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Thursday, January 21, 2021

Grapevine company takes the headache out of drinking wine

Innovation can strike at any place. David Meadows, PureWine co-founder, knows that all too well.

David, a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering, has almost 150 patents under his belt.

After spending more than 20 years at Fort Worth’s Alcon and then its subsequent owner, Novartis, as the head of research and development, the one innovation he’s currently banking on the most actually started on top of a ping-pong table at his house.

There were alcoholic drinks involved. But it was all for science.

Derek, son and now business partner, had just finished his undergraduate degree in geology.

Derek, highly interested in fermenting beer and wine, would regularly find his body having side effects when drinking, as many people do – headaches and allergic reactions. David had a similar relationship with red wine.

So, the father and son team got to work to pull the cork on a solution to their problem. They started with a makeshift lab at their home. Then, they worked with a third-party lab in California for analytics, a university lab in Florida for wine tasting and then finally at UNT Health Science Center.

The age-old phrase says, “in vino veritas,” loosely translated as “in wine, there is truth.”

And, in wine, there also is histamine, the chemical compound that David and Derek found to be the true culprit behind their wine headaches. The truth was uncovered.

The ability to selectively remove just the histamines and sulfites from wine became the basis for establishing PureWine, the duo’s Grapevine-based company founded in 2014 that launched its first product in 2016.

Four years on and after selling more than 6 million units of its first product offering, PureWine is now experiencing rapid growth and seems to have found a way to answer its bigger callings.

“We’ve had quite a few recognitions as a company, and that really is a testimony to solving big problems,” David said. “Our whole aim is to position PureWine as a health and wellness company. People think, ‘You’re just a wine accessory.’ No, no, no. We’re a health and wellness company. Because what we’re finding is this product works for a vast array of populations of people.”

PureWine’s wine purification products come in two general types.

There’s the portable, by-the-glass stick called The Wand. Simply placing The Wand into a glass of wine for at least three minutes followed by gentle stirring promises to remove 50% of all histamines and sulfites. Leaving it for eight minutes will remove as much as 95%.

The other product, The Wave, is used to purify and remove histamines and sulfates from a whole bottle of wine as its poured.

The company launched four new products this year alone.

PureWine saw triple-digit growth rates, year-over-year. Sale orders and production has increased by about three times in volume as compared to last year, Derek said.

“Business, for sure, is good,” he said.

PureWine products are currently available in about 4,000 retail locations, including Total Wine, HEB, Buc-ee’s, and Spec’s, among others. The company’s wine filters are one of the top-sellers for its category on Amazon. Wholesaler chain Costco rolled out PureWine products two months ago.

PureWine will make its in-store debut with retail giant Walmart later this month.

“Since we are inventory constrained and have so much demand, we have to be very smart with our partnerships,” Derek said.

PureWine has five manufacturing sites – one each in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania and three in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. A fulfillment center in Grand Prairie works out all the shipping logistics.

Earlier this year, when ABC’s Good Morning America featured PureWine in one of its T.V. segments, Derek said the company received almost 10,000 orders for the day.

“We’re continuing to try and consolidate into the Texas, [North Texas] particularly, environment because we just really want to,” David said. “We think Texas is a friendly environment for startups. So we’re trying to find partners who would be able to do the additional manufacturing and fulfillment that’s needed here and also Fort Worth.”

PureWine products range from $11.99 and upward.

The plan, however, is not to just stop with wines and cater only to wine lovers. David and Derek believe their technology would work for any form of beverage, alcoholic or otherwise.

“We’ve tested them, sort of, on our ping pong table and anecdotally,” Derek said of their scientific finding’s potentials and other applications. “And we think there’s something there. But of course, time and labor are constrained right now trying to run a company.”

Neetish Basnet
Neetish is a writer and digital content producer for Fort Worth Business Press. He has been covering businesses of all shapes and sizes in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex for several years. After graduating with a journalism degree from University of Texas-Arlington, Dow Jones News Fund selected him for a digital media fellowship. He still likes the smell of a freshly printed newspaper.

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