We interviewed its president Billy Dim, who used his sommelier expertise to launch the company, which produces the wine on the Central Coast of California. “Blendtique was a means to help facilitate an interactive and educational tasting experience where enthusiasts could explore their likes and dislikes through fun, trial and error,” he explained.
Since it launched in 2013, they’ve sold 3,000 kits. Besides that, they’ve hosted blending competitions in places like onboard Celebrity Cruises, doctors’ conventions and corporate retreats.
Here’s what else he told us about…
How the Idea Came About
The Blendtique Program was originally conceived while I managed tasting rooms by day and tended bar by night, all while trying to study for my sommelier exam. Somewhere in the chaos, I realized there were too few ways for enthusiasts to engage the industry they love in a fun and creative way beyond their perhaps-all-too-infrequent trips to wine country. Let alone in this economy, if they could even afford to get there anymore. I knew there had to be a way to help bring more excitement into the homes of wine lovers year round.
Typically, wedding wines and special events account for about 25 percent of our custom wine purchasing, although we’re hoping to boost those numbers in the coming year. We also produce private label wines for restaurants, businesses, hotels, and hospitality programs, as well as host one-of-a-kind blending events, and ship individual case goods direct to consumer via Blendtique.com. The great thing about Blendtique is that we not only have an incredibly wide ranging demographic, because wine lovers are both male and female, ranging between the ages of 25 and 75, but in having a diverse concept, we also hope to appeal across multiple markets. Between retail, wholesale, blending events, weddings, corporate events, corporate gifting, and direct to consumer sales, we feel we’re just starting to scratch the surface of Blendtique’s potential.
The bestselling varieties, as in the most dominant grape varietals in many of our client’s blends, tend to be both Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. In many cases this is to be expected, as these particular varieties are bit more well-known and grow particularly well in our area. That said, some of my most favorite red blends are those where the “winemaker” takes some risk in blending multiple varieties oftentimes with grapes from differing regions, i.e. an obscure Rhone/Bordeaux of Grenaché and Cabernet, because oftentimes it’s in the creativity where a wine can genuinely take on a life of its own, and we ultimately discover something new.
Memorable Labels Created By Customers
Seeing the creative labels is almost as fun as seeing the creative wine blends. You’d be surprised how many people out there are determined to put their dog’s face on their favorite bottle of wine. I love the dogs. I love the family photos. I love the obscure take on Novella Noir designs, and even the silly sexy Labels. I love the fact that we get to spark people’s imaginations through our fun and interactive process on a daily basis.
How the ‘Tank’ Experience Came About Through an Online Application
After two years of hearing friends, family and complete strangers tell me I had to go on the show, I finally decided to apply blind by following the simple steps online. My initial submission was received a bit too late for Season 7, but I was thrilled to receive a follow-up email from a casting agent who remembered my product and asked if I’d be willing to consider applying for Season 8. The rest I guess is history, and I suppose we’ll see just how historic soon enough. Fingers crossed!
His Background in Wine
Over the past decade, I’ve pretty much had every job under the sun in the California wine industry. Honestly, I’m a big believer in diversifying your education to truly understand your business. In wine, unless you’re lucky enough to come from some pretty substantial circumstances, its all about the grind and love of wine to keep you moving forward. While some classic education is important, it was the experience I gained from working in cellars, running tasting rooms, handling wine clubs, managing sales and distribution, and then shifting to wine buying, managing restaurants, becoming a sommelier, a winemaker, and ultimately an entrepreneur that finally led me to Blendtique. I’ve always had a love of wine, but didn’t truly know it was the career I wanted until I was neck deep in it, and working with the extraordinary community of people here on the Central Coast of California has made it all the more enjoyable.
Other Tank products: