Vitivio.com, the online marketplace for the wine trade, launches its service today for the UK market. Vitivio.com offers wine buyers and suppliers the opportunity to use a sophisticated online marketplace to buy and sell bottled wines. The internet-based service has been designed specifically for the wine trade after consulting many of the industry's leading companies.

"We are delighted to offer wine agencies and wholesalers the ability to sell and market products online to a broad range of trade customers," says Vitivio.com Managing Director, David Metcalfe. "By partnering with Vitivio.com, suppliers benefit from our internet expertise and online marketing skills and avoid the large cost and high risk of developing an in-house business-to-business website."

The service is free for all wine buyers, whether they are agencies, wholesalers, or restaurants. "Wine buyers gain from a free service offering vastly improved product availability, price and information details," adds Mr. Metcalfe.

Vitivio.com aims to be an engine for growth for the £7.2 billion UK wine industry - harnessing the power of the internet to help adopters of the service increase sales and build brands online. Market research firms like Forrester forecast that as much as 25% of business trade will be conducted online by 2005. Trade customers could be purchasing £500 million of wine online by 2005 - from virtually zero today.

"We have designed the website to cope with industry specific ways of doing business. This includes an easy-to-use replenishment service, price-shielding from competitors, minimum order levels, volume discounts, duty paid and in bond pricing, and a sample service," says Technology Director Peter Jasko. "The technology is robust and the website has been designed to operate as quickly as possible. We are focused on reducing the costs of doing business and increasing productivity."