After spending an interesting day with an uber cool bunch of creatives, we were reliably informed that we were a challenger brand in a bull market. “You need a back story”, the energetic hipsters said. “Most clients just make theirs up”. Ours happens to be true - although we’ll add to it over time!
A glorious day, an empty beach, freshly caught shrimp, crab, mackerel and no wine!
While Tim and I gutted fish, lit a fire and kept the kids from capsizing - we are manly like that – the girls magnanimously volunteered to go shopping.
An experience akin to The Clash’s “Lost in the Supermarket” followed. “Unable to shop happily”, they returned exhausted and together we toasted the setting sun with something described as “Good with Fish”
“You should have gone yourself”, said Katie.
They had encountered a common conundrum. Paralysed in the face of so much choice, many a wine consumer is forced to settle for fail safe, special offers, a pretty label or just getting “something French to be on the safe side”. Subsequent market research confirmed this to be fact. “You should help” said my wife, “what’s the use of all that knowledge and experience if all you do is bang on about it at the dinner table”. She had a point, I should have gone to the shops myself.
Like the “King of Pop”, we wanted to be starting something and online was our preferred route. Playing shop meant less time playing with surfboards - but we were about to encounter some serious brainache. Online wine sites boasted exhaustive drop down menus, sorted by country, region, style, colour and price. A myriad, miniscule, bottles floating in white space flashed before our eyes, together with enough multi coloured offers and jumbled visuals to make a maniacally bill postered wall look minimalist. I struggled to get beyond the home pages and I’d failed my MW theory.
“There’s no emotion” said Katie (a rabid and evangelical foodie), “You can’t weigh it, touch it or squeeze it like food. It’s impossible to physically interact with a bottle of wine until you open it and drink it”. She had a point, some feeling was desperately required.
“How are you to know if it’s an interesting, stylish and delicious drink - designed to go with food rather than dominate it - or an over produced, neutral, alcoholic and sugar - driven monster, deliberately created for mass market appeal” – She didn’t say that, I did.
Essentially it all comes down to pleasure. We believe that approaching wine in a careful and thoughtful way, informed by food and occasion, increases the pleasure derived from it. Over processed, over produced wine is like its equivalent in food - it just doesn’t make you feel good!
So we did something, we started a wine and food matching company called bybo. It’s not like “A Man Called Horse”, but it’s just as emotive. It’s not really a hobby, although it does keep us off the streets, nor is it a desire to do a good deed - we have always considered ourselves selfish rather than philanthropic - but we do have a mission. We want to sell quality wine to people who care about value rather than price, supporting growers and producers to ensure they stay connected to the land and environment in which they work. We oppose a mono – branded world by favouring slow rather than fast food, field over factory, local above global. Phew, that’s philanthropic. Truth is, we just want to make enough money to spend more time at the beach. Got to go the tides on the turn.
Catch up with Jules' other musings at http://thesprezzaturist.me/