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, around 1,000 times slower than today.
The wine lover and computer scientist Utz Graafmann uses his IT knowledge and programmes 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 give wine merchants a platform for their commercial success, he created a virtual department stores' on the Internet under the name Weinring. Today we would call it the first multi-shop platform. Obviously this was far too early at the time, as the number of customers was zero.
Dispatch of the first Wein-Plus Tasting package (at that time "Stammtischwein").
The co-operation with Marcus Hofschuster begins and under his direction the Wein-Plus Wine Guide Germany is launched under his leadership. The beginning of a comprehensive and highly respected institution for wine criticism.
In the same year, the Wein-Plus Business Directory goes online, at that time still under the name Weinlotse, with offers (links) on wine, gastronomy, tourism and more.
Introduction of a wine auction platform, which is abandoned shortly afterwards due to competition from Ebay.
A search engine for wine in many hundreds of wine shops with direct links to the merchants is created.
Launch of the magazine.
The subscription is launched and Wein-Plus becomes one of the first companies for whose online content readers are prepared to pay. 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 multi-shop "Weinring", which was not yet accepted by the market at the time, the e-commerce solution is launched Wein-Plus the e-commerce solution. This time with more success: around 120 wine merchants used this solution for their Internet presence. However, in the course of focussing on membership as the sole business model, this is no longer offered either.
racking the company moves to larger premises in the Tennenlohe technology and business park in Erlangen.
Expansion of tastings to other countries.
Wein-Plus becomes a limited liability company, owned and solely owned by the founder of Wein-Plus, Utz Graafmann.
Wein-Plus launches its Facebook page.
The subscription is developed into a membership.
The Lexicon passes the 15,000 keyword mark on the subject of wine, making it the undisputed largest and most comprehensive Wine lexicon in the world.
Acquisition of the iG Versand mail-order group, significantly upgrading membership for professionals.
Launch of Wein-Plus GooWei.de, the search engine for wine topics. GooWei is now the web search engine at wein.plus.
Launch of Wein-Plus Weinmarketing, the marketing blog by Utz Graafmann, now in the online marketing glossary and magazine.
Launch of version 2.0 of the website, which marks the start of Europeanisation.
Launch of Wein-Plus Backstage, the look behind the scenes of Wein-Plusnow integrated into the magazine.
Wein-Plus Founders Utz Graafmann and Alexander Schreck establish a sister company, Wein-Plus Solutions GmbH, a sister company alongside the wine platform wein.plus. Solutions quickly develops into an event specialist in the wine industry.
The wine forum has to pay its tribute to the increasing success of social media platforms such as Facebook and is shut down after 15 years due to insufficient response.
The Wein-Plus Vorteilswelt goes online and offers its members exclusive benefits from the world of wine.
The tastings are extended to the whole of Europe and a standardised offer is created with the European wine regions, producers and tasting notes from all over Europe with many selection options and filters.
The website is given a tidier, faster and more modern design with version 2.5.
The Lexicon reaches 20,000 keywords.
Relaunch of the website, which was redesigned and reprogrammed 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 content (approx. 500,000 pages).
Launch of the event calendar, a large industry calendar.
Further and consistent focus on membership. Over the course of time, the price list and sales structure of wein.plus has been consistently focussed on membership and 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.
wein.plus is available in five languages worldwide
The wein.plus tasting director Marcus Hofschuster publishes the 150,000th wine review on 3 December 2021.
Alexander Schreck joins wein.plus and strengthens the entrepreneurial energy in the company.
With wein.plus:find+buy, wein.plus develops an easy-to-use and effective tool that links critical and independent wine information directly with the shopping opportunities offered by premium members of wein.plus.
wein.plus is intensively involved in other focus countries and is now also represented by its own employees in Austria, Italy, France, Spain and the United Kingdom.
The European strategy is strengthened by supporting the Swiss franc and the pound sterling.
Additional business framework agreements will further bundle the demand of the now more than 3,000 Business Premium members and increase the benefits.
wein.plus celebrates its 25th anniversary.
wein.plus reaches an additional readership with the printed wein.plus:magazin
wein.plus continues to grow online and increases the number of users, members and premium members.
wein.plus launches a new platform for wine travellers with places.
wein.plus takes over all activities of Wein-Plus Solutions, founded in 2013, and continues to develop into a pan-European media company