Digital Wine Venture’s Skilled Management Reshaping the Wine Industry

  • Nov 12, 2019 AEDT
  • Team Kalkine
Digital Wine Venture’s Skilled Management Reshaping the Wine Industry

An emerging technology company aiming to transform the global wine industry digitally, Digital Wine Ventures (ASX: DW8) is backed by strategic partnerships, a highly experienced management team and a strong pipeline of potential customers. The Company aims to identify and invest in early-stage tech-driven projects with the potential to disrupt the global wine beverage market, providing them access to expertise, capital, deep industry relationships and shared services.

DW8’s cornerstone investment is WINEDEPOT, a cloud-based SaaS platform that connects key stakeholders in the wine industry using technology. Launched just two months ago, the integrated trading and logistics platform is already being used. Casella Family Brands, Australia's largest and most successful family-owned wine business, providing an indication of potential of the platform to digitally transform a market worth $40 billion per year has been onboarded.

The competent directors and management of Digital Wine ensure that the Company provides simpler, faster and cheaper solutions than currently available:

DW8’s Directors & Management (Source: DW8’s Website)

Mr. Dean Taylor

Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer (appointed on 1 February 2019)

A start-up and wine industry veteran handling and building wine ventures have been Mr. Taylor’s forte for over two decades, DW8 being his eighth such venture. He has originally been an architect and learned his skill of starting from scratch and releasing once completely documented and eventually built from his architectural experience. Leading DW8, he is highly regarded within the wine and online retail communities and his ventures have all been disruptive with a strong technology focus. Mr Taylor took no time in laying down foundations required to support both DW8 and WINEDEPORT. He gave the company a new name, new business plan, new vision, as well as relocated the head office to Sydney.

Businesses (Past and Present)

  • Established Wine Ark, a climate-controlled storage business, in 2000. The business managed over $200m of wine around Australia;
  • Launched Wine Exchange, an online wine trading platform and The Cellar Club (acquired by Cellarmasters in 2009) an ultra-premium wine club, in 2003;
  • Founded Cracka Wines, a DTC marketplace which was one of Australia’s top 50 online retailers;
  • Launched Winegrowers Directand My Wine Guy, exclusive for niche market segments, which were eventually merged with The Wine Society and formed The Wine Collective;
  • Currently runs WINEDEPOT, a B2B wine trading and logistics platform acquired by DW8 in April 2019, to revolutionising the Australian wine market domestically and overseas.


  • Named as one of 50 Stars of Wine;
  • Named as one of Top 50 People in Ecommerce.

Mr. Piers Lewis

Non-Executive Chairman

A wine enthusiast with over 20 years of hands-on experience in corporate governance, M&A and financial management across businesses in Asia, Europe and Australia, Mr. Lewis has held management and senior roles in corporations like Credit Suisse, ABN Amro, Royal Bank of Scotland and NAB. He owns a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of WA and joined Digital Wine on 23rd February 2017.

Past Businesses

Founded SmallCap Corporate, which is a corporate advisory services business, in 2011. Presently, this company, based in Subiaco, provides corporate advisory services to over a dozen ASX listed and public unlisted clients.


  • Lewis is a member of the Institute of Charted Accountants of Australia;
  • He is also a member of the Corporate Governance Institute

Mr. James Walker

Non-Executive Director (appointed on 30 September 2019)

A seasoned executive, with a track record in successfully commercialising cutting-edge technology in emerging markets, Mr. Walker had led several Australian and international technology companies. He brings in over twenty years of executive and board experience from businesses across a broad range of global technology industries such as automotive, enterprise software, mining technology services and so on. He owns a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of NSW.

Positions Held (Past and Present)

  • Former Chief Executive Officer of DroneShield
  • Former Chief Financial Officer of Seeing Machines;
  • Held leadership positions in several growth technology companies;
  • Current Non-Executive Chairman of thedocyard;
  • Non-Executive Director at Bluglass;
  • Chief Financial Officer of Douugh (an AI-based Fintech firm).


  • Member - Chartered Accountants of Australian and New Zealand (FCA);
  • Graduate Member - The Australian Institute of Company Directors (GAICD).

Mr. Paul Evans

Non-Executive Director

Mr. Paul obtained a first class Honours degree in Modern Languages from Cambridge University. Being the most recent addition to DW8’s skilled team, Mr. Evans’ term was effective from 1 November 2019. With 27 years of private equity experience in the UK and Australia, Mr. Evans is a wine enthusiast and brings a wealth of knowledge, experience and business acumen to facilitate the rolling out and scaling of the Company’s WINEDEPOT technology platform.

Business Involvement

  • Served as Director of AMP Private Equity for 6 years, leading Australia's leading management buyouts;
  • Served as Director of Gresham, leading the $252 million buyout of car parts group Repco in 2001;
  • A founding partner of Ironbridge, represented Ironbridge Funds on the Boards of Mrs Crocket's Kitchen, Barbeques Galore, iNova Pharmaceuticals, Recreational Tourism Group and Super A Mart;
  • Director, Operations for Pacific Road Capital, an experienced mining investor, since 2017.


  • Chairman of the Elderton Wines Advisory Board

Mr. Arron Canicais

Company Secretary & CFO

Involved in financial reporting and corporate compliance for over 12 years. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Notre Dame Australia and has experience in audit and assurance besides other financial officer roles.

Current Positions Held

  • a corporate advisory executive of SmallCap Corporate Pty Ltd, which specialises in corporate advice and compliance administration to public companies;
  • Company Secretary for Cycliq Group Limited, Entek Energy Limited, Lion Energy Limited and various unlisted entities;
  • CFO for half a dozen various ASX listed and unlisted entities.


Mr. Canicais is an associate member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants and Governance Institute of Australia.

Mr. Davide Defendi

Chief Technology Officer

A leader and entrepreneur, Mr Defendi has proficiency in furthering companies from foundation through to sale, across numerous industries. He is originally a certified software engineer who eventually decided to disrupt traditional business via innovative technology. Having said this, he has sold technology to and served on the Board of private as well as ASX listed companies.

Businesses (Founded/ Involved with 2 digital agencies)

  • An IOT based enterprise
  • An instant messaging business (akin to WhatsApp), with user growth of over 15 million consumers.

Skill Set

Mr. Defendi has a proven ability to manage all aspects of a business- negotiating multi-million-dollar customer contracts, leading dynamic, multi-functional teams and organisations and executing innovative strategies to create and deliver value.

WINEDEPOT strengthens its executive team

The B2B marketplace, WINEDEPOT provides an end-to-end supply chain solution for the wine industry and is DW8’s cornerstone investment. In October, DW8 welcomed two well-respected and highly experienced wine industry professionals on board, to help manage WINEDEPOT and on-boarding of new customers:

Mr. Richard Van Ruth

Business Development Manager

A seasoned wine professional with over 25 years of experience across facets of the industry. Mr Ruth is a passionate advocate for the Australian wine sector and brings in an extensive industry network. He commenced work with DW8 through WINEDEPORT on 8 October 2019.

Business Involvement

  • Began his career in retail in the late 1990s, working for Adelaide’s Edinburgh Cellars;
  • Served sales roles at Mildara Blass, Distinguished Vineyards (Petaluma’s distribution arm);
  • Spent several years with renowned importer Liberty Wine in the UK;
  • In Australia, Mr Ruth worked with DiGiorgio Family Wines in Coonawarra;
  • Served as General Manager at Primo Estate in McLaren Vale;
  • Founded a B2B marketplace designed to connect boutique wineries with a range of sales channels,
  • Served on the McLaren Vale Grape Wine & Tourism Board and South Australian Wine Industry Executive Committee.

Ms. Anna Donald

Inventory & Operations Manager

A New Zealander by origin, Ms. Anna is a great addition to the WINEDEPOT team and brings in over a decade worth of experience. She is passionate about wine and innovation for the industry and is a creative out of the box thinker, well-acquainted with start-ups and listed corporations. She commenced work with DW8 through WINEDEPORT on 14 October 2019.

Skill Set

Ms. Anna holds a record of optimising and solving complex operational and business functions using technology. She is experienced across buying, customer service, operations, account management, and supply chain management within wine and FMCG industries.

Business Involvement

  • 3 years of Operations Coordinator in Laithwaite, an Australian start-up, she was reallocated to the UK head office to lead the development and release of an innovative cloud-based sales and service platform;
  • 3 years in supply chain management working for Adhesif Labels;
  • Worked with Graysonline, one of Australia's largest online wine businesses- managing key supplier accounts such as Moet-Hennessy, Pernod Ricard, McWilliams, Treasury Wines, Accolade and De Bortoli to name a few, she was promoted to Sales Operations & Third-party Logistics Manager to look after the procurement, picking, packing and delivery of literally millions of bottles per year.

DW8 made an announcement of completing the issue of previously announced placement

Recent Issue of Shares

The Company issued and allotted 127,344,683 fully paid ordinary shares as a placement to sophisticated investors at $0.0065 per share, as per an ASX-announcement dated 8 November 2019. The purpose of the issue if to fund the WINEDEPOT expansion, and will be used towards additional human resources, technology research & development, marketing and advertising and general working capital. Peak Asset Manager has been the lead manager and advisor to the transaction.


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