Stop, drop, and sip: Business owner beats the red-wine blues

Drop It is sold internationally through Amazon and in many US stores across half a dozen states. In 2018, her revenues jumped ten-fold, and she obtained an equity credit line of $50,000.

You would not know it now, but for years Jenny Corcoran couldn’t drink wine. Even a single glass would leave her with a piercing headache. “And, while a martini is not a bad option,” Corcoran jokingly adds, “it really just isn’t the same.” Today, wine is a huge part of Corcoran’s life and livelihood.

Using her background in biochemistry, the University of Maryland graduate began to explore the connection between sulfites (FDA-required additive in wines for preservative purposes since 1988) and tannins (naturally occurring in most red wine from the grapes themselves) and their relationship to the dreaded RWH or red wine headache. While anecdotal evidence suggested that many people shared her experience, scientific research yielded further proof that there is a connection.

Jenny spent roughly a year and a half developing a liquid that targets and neutralizes the sulfites and tannins in red wines. She’s quick to assure customers that Drop It won’t prevent a hangover, but it has been shown to decrease the average person’s sensitivity to the headache-producing tannins and sulfite. “I like to call it ‘prehab,’ not rehab,” says Jenny.

The start of Drop It was the epitome of grassroots. Her friends kept asking her about the small bottle she would produce at dinners and parties, and she would explain what Drop It was and how it worked. “I would tell them to stop by the house, bring a little bottle, and I would fix them right up,” recalls Jenny. “There was one point when I had so many people dropping by my house with small bottles for me to fill up I almost felt like a dealer of some sort!”

It was clear that Jenny was on to something with Drop It. She began selling Drop It in a local wine shop in Cape Charles. Interest and demand continued to grow.

In 2017, Jenny participated in the InnovateHER Business Challenge facilitated by Old Dominion University and the Small Business Administration. Through this challenge, she became a client of George Bryan, advisor with the Eastern Shore SBDC of Hampton Roads. “He outlined the importance of profit models and having things on paper,” says Jenny. “He has been an endless source of great ideas and, above all, of contacts,” she adds. “Every connection he has brought me has yielded countless others — it has truly been invaluable.”

Today Drop It sells worldwide on Amazon, as well as at wine shops, boutiques, and wine festivals throughout Virginia. “It makes me proud that this product goes out into the wide world from right here in tiny Cape Charles,” says Jenny. “But what I really love the most is getting a review or feedback from someone who can now enjoy a glass of wine with a loved one that perhaps couldn’t have happened before. I get letters all the time,” Jenny says with a smile, “saying please don’t ever stop making this.”

Virginia SBDC