told him about. He would ask me about the wine I had in mind selling and lots of other details, such as how I pictured the van would look like and in which viewpoint it should be placed on etc."
"After answering all the questions, he said he had just made a Power Point about everything and asked me if this was the business idea I had in mind. It was exactly it!"
He then encouraged Bárbara to "go out there and present the idea."
Bárbara presented her idea at Startup Lisboa and was subsequently introduced to the management of Saint George's Castle.
They were thrilled and took Bárbara to the exact spot she had in mind for her wine van.
"It was the viewpoint at the walls of Saint George's Castle overlooking Lisbon! This was the exact place I had pictured for Wine With a View! I was asked if I could have my business up and running in less than two months, for a particular event. Of course, I said yes straight away."
After working very hard with designers, mechanics, and wine brands, Bárbara had everything ready for the big day.
"It was crazy! We sold over 800 euros. I was getting the cash in an improvised cash machine, which actually was a green crochet purse, and we had two people serving our customers but all was in place even information systems and receipts as a proper business."
"By the end of the year, we where already inaugurating our second van in Belém – currently next to the Belém Tower by the river, another magical location. It's been a great success operationally and financially, although it depends a lot on the days of the week, the weather, and the months."
"People who talk about Wine With a View on social networks do really capture the essence of what we believe in. They want to enjoy the view while having a glass of wine, they want to live this moment of magic without being stuck in a restaurant or a bar."
"Wine With a View is actually more than a wine truck, we promote the experience of having a glass of wine while enjoying the view. And the beautiful branded unbreakable glass is a souvenir. It´s not only what we say, it´s what hundreds of guests tell us every day and on social networks"
Oh, Bárbara! My priority for this weekend is to go to Saint George's Castle and enjoy the view while savoring one of your wines.