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.
The wine lover and computer scientist Utz Graafmann uses his computer science knowledge and programs 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 cooperation with Marcus Hofschuster begins and the wine guide for Germany is launched under his leadership 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-PlusBusiness Directory goes online, at that time still under the name Weinlotse, with offers (links) to wine, gastronomy, tours and more.
Launch of a wine auction platform, which, however, is abandoned a short time later due to competition from Ebay.
A search engine for wine in many hundreds of wine shops with direct links to the merchants is 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 limited liability company, the owner and sole shareholder is the founder of Wein-Plus, Utz Graafmann.
Launch of version 2.0 of the website, initiating Europeanisation.
Launch of Wein-Plus Backstage, the look behind the scenes of Wein-Plus, today integrated in the magazine.
Wein-Plus Founders Utz Graafmann and Alexander Schreck found an affiliated company alongside Weinmarketing GmbH 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 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 expanded to cover the whole of Europe and a unified offering is created with the European wine regions, producers and tasting notes from all over Europe with many selection options and filters.
The website gets a cleaner, 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 membership with its benefits, from well over 100 products originally.
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.