It was October 1998, one month before Google was founded, three years before Wikipedia and four years before Firefox. The internet was accessed with 56-kbit/s modems, about 1,000 times slower than today.
Utz Graafmann, a wine lover and computer scientist, uses his knowledge of computer science to program a small website for wine lovers with a wine forum where he can exchange ideas with other people who love wine and calls the site Wein-Plus.de
In order to also give wine merchants a platform for their commercial success, he provided a virtual department stores' on the Internet under the name Weinring. Today one would say a first multi-shop platform. Apparently this was far too early at the time, because the number of customers for it was zero.
Dispatch of the first Wein-PlusTasting package (at that time "Stammtischwein").
The collaboration with Marcus Hofschuster starts and under his leadership the Wein-Plus Germany wine guide is launched. The beginning of a comprehensive and highly respected institution for wine criticism.
In the same year the Wein-Plus In the same year, the industry catalogue goes online, at that time still under the name Weinlotse, with offers (links) to wine, gastronomy, tours and more.
Introduction of a wine auction platform, which is abandoned a short time later due to competition from Ebay.
The shopping sources (at that time still "Weinfahnder," later "Shopping"), a search engine for wine in many hundreds of wine shops with direct links to the merchants, are created.
The subscription is launched and Wein-Plus becomes one of the first companies whose online content readers are willing to pay for. This was possible thanks to the high-quality content and the unconditional independence and neutrality of all information.
Expansion of tastings to Spain.
Failed launch of the Vinworld exhibition concept in Würzburg and Berlin.
Seven years after the idea of the multishop "Weinring", which was not accepted by the market at the time, the e-commerce solution is launched Wein-Plus the e-commerce solution. This time with more success: about 120 wine merchants used this solution for their internet presence. In the course of focusing on membership as the sole business model, however, this too is no longer offered.
racking into larger business premises in the Tennenlohe technology and business park in Erlangen.
Expansion of tastings to other countries.
Wein-Plus becomes a GmbH (limited liability company), the owner and sole shareholder being the founder of Wein-PlusUtz Graafmann.
Launch of version 2.0 of the website, ushering in Europeanisation.
Launch of Wein-Plus Backstage, the look behind the scenes of Wein-Plus, today integrated in the magazine.
With the Wein-Plus Solutions GmbH founders Wein-Plus Founders Utz Graafmann and Alexander Schreck have founded another company, besides Wein-Plus. This new sister company will make projects like the Convention and other future projects possible.
The wine forum has to pay tribute to the increasing success of social media platforms such as Facebook and is shut down after 15 years because the response is now too low.
The Wein-PlusVorteilswelt goes online and offers its members exclusive benefits from the world of wine
The tastings are extended to the whole of Europe and a unified OFFER is created with the European wine regions, the PRoducents and tasting notes from all over Europe with many selection options and filters.
Thewebsite gets a much tidier, faster and more modern design with version 2.5.
Relaunch of the website, which was redesigned and programmed from scratch in almost three years of work, based on the latest technology and the premise of "mobile first". With version 3.0, the new site is fast and clear despite the wealth of its content (approx. 500,000 pages).
Further and consistent focus on membership. Over time, the price list and sales structure of wein.plus has been consistently focused on MItmbership with its benefits from originally well over 100 products.
With version 3.5 of wein.plus, the digital wine platform underpins its self-image as "your plus in wine expertise". The plus stands for expertise and quality standards in everything that wein.plus offers its members.