Tag: Wine Republic

Kelly & Matt, the duo behind Wine Republic

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.

First Job:
K: picking grapes for our neighbour.
M: picking grapes for my uncle (the thing to do during school holidays).

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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…

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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.

Make sure you visit Wine Republic and follow them on Facebook | Twitter & Instagram.


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Wine Republic – the NZ wine shop with a difference

Sip Bits: Wine FAQ Vol. 1

Wine Republic is an online wine store with a difference. Hand selected wines from boutique wineries, a fresh new look and take on wine e-commerce with a strong social media presence.

Let’s find out more about this handsome online shop from its founders Kelly & Matt:

Tell us a bit about Wine Republic:
With Wine Republic, we’re aiming to represent the best of what artisanal, small winemakers are doing in New Zealand. We have some great small growers and makers of really beautiful, high quality, interesting wines – that wine drinkers in New Zealand have yet to discover!

Basically we want to act as a platform to introduce these wines to people who want to enjoy better, more interesting wine.

When & why did you start it and what is your point of difference to other online wine shops?
We launched at the end of last year, after deliberating over a year or two of whether we were actually going to do this or not! Growing up in the Barossa Valley, wine is a part of life, and we were exposed to some fantastic little-known wines.

When we moved to New Zealand five years ago, we were excited to see what New Zealand wines were all about, but felt there wasn’t much exposure for the little guys over here – we wanted to find these hidden gems, and figured there must be others out there looking for them too!

Point of difference:
We’re trying to bring a more fresh approach to the online wine retail space. We focus on bringing people an interesting, premium selection of little-known New Zealand wines that are hard to find anywhere else.

We personally hand-pick and taste each and every wine we feature, and write all of our own tasting notes from a personal perspective – if it’s not something we would drink, we don’t feature it!

Highs and low of e-commerce:
Highs: the online presence enables us to reach so many more people around New Zealand than a bricks & mortar shop. Social media is a great way of getting people to find out about us and we enjoy the interaction.

Lows: On the flipside, not being able to meet all our customers face to face. And it’s a tad hard to taste wine online, so building trust with our customers, and describing what we feel a wine is truly like is paramount. And coding! Who even understands that stuff?!

Who is the designer and who is the programmer?
We’re both involved in the design of the site, we designed our own branding, all the photos we take ourselves and we’re really striving to create a beautiful, user-friendly site. We work with a local guy who helps us with all the advanced programming stuff we just don’t understand (see ‘Lows’ above!)

Who is your target customer – apart from the one who spends all his money in your shop :)
People like us really! Other like-minded folk who want to try something different and interesting, and aren’t afraid of experimenting with new varieties, or trying something new in the quest for finding that next favourite drop :)

Next week you’ll have the chance to find out more about the founders Kelly & Matt – so keep an eye out for their Q&A!

In the meantime head over to Wine Republic now and check out their selection of boutique New Zealand wines and follow them on Facebook | Twitter & Instagram.


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