Moa Gürbüzer worked as a therapist and sociologist for many years where she met many children harmed by their parents alcohol abuse. In 2013 she decided to drive change in the society's attitude towards alcohol by producing grapes from the best vineyards with traditional methods, and to liberate the alcohol from her wines.
Today her company Oddbird International develops, produces and distributes alcohol-free wines with sale around the world and the company has a revenue of EUR 3 million.
For her success in influencing the wine industry, Moa was awarded as the Innovator of the Year in Sweden, 2016 an award by King Carl XIV Gustaf for entrepreneurs with a foreign background who have created fast-growing growth companies. In 2019, Moa was named 'Female Shooting Star of the Year' by EY Entrepreneur of the Year.
As part of working for alcohol-free alternatives, Moa has started the podcast "Med eller utan" (With or Without) where the good and bad sides of alcohol are discussed with guests. Moa's vision is that the question "with or without alcohol" should become as obvious as "with or without milk in the coffee".
MOA GÜRBÜZER - ODDBIRD INTERNATIONAL
Why did you choose to develop alcohol-free wines?
- During my years as a sociologist and therapist, I worked a lot with alcohol-related family problems and I saw how the children in particular suffered. Children who live with alcoholic parents were insecure and anxious. In Sweden, around 100,000 children grow up in alcoholic homes, and it looks the same in many other countries. Alcohol has a central place in our celebration of holidays or other events, and many do not dare to say no due to fear of being left out. I don't want to ban alcohol, but I am determined to change the attitude long term.
How was it for you to start your own business after many years as an employee?
- I had worked as a therapist for many years, so it was certainly an adjustment. I had no business experience, I didn't even know how to write an invoice, but I had a conviction that I wanted to make a difference for people who were excluded and to the children I had met. I wanted to help break the norm by giving people good options when asked if they want wine with or without alcohol.
Is it difficult to change the attitude towards alcohol?
- Those who say no to alcohol often have to explain themselves and are considered boring, so it's important to be able to resist peer pressure. We produce good non-alcoholic wine and champagne that match well in taste with the alcoholic ones. More and more people are choosing alcohol-free for various reasons, and I hope that we can contribute to the continuation of the trend.
What makes Oddbird unique?
- First of all, we always start from our values, we want to change the attitude towards alcohol and not just sell a product. Secondly we make alcohol-free wines that taste like real wine, whether it's red, white, rosé or sparkling. All our wines are based on regular wine from hand-picked grapes from selected farms, and then aged in barrels according to tradition. When the wine is ready in terms of character and taste, we de-alcoholise it through a proprietary technology which means that the wine retains its natural flavors and aromas. That may sound simple, but it has been a long process.
Oddbird's wines contain no chemical additives, why is that important to you?
- We place high demands on everything from our producers' handling of raw materials to the quality and character of the final product. Our ambition is also, as far as possible, to produce wine in a natural process where the wine is allowed to ferment slowly. Our wines only contain carefully selected grape juice, grape sugar and the sulfites that form naturally during fermentation. We are also keen that the red wines contain high levels of resveratrol, which is a potent antioxidant that is good for the heart, anti-inflammatory and anti-viral. If any flavoring substance is added, it is always part of the content declaration.