Happy Monday everyone!
After finding out a little bit more about the online wine shop Wine Republic a couple of weeks ago, I’d like to introduce you today to the passionate duo behind the e-store, Kelly Wybrew (K) & Matt Bitter (M).
Hi Kelly, hi Matt, thanks a lot for your time. Let’s get started …
K: co-founder of Wine Republic (and Project Manager by day).
M: co-founder of Wine Republic (and Continuous Improvement Lead for a local winery by day).
Number of years in the wine industry:
Both 13 years.
K: picking grapes for our neighbour.
M: picking grapes for my uncle (the thing to do during school holidays).
Why did you decide to work in the wine industry?
We both grew up surrounded by wine, and it’s just one of our favourite things!
What’s your favourite thing about wine?
K: There’s always something new to learn, it’s never-ending. And you can never get bored with it. M: The variety – the people, the places and the wine itself. As Kelly said, it’s pretty difficult to get bored with!
What’s so special about New Zealand wine?
New Zealand produces less than 1% of the world’s wine, but our reputation for producing premium, beautiful wines is continually growing, which is pretty impressive. There are so many passionate winemakers here who are doing really exciting, interesting things… you just have to find them! And that’s primarily what we’re trying to do, help people discover them :)
If you were a wine, what wine would you be and why?
K: Riesling – so good in so many ways, and often mistaken for something sweeter than it really is!
M: an imported Barossa Shiraz, which (hopefully) gets better with age…
Wine & dine, what’s your favourite match?
Combinations that surprise, and enhance both the meal and the wine… the other night we tried a Pinot Blanc from Nelson with an Ottolenghi recipe of Cardamom rice with poached eggs and yoghurt… sounds slightly odd, tasted ridiculously amazing!
What’s your go to wine at the moment?
K: Riesling. Summer/Winter, I can’t get enough of it! One of my favourites is by a Canterbury-based producer we feature, True & Daring. So tasty.
M: with the onset of winter I can’t go past a big red such as a Hawke’s Bay Cabernet or a silky Martinborough Pinot Noir.
Share a fact about you that only a few know:
M: I can open a bottle of wine under cork, with just a boot… it’s an impressive party trick!
K: I’ve studied international politics, industrial design, publishing and construction management, as well as wine studies… I tend to get bored easily…
Favourite spots in Auckland:
We love the food culture in Auckland, and living near Ponsonby spend a part of each weekend mooching around! But we also love getting away to Whangamata when we can… nothing beats hitting the Coromandel.
Things you still want to do:
So much of New Zealand we still have to explore! Next up on the list is Tongariro Crossing.
Highlight in 2014:
Launching Wine Republic.
Last book read:
K: The Denizen magazine – does a magazine count?!
M: Personal MBA by Josh Kaufman.
Advice on buying wine:
Don’t be afraid to try new things! Go to tastings, try varieties you’ve never heard of, learn what you really do (and don’t) like. Wine is a personal thing – don’t be swayed by points or medals or crazy wine jargon – if you think it’s tasty and want to drink an entire bottle, then that’s what matters!
Dead or alive, who would you like to share a glass of vino with?
It may sound trite, but family and friends, every time. And perhaps Jimmy Fallon, we love him.