Last year, Philip James left the wine sale startup he co-founded, Lot18. The startup was once one of New York City’s most promising, raising tens of millions of dollars before undergoing a series of layoffs, product pivots and executive turnover.
James road a motorcycle 17,000 miles around the world raising money for charity before he suffered a bad accident. He’s since recovered and moved back to New York to launch a new wine startup, The Miracle Machine.
The Miracle Machine’s Kickstarter page will launch in the next week or two. It’s like a Soda Stream — a contraption that lets anyone make their own soda — but for wine. The Miracle Machine is an affordable device that fits on a kitchen counter. It turns water and a handful of ingredients (available for purchase on James’ website) into wine in three days.
Wine recipes will be available via mobile app and users can choose whether they want to create a Merlot or a Cabernet Sauvignon. The device has a fermentation chamber that “uses an array of electrical sensors, transducers, heaters and pumps to provide a controlled environment for the primary and, as needed, secondary fermentation stages.”
James is launching Miracle Machine with former Lot18 Vice President Kevin Boyer. They came up with idea while drinking together one evening.
“Jesus made water into wine; with all the technology we have available today why can’t we do the same?” James had joked. In the morning, the pair thought about that idea seriously and set out to build the product over the next twelve months.
Here’s how it works:
Here’s a video of James and Boyer explaining their contraption:
And here are some screengrabs of the app: