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Cork Guru: Danielle Gillespie builds a company based on her passion for wine and technology

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Danielle Gillespie of Cork Guru.

CorkGuru’s Danielle Gillespie admits it… She loves wine and technology.

“By saying this I do not mean guzzling wine for the sake of it,” she said. “When I think of a bottle of wine I think about gathering with friends and/or family, sitting around a table and talking, laughing and reminiscing and cooking or sharing a great meal.”

With 20-plus years as a software developer, Gillespie has tech chops with all aspects of development, spec writing, problem solving, architecting solutions, developing, and in-field deployment. She has also worked closely with start-up tech companies to define their technology roadmap.

She had the idea to create electronic wine software more than five years ago when the cheapest tablet was $2,000.

“Regardless of this barrier, I still thought that with more information about a wine (a picture, anecdote, pairing information), the novice would be more interested in trying wine and the connoisseur would be more willing to try something new,” she said. “When the iPad was announced, I knew it was the platform that would help me bring the wine to the table.”

So Gillespie founded CorkGuru to develop and sell a wine menu app for restaurants and country clubs. Gillepsie approached the development of the product from the restaurant guest’s point of view and interviewed countless people on their wine buying fears and wishes. The result is a product that is appealing to all people from wine fans to those who aspire to love wine.

CorkGuru provides robust browsing capabilities, including sorts for varietal, vineyard and price. Further resolution for each wine entry includes a label picture as well as tasting notes and potential food pairings.

CorkGuru also incorporates a locker feature that private/country clubs can use to track individual locker inventories. The locker feature adds value to the club because it offers an additional level of service for members.

“The hardest part of growing this business is that it is a niche that is still in an infancy stage, so there is a ton of education that needs to occur,” said Gillespie.

In the next six months, CorkGuru plans to grow its base of Pittsburgh customers and will hire a dedicated sales executive to help place product into both restaurants and country/private clubs.


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