Naked Wines, a UK-based online wine retailer, is investing £5.5m to help 22 winemakers in the US and Australia to establish their own wine businesses.

Sam Plunkett, a maker of Shiraz in Australia at the 2010 Great Australian Shiraz Challenge, will receive $406,696 to set up his own label.

Also, California winemaker Randall Grahm will receive funds to develop a range of wines.

Naked Wines is investing $1.4m to create a winemaking studio in Napa, California, where winemakers will be making their wines.

All the funding, bottling, sales and distribution will be handled by Naked Wines.

Naked Wines founder Rowan Gormley said when they finally worked out that a $50 bottle of Napa Cabernet costs $10 to make, and they can sell it for $15, they knew they had no choice but to get in on the ground floor.

"By backing the talent behind the big names, and investing in top quality grapes, we will produce wines equal to the best, at a fraction of the price," Gormley said.

"With 100,000 Angels investing £2m a month with us, we have the financial firepower to kick-start some really exciting projects.

"We aim to allow American and Australian wine drinkers get access to these wines too, by opening low-key retail operations in both countries over the summer.

"We expect it will be some time before those markets are ready to try unknown wines from winemakers nobody has ever heard of, and our key focus remains investing in winemakers, but the retail interest will come, and we want to be ready when it does."