Fresh off of the Taste of London Festival 2016, Pulp Wines is reaching out to discerning wine-lovers with their new wine tasting programme. We asked the marketing team at Pulp Wines a few questions about their company and a very unique approach to choosing your favourite wine.
Q. Could you tell us a little about the company’s founder?
Paolo Zanelli, our founder, CEO and a sommelier, was born and raised in Friuli, a wine region in the North-East of Italy, famous for its Pinot Grigios and other internationally acclaimed whites like Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. He grew up surrounded by wine makers, and so wine has always been a passion for him. When he first came to the UK seven years ago he was fascinated by how many people wanted to learn more about wine. There was always talk about intimidation at a restaurant about the moment of choosing wine or trying to pick a bottle at a wine shop aisle from hundreds of wine labels. His wine making friends had kept telling him how they wished that customers could understand quality so they could talk as peers. So the idea was born that the two could finally meet half way, and that there was a way to help people learn about wine and for the producers to talk to their customers directly. That’s how Pulp Wine was born.
Q. When was Pulp Wines established? How long have you been trading?
The company started in January this year and we trialled our prototype learning course for the past 5 months with our brave ‘wine testers’. We’re releasing our first box to general public ahead of Christmas (in mid-December).
Q. How did the concept of a tasting programme for Pulp Wines come about?
Paolo, our CEO, kept constantly being asked by his friends how he learnt about wine and whether it’s hard / impossible to learn about wine. His answer has always been: ‘It’s easy! The best way to learn about wine is by drinking it!’ Now, what we’re doing is just adding a fun element to the game of drinking by having introduced blind tasting bottles (two whites and two reds) where we cover the original labels, aroma/flavour samples to show you what the wine smells/tastes like, and a short video to give you the basics of wine learning in each box.
Q. What exactly does the term ‘taste profile’ mean?
We know we are all different. Some of us have a sweet tooth and can’t live without a candy treat a day, whereas others could go months without having chocolate but are constantly craving salty crisps. It’s the same with wine. One might like stronger, fruitier notes whereas another person would prefer quite tannic and aged wine. And that’s what our wine ‘taste profile’ is – it is your personalised identikit of smell / taste preferences that we collect in order to recommend you the wines that fit your palette perfectly. Every time.
Q. Do you have to be an experienced and seasoned wine taster to benefit from your products and the tasting programme?
Not at all! It’s actually the opposite – our fun tasting boxes are aimed at wine novices – people who like wine but get scared or intimidated to choose wine at a restaurant or at a wine shop. By delivering wines at home we make it easy for people to understand their preferences and taste in the comfort of their own homes – they can take time to smell and understand wines and most importantly make a comparison between the wines. We remove the intimidation factor by showing the simple important facts to know about wine – No jargon, no snobbery.
Q. Are there any special offers on your range?
We have different price ranges on whether one goes for a subscription or a gift box. On all of them we offer £5 off the first box We also give a 15% discount for those who purchase a gift set of 3 boxes.
Q. How did customers respond to your product at the recent Taste of London Festival?
Oh they absolutely loved it! In today’s day and age we constantly get bombarded with visual and auditory information but less rarely (for wines) with olfactory one. What we were trying to do at Taste of London is to play a little game of ‘blind smelling’ by challenging people’s sense of smell, ie letting them guess what they were smelling without actually seeing what it was. A lot of us can guess a smell of coffee when they sense it, but what about a pine apple? Or a passion fruit? Without visual input, only around 10% of people guessed smells that we presented to them correctly. This way, we were then quite easily able to explain what we do – teach about wine through people’s sense of smell and taste, without the labels that would bias them. Out of the 300+ people we talked to, the vast majority found our product quite interesting and innovative – and they wanted to have it at their table for Christmas in order to play the game of guess with their loved ones.
Q. The Christmas season is fast approaching. Are we right in believing that will be your busiest period of the year?
Since it’s our first Christmas season, we don’t really have a way to compare but Taste of London proved our boxes can be a perfect gift, especially to use as a fun game to play on a Christmas day. We have seen a pickup in interest for gift boxes in the weeks leading up to Christmas.
Q. What’s your personal favourite wine range? Are you allowed to say or does that give the game away?
Our team is quite diverse in terms of their taste preferences. Our sommelier Paolo likes experimenting with exotic grapes – his favourite reds are a Nebbiolo and a Pinot Noir, but he likes to be challenged with less known wines. When he travelled around Lebanon trying Lebanese wines, he came back with a love for Chateau Musar. Being originally from the North-East of Italy – where the country’s best white wines come from – unsurprisingly his favourite white is Friulano, a local grape of great body and savoury taste. For those who are still trying to find their favourite wine, Paolo’s most important advice is not to be intimidated – it’s all about tasting and learning and continuously discovering new wines. That’s what ultimately we are about – giving people confidence to try new things and find wines they will like
Q. Do you trade from a London retail address where our readers can pop in or perhaps a website they can source for further info?
It’s 2016 so we are staying in tune with times – you can only find us online at www.pulp.wine.