Master Your Wine with Bob Paulinski, MW of Stellar Bottles


by Drew Hendricks
Last updated Aug 31, 2021

Legends Behind the Craft Podcast
Bob Paulinski

Bob Paulinski, MW is a Master of Wine and Founder of Stellar Bottles. The Masters of Wine exam is one of the toughest tests in any field, and when Bob passed in 2002, he became the 19th North American Master of Wine since the organization’s start in 1953. His company, Stellar Bottles, is a web-based wine subscription that provides an array of handcrafted wines delivered to your door. The wines are handpicked by Bob to guarantee a pure and delicious experience.

His love of wine started with a 66 Chateau Cantenac Brown while working at a Detroit wine shop, and since then, his palate has expanded to encompass corporate roles with Sam’s Club US and Winn-Dixie. Bob is also an expert in branding, marketing, and independent retail and provides consulting services to help wine businesses achieve their goals.

Available_Black copy
Available_Black copy
partner-share-lg
partner-share-lg
partner-share-lg
partner-share-lg
Available_Black copy
partner-share-lg
partner-share-lg
 

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • Bob Paulinski, MW talks about his wine startup and the satisfaction of building a brand
  • The odyssey of the exam and Bob’s motivation behind the Masters of Wine program
  • How running a business sharpened Bob’s palate for traditional wine
  • Advice for pursuing the Masters of Wine program
  • The corporate and entrepreneurial doors that opened for Bob
  • How the millennial generation is evolving the wine industry
  • The rise of the private label wine space
  • Bob discusses his next project and shares tips to build a successful brand
  • What’s in Bob’s cup — and on his shelf?

In this episode with Bob Paulinski, MW

Are you looking to revamp your brand? Do you want to wash off the preconceived notion that you need to know something to enjoy it?

Bob Paulinski, MW is a Master of Wine and has all the bases covered in wine tasting. He believes that wine enhances life and has spent his career dedicated to the innovation of wine. Today, he is here to tell you that you don’t need to know how to play music to enjoy it — and this transcends to wine. Bob knows that for a brand to truly stand out, and have a loyal, solid audience, it needs to have character. 

On this episode of the Legends Behind the Craft podcast, Drew Hendricks talks with Bob Paulinski, MW, Founder of Stellar Bottles, about the emotive link between wine and consumption. They discuss using deductive reasoning to discover wine, how to understand and capture the uniqueness of wine, and what is fermenting in the wine industry today. Stay tuned.

Resources Mentioned in this episode

Sponsor for this episode…

This episode is brought to you by Barrels Ahead.

Barrels Ahead is a wine and craft marketing agency that propels organic growth by using a powerful combination of content development, Search Engine Optimization, and paid search.

At Barrels Ahead, we know that your business is unique. That’s why we work with you to create a one-of-a-kind marketing strategy that highlights your authenticity, tells your story, and makes your business stand out from your competitors.

Our team at Barrels Ahead helps you leverage your knowledge so you can enjoy the results and revenue your business deserves.

So, what are you waiting for? Unlock your results today!

To learn more, visit barrelsahead.com or email us at hello@barrelsahead.com to schedule a strategy call.

Episode Transcript

Intro 0:03

Welcome to the Legends Behind the Craft podcast where we feature top leaders in the wine and craft beverage industry, with your host, Drew Hendricks. Now let’s get started with the show.

Drew Hendricks 0:20

Drew Hendricks here I’m the host of the Legends Behind the Craft podcast where I talk with leaders in the wine and craft beverage industry, from sensory design experts like Dr. Hoby Wedler, who helps brands think beyond the visual. Today’s guest Bob Paulinski is one of only about 45 masters of wine in North America. Today’s episode is sponsored by Barrels Ahead. Barrels Ahead, we work with you to implement a one of a kind marketing strategy. When that highlights your authenticity, tells your story and connects you with your ideal customers. In short, if you’re a business looking to retain a winery or craft beverage producers a client Barrels Ahead we’ll figure out a plan to make it happen. Go to barrelsahead.com today to learn more. Now before I introduce today’s guests, I want to give a big thank you to Blake Hershey from Sippd on last week’s show, Blake and I talked about how Sippd is using product lead growth. to rapidly build this customer base. Check out last week’s show to learn how this growth bundle might be the right choice for your new venture. I am super excited to talk to today’s guest, Bob Paulinski. Now, Bob’s only one of about 45 masters of wine in North America. If you don’t know the Masters wine exam, is one of the toughest test to pass in any field. In fact, when Bob passed the exam back in 2002, he broke a four year drought of no one passing in North America, becoming masters wine launched a second career in wine that has taken him across the wine world. I’m super excited to talk with Bob today about his latest ventures. Welcome to the show, Bob.

Bob Paulinski 1:48

Hey, Drew, thank you so much for having me here today.

Drew Hendricks 1:51

I thank you so much for being on. So Bob, tell us how did you get in the wine industry?

Bob Paulinski 1:57

Drew this is an unlikely path. I’m a kid that grew up in Detroit, Polish family blue collar. Wine was never part of our life in any way, shape, or form. We were beer, vodka, whiskey, all the things that you would expect in in that type of home. And anyway, it was a high school kid, I landed a job in Metro Detroit wine shop, very nice wine shop. And there I became friends with a person who was semi retired. The person was a wine geek to no end. And we became friends. And then one day, he’s in his office. He’s having a late night supper like he had every night. And he called me over and said, hey, I’ve got something for you to try. He had this glass of red wine here trying to tell me what you think. Through I tell you, I tasted the wine. And I just about retched. Was it was god awful. He burst he burst out laughing. And he said here I have something for you. And it was a book vault Alexis Lichine Encyclopedia of Wine and Oh, yes. Yeah, yeah. It’s a doorstop. But in its day, it was the gold standard as a reference book. He gave me the book. I went home, I read about the wine, by the way, the wine was a 66. Chateau Cantenac Brown is, if there’s any around today, that potentially is still an amazing bottle of wine. Really. Anyway, we came back the next day. And I said, you know, I’ve read about this one. I’ve read about some other ones. And this has really caught my interest. There’s, there’s something here about science and art, business. There’s a culinary connection, there’s a religious connection. It’s all these places around the world that I hope someday I can go to. So that was my big aha moment.

Drew Hendricks 3:58

That’s fantastic. Yeah, I had a similar one. I had a graduate degree in philosophy and add a Greek and really didn’t drink too much wine until I got a job as a stock boy, and grabbed a similar book. I don’t know if his alexus machines, but it’s one of those books that was published somewhere around 1975. It is just oh yeah, it sounds very, very soon and then just immediately kind of shifted from philosophy into just learning everything I could about it about wine, it was fantastic.

Bob Paulinski 4:29

Well, and so very much the same for me. So I started as a stock Boy, you know, I drove a truck, I did all the grunt work, you would expect the kid to do it. And then I spent five years in that in that shop. And last year, I became the store manager and I was just fully fully, you know, it embraced in the topic, and I just found it absolutely the most fascinating thing and then at age 23 I had this harebrained idea of, I can open my own shop and do this on my own, myself, Oh, man, well, armed with a huge amount of enthusiasm and a will to succeed, but not with the business skill set that was needed. I struggled for a good solid four years of just paying the bills and, and trying to get the business to move forward. And it was very much a dinosaur sort of business model. It was one where it was brick and mortar. I knew virtually everyone who walked in the door, I had sold everything told a story. And it was a very slow, long grind to get that business up and running. And after about four years or so that business took off, and I ran it for a total of 16 years. So amazing. And the place flourished year after year after the the early struggles. And I sold the business in 2003. or excuse me, 2002 just before I passed the BMW program. Oh, wow. And that’s what launched me into a whole different career, which was the the corporate world.

Drew Hendricks 6:18

I get it. Now. That’s amazing. that’s a that’s a great story. You don’t hear too many of them. As much as I love independent wine stores. I’ve worked with them for the last 30 years. It’s very tough to achieve the success that you guys had coming at. You got to really know what you’re doing.

Bob Paulinski 6:32

Well, and there’s this commitment piece. It’s nights, weekends, holidays, you’re not feeling well, if it’s a small business and you’re the face of the business. You need to be there.

Drew Hendricks 6:42

Like the Thanksgiving the day before Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving Day. We’re not Thanksgiving Day, but the day before Thanksgiving and one of the busiest wine days of the year. You want to be out with your family, but it’s absolutely it’s sales time.

Bob Paulinski 6:56

Absolutely. Yeah. And back in that time. The day before Thanksgiving, people are all buying nouveau Beaujolais the fan of the day.

Drew Hendricks 7:07

Three you’re trying you’re trying your hardest to sell the last case in New Bobo’s Really? wondering, wondering if you bought too many cases. So true. So true. So gotcha. So you studied for the masters of wine? How did that? Where did the idea come to start studying for it? And how did that go? I’ve been dying to talk with someone about this.

Bob Paulinski 7:27

Okay, so So this came about after my business was well established. business was rock solid things were moving along. And my, my now ex wife suggested this to me one day, she found a an article in some magazine and said, I think you need a challenge. Why don’t you give this a shot. I had no idea what the master wine program was at that point. This is back in the mid 90s. And I did a bit of research and it caught my interest. And I thought, Okay, this looks incredibly difficult. But it also seems to be something that would be extremely gratifying. If I’m fortunate enough to make my way through it, perhaps this can open up some some opportunities. And the following year, I signed up for a course and ended up going into the year one program. And it was initiation by fire. Oh, man. Now, how many of your program is it? educate us on this? Well, there is no specific timeframe on this. But the way that it works, and he can, the rules can change a bit from year to year. So these things are a little bit of a bit of a moving target. But typically, the way this plays out is there’s a year one program. And after that year one program, there’s an assessment, a mini exam of sorts. And if you perform at an inadequate level to move to the next year, you’re given the green light, you may be asked to come back and reset your one. You may be asked to maybe sit out a year. Now the vast majority of people who go into the MW program have actually gone through the diploma piece on the Ws CT. So the Ws CT and the MW program even though they’re separately administered programs, it’s like the Ws CT is the stepping stone into the MW program.

Drew Hendricks 9:36

Oh, I get so it’s kind of the undergraduate program and then you got the MW is the graduate school.

Bob Paulinski 9:42

In a matter of speaking, yes, yes. So with the exam itself. It’s a multiple day exam. And it’s it’s a written exam it back when I took it, it was handwritten. Now most everyone is sitting at a stripped down laptop. But with when I sat it, it was all handwritten. There are three morning sessions. And the three morning sessions include the blind tasting. And generally speaking, there are 12 lines per day. And the questions will vary. You know, you may get questions as to specific grape varietals, vintage method of production, influence of weather market position, most anything is fair game, as long as it’s something that you can actually detect in the glass. And oftentimes, you’ll be asked to identify, not so much a specific producer, but it may tie back, if it’s a classic region, for instance, it may tie back to a specific appellation in Bordeaux, for instance. And you’d have to say sannomiya, Leon, and then give the reasons as to why you came to that end result. Then there’s also multiple days of written essays. And the written essays can cover topics that would pertain to the vendor, the seller, social issues, the business of wine, health, a whole variety of topics, and then a dissertation. Man,

Drew Hendricks 11:20

what would you say is it’s got such a low pass rate, what what, what is it every bit of these components that contributes to the low pass rate? Or is there one that’s like more challenging the others, that seems to be the the big hurdle but when someone’s past that,

Bob Paulinski 11:34

you know, it’s different for each individual. I spent some time down in Southern California a couple weeks ago, with a MW buddy of mine, Patrick, feral, and Patrick was talking about how he struggled with the tasting. Well, for me, the tasting was relatively easy, because it was something that was part of my everyday job. When I say relatively easy. That’s a lie, it was not easy. But by comparison to the written part of the exam, I had more confidence in the blind tasting. What happens oftentimes, though, is someone may enter the program, and they could be a subject matter expert on a limited range of topics. Well, that will never be enough to get you through the MSW program. It’s about having a global perspective, and understanding how to solve problems in various parts of the world based on whatever the circumstance may be. Sure.

Drew Hendricks 12:35

Actually, you had a big leg up though running, running your own wine store, you had access to a number of lines that the average person wouldn’t have access to, even if you’re running it in a restaurant with the amount of just tasting wines for the store and going through all the bad bottles to get to the good ones that you chose for the store really honed your palate, I would imagine.

Bob Paulinski 12:55

It’s true, it becomes a lot of repetition. And for me, what I always focused on were the traditional growing regions. So you know, all the classic European regions, and then the New World areas that really established themselves. It could be places like Napa, Marlborough and Stellenbosch and Michael Valley, and places like that. But knowing the classics is absolutely critical,

Drew Hendricks 13:24

it doesn’t really focus on the classics, I can but what percentage now is the new world wines that are just now coming to market here that people may not be as familiar with.

Bob Paulinski 13:34

With this exam, you never know. And it’s a matter of having all the bases covered, because anything and everything is fair game. But knowing the classics, for me, it provided a good reference point to everything else. Sure. And, and when you go through the tasting, for instance, for a lot of them W’s, for a lot of students, they go through a process called funneling. And that’s essentially taking all the possibilities that are particular wine may be and then it’s deductive reasoning, to start eliminating options and you start to eliminate based on you’re looking at color, acidity, alcohol, you know, there’s a whole number of factors and they start to take you down a path and then eventually at the end, you take a leap of faith and say I believe it’s this but you take the examiner on a path from start to finish to show how you got to that flow.

Drew Hendricks 14:35

Is that so if even if you may be found at the wrong answer, but you had the right deductive reasoning, do you get partial credit?

Bob Paulinski 14:44

Absolutely. Yes. Yes. It’s all a matter of making your case and if your case is logical, and it’s on point, yes you do get credit for for it. That is not as much as hitting it on the head. But it certainly does get you in the right direction.

Drew Hendricks 15:03

That’s fantastic. What I’m actually happy to know that because there is I mean, there is a right answer wrong answer. But there’s so many different levels of interpretation as you go through the deduction, to be able to reward someone for having that proper thought process. That’s good. What advice? So someone today considering to start studying and passing the Masters one exam? What advice would you give for them give them?

Bob Paulinski 15:29

Well, you know, first off, just in your personal life, having having the time having the money, being in a position in your life, where you can dedicate the time to it, because for me, and I believe this is true for many, it’s like a second full time job. In most cases, it takes years to work your way through the program, if you pass all that, so it’s a huge commitment. The other piece is having this desire to to always learn and realize that some of the things that you may have held near and dear may actually not be true. So being open minded and and understanding that problems can be solved in different ways with a successful conclusion. But the recipe for that may not always be the same. And so having that firsthand knowledge of, you know, traveling extensively, and visiting regions and understanding why the wines are the way they are, is critically important. And the exam is always looking for a global perspective. So if you compare and contrast if you compare and contrast Marlboro to laoire, for instance, okay, you’ve may say, predominantly Sauvignon Blanc in these two regions. But how the wines are made, how they express themselves are very different. And understanding that, and that times 1000 other scenarios. But that sort of mindset is what’s needed.

Drew Hendricks 17:15

That’s, that’s fantastic advice. Now, once you got the Masters, one, what sort of doors did it open for you? What happened after, after your past?

Bob Paulinski 17:23

Well, after the after I passed, I sold my business. And my intent was to go into the corporate world. So I held a number of corporate jobs in the US where I was director of beverage alcohol for large retailers and had, you know, in one case was a like a billion dollar p&l, which is mind blowing for a guy that had a small business. So you know, culture shock in that regard. But what it did do is open up opportunities for a lot of these corporate roles. It’s how I ended up out in California. And eventually, I was recruited by a company in Australia. And I lived in Australia for a couple of years. And Melbourne, I live there in 2017 2018. And so fairly recently, and it’s given opportunities to explore the wine world in ways that I could have never imagined. And then also being in a corporate environments. Look, it’s all based on performance and hitting numbers, it would wouldn’t matter if it’s if it’s wine or, you know, any other commodity. Then when I came back to the States, it was time for me to get back into some sort of entrepreneurial role. So that’s when I started a direct to consumer econ business, which is somewhat like my old retail store. artisinal small production, eco friendly type producers, things you’re not going to find in big box. I work on a number of consulting projects. And there’s been a lot of those during the pandemic that have popped up. So that’s keeping me busy. And then I’m an old guy who’s going to try to launch a YouTube channel. So yeah, what’s the focus of the YouTube channel? I really to like a wine education type of of site, but one that’s kind of light hearted and one that looks at wine in a very non pretentious way, trying to make it more inviting to people easy to understand, and hopefully enticing people to try new and different things and just explore.

Drew Hendricks 19:47

That’s so important that removing the pretension from mine is one of the biggest challenges that I’ve seen over the last 10 years or many years. Even when I got back into the industry in 93. There was still that level of

Academic pretentiousness. It may call it, what have you seen over the last 20 years going through through the line or 30 years, as you’ve seen the industry evolve?

Bob Paulinski 20:12

Oh, there’s been certainly a lot of changes and talking about this. If you want to call it this, this pretentious aspect, I think much of this has really been put to rest in recent years. As you have this millennial generation coming on board, a lot of these roles are just been thrown out the window. And you know, I guess depends on what side of the fence you’re on whether you look at that as a positive or a negative. For me, I think it’s much more of a positive. Oh, yes, it is, people are going to be more interested in in trying wine because there’s less barriers. And there’s not this preconceived notion that you need to know something in order to enjoy it. You know, it’s a little bit like, you know, with like music, for instance, yeah, I listened to, I love listening to music. I can’t play an instrument, I can’t read music. But in my own way, I can enjoy it in a way where it enhances my life. Sure. But in terms of trends in the business, you know, the wine business is one where there is a lot of like trends and a lot of fads that go through a period of time where they’re hot, and then they fade. And if, if you look at the last 25 years or so if you look at what is happening in the UK, it’s oftentimes a very clear marker to what’s going to happen in the rest of the world. And if you go back to the days when muscato just was starting to become a thing. You found that in the UK a couple of years before it hit the states and a couple more years after that before I hit a place like Australia. Same thing happened with Mel back when Argentina really became a player in that space. More recently with Prosecco. You found that in the UK before it made its way to the US and in a strong way. And certainly with rose. You know, rose was big 40 years ago and now it’s back again and everyone in my uncle’s making a rose. But if you look at at the UK, some years ago, all the signs were there that it was coming to the US. So my feeling going forward. is the next thing I see being big here. I think Cava is positioned perfectly from Spain. Oh, yeah.

Drew Hendricks 22:51

I was thinking Kava from Fiji. There’s there’s their that’s their national drink. I don’t know why I went there.

Bob Paulinski 23:00

Okay, you’re you’ve you’ve got one on me. Cava, Cava from Spain, the quality is there, the volume is there. And I think that’s just really positioned. Well, the take off, it’s already a strong player, but I think it’s going to go from strong to much stronger. And the only thing that’s got amazing potential is unrealized to a large extent in the US is the is private label line. You know, walk into a UK supermarket walk into Tesco, for instance, more than half of what they sell is Tesco label or walk into a dispenser and virtually everything is is their own label. And in the States, you’re seeing more of that. You know, places like Costco with Kirkland, you know, they’ve they’ve done a strong, really strong job with that.

Drew Hendricks 23:59

Trader Joe’s has a has their strong line of their private labels.

Bob Paulinski 24:03

Well, yeah, the ever popular two buck Chuck charm shop. But there’s, you know, it goes way beyond that as well. But their private label space. This is where a lot of retailers are going today. And it gives them something that’s exclusive, something they can market without worrying about competition. And the truth is, in many cases, they’re going to make stronger margins on it, which is going to help their their bottom line. If they do it. Well. It really plays into what’s happening in the rest of the store. You know, you see private label product, whether you’re buying you know, pasta or whatever. Oh, yeah, we’re already so it’s not that much of a leap.

Drew Hendricks 24:46

Yeah, we are back in the day at a private label company, Vento act, but that’s another story. The trend that I do see is back in back in, you know, the late 90s 2000. A lot of the private labels were so designed that they didn’t look like private labels, you couldn’t tell that it was a private label, it looked like a seller, it looked like a winery to the average person on the Shelf. Today, you see, like the Kirkland brand, you see the Trader Joe’s brand in the stores are actually attaching their name to the to the wine.

Bob Paulinski 25:15

In some cases, yes. In some cases, yes. You know, every retailer has got a different approach on it. But from what I can see, the, the appeal that private label brings, is just climbing quickly. So I think it’s going to become a much stronger player. And look, there’s there’s companies that are set up all over the place. Now they’re built just for that purpose. All these custom crush operations, they’re everywhere. And you know, it’s, it’s coming. So if you’re a brand owner, you know, it’s prepare yourself because the competitive landscape is going to shift. That’s great advice.

Drew Hendricks 26:00

What here’s, here’s a question, with the latest trend towards sell authors. And, you know, Spiked tonics. The wine industry is now that cutting into the wines market share, where do you how do you think wine should be positioning itself in relation to you know, the seltzer market and spike tonics?

Bob Paulinski 26:20

Yeah, well, for starters, look until very, very recently, the wine industry was a dinosaur when it came to innovation. And, you know, very, very stagnant in terms of how it looked at, at people who were buying the, you know, their product. And it’s a little bit of trying to play game of catch up at this point. You know, I’ve seen that there’s, there’s some other products that are coming out, now they’re going to be wine based, and they’re going to be flavored with, it could be with some sort of fruit juice or some other type of additive. I think that’s partly going to try to counter what you’ve seen with with seltzers. But seltzer has just changed the industry, you know, it’s come on so quickly, and it’s been so strong. For the wine industry, it’s been very reactive instead of proactive, you know, I think it’ll sort itself out and wines always going to have a place. Someone who’s sorted out the quickest, and the most efficient is going to be the one who reaps the benefit. So

Drew Hendricks 27:29

we talked about it a lot at the Oregon Wine Expo, not this year. But last year was really there. That was a huge topic and a lot of the talks and symposiums in the midst that were not the missing but the conception among the gen Z’s. Millennials that seltzer is a much more healthy beverage is was shocking to the wine because wine was always considered the healthy, the healthy alternative. But to the kids today that were re kind of raised on juice is bad juice is bad. Wine is just basically alcoholic juice. And then they see the seltzer as water with alcohol and being a little more healthy. And the challenge is how does wine you know that putting the ingredients on the label? How does wine kind of store that kind of self perception with the with the youth?

Bob Paulinski 28:18

You know? Wow, okay, you you’ve caught the old guy a little flat footed. What I would say to that is one counter to that is something that’s already starting to play out. And that is this this movement or it’s much more eco friendly product or wine, you know, you’re finding there, there’s a very quick growth in organically grown fruit. You know, wines made with with no enzymes, there’s no coloring agents. You know, indigenous yeast is something that’s becoming much more common, even though in some places, that’s extremely challenging to happen. But you’re finding that bill. Also, even the vegan piece of it, it’s hard to believe but you know, there’s there’s still wines out there that are truly not vegan. So there’s some changes going on there. As you mentioned, with the labeling. I’ve seen some brands that have gone out and, you know, they’re actually listing all the ingredients on the label. So transparency, I think is a step in the right direction.

Drew Hendricks 29:31

That’s That’s excellent advice. So shifting a little bit. So Bob, tell me about some of your latest ventures you mentioned. Do you have the you have that online wine marketplace with artisans stores? That’s called Stellar Bottles, I believe. Correct? Yes. Talk to me about some of these ventures we in the pre show. I was pretty excited to hear about him.

Bob Paulinski 29:48

So let’s say what I’m working on that I think is really interesting. It’s a brand that’s been around for about five years. It’s called tattoo girl. Oh, and it’s a wine list. In Washington states, there’s five wines that make up the brand as a Riesling, Chardonnay, rosae red blend and a Cabernet Sauvignon. I’m the guy who put together the final blends. I’ve worked with the winemakers on it. But the project I find interesting because it’s, it’s a brand, even just the name of it conjures up this image of being very individualistic and expressive, and, and my intent is the wines reflect that same image. So if it’s a red blend, for instance, it’s got a lot of depth and weight and character. And it’s just something that really grabs your attention, at least, that’s my hope. And what I see in the wine industry today is that one of the most important pieces that if you can capture this, you’ve got lightning in a bottle. That is the emotive link. So if there’s a brand that has some sort of lifestyle, calling out, and it resonates with an audience, you don’t need to be all things to all people and just have that loyal, solid audience, and you can build a successful brand. And that’s the path that this tattoo girl brand is going down. So it’s, to me, it’s exciting to watch this. It’s a brand that last year was around 10,000 cases. This year, it looks like they’re gonna have no problems hitting about 50,000 cases. And there are international markets that are developing now as well. Oh, wow. And all this is based on is someone seeing that label and their captures their interest? So it’s interesting just to watch how this plays out, but that’s a fun project. That’s

Drew Hendricks 31:51

fantastic. Do they source their grapes throughout Washington? Are they centered in a particular region?

Bob Paulinski 31:59

It’s a few different regions within Washington. There is no Tattoo Girl Winery, it’s a custom crush. And so it’s what happens is there’s a team of winemakers and the wine, there’s two wineries actually one called ancient lakes, one called wahluke. And they have a team of very buttoned up professional winemakers, they have huge vineyard holdings. And essentially, you go there, in the case of me, I went there, spend a few days with these people. And this is exactly what I want for this brand. spend a day in a lab putting these wines together. And it’s the opposite of what you used to find many years ago, were traditional regions in Europe, for instance, in Bordeaux, let’s say the producer would make their wine and then go out and try to find a customer for it. Today that’s flipped on its head. Oh, yeah. It’s a matter of I understand who the customer is. And I need to deliver what they expect. Hmm. So it’s to me it’s a fascinating project.

Drew Hendricks 33:10

I love it. Yeah, no, that is that is fascinating. I like the figure out what the customer wants, then make it rather than build a

Bob Paulinski 33:17

build a field and the people will come. It sounds simple. But that’s not the way the wine industry operated for many years.

Drew Hendricks 33:27

I’m glad I’m glad someone’s pushing it forward delivering something people want to know. So what else you’re working on these days.

Bob Paulinski 33:35

A number of other things with working on some private label projects, they’re going to be linked to some other large retail chains. I’ve done this for many, many years might want to work in Australia. That was my prime responsibility. So once the world opens up, and I can travel again, I’ll be I’ll be doing that to fulfill some of the demands for these other consulting roles. And I’m also working with another label that I find very interesting. Another lifestyle type brand called Avaline and Avaline has been around for only about eight months now. I guess maybe it’s closer to a year. And it’s a it’s a brand tied to two women, one named Katherine Power and Cameron Diaz. And this brand has taken off in a way that’s just shocking. And it’s really geared towards a millennial, customer base. Their messaging is very clear and direct. And all the early signs are extremely positive. Doing some of the sourcing work for them.

Drew Hendricks 34:47

It’s great when you’re so when you’re not consulting and not, you know, building businesses. What do you like to drink when you’re off the clock?

Bob Paulinski 34:57

Oh, well Look, I think maybe this is maybe a bit of a function of age. You know, I look at my, my wine cellar next to me and it’s loaded up with all these big heavy heavy reds but I’m drinking lighter, lighter style whites for the most part. still drinking a lot of champagne. I love that. I love crime often. I spent some time in northern Italy last year just before the pandemic really took off. And I am hooked on the wines from alto attache. Very northeast part of Italy. Wonderful, wonderful whites. I can’t get enough of those. And the other thing I feel like I can drink an extra glass and it’s not going to hurt me.

Drew Hendricks 35:43

That is why Yeah, for me, if I’m my go to needs to be under 14% 13 fives about right. I cringe when I’m at 15% I know I can’t drink the bottle.

Bob Paulinski 35:57

Okay, so with that. I’m gonna contradict what I just said. There was one thing that I’m still hooked on. And I love really top notch California Zen loving River Valley. I’ve just it’s so distinctive. It’s so much character. You know, I described a friend of mine I described. Zinn is a little bit like going to like some really cool dive bar. You have no idea what’s going to happen. You just know what’s going to be fun. That’s a great way to describe that. So that’s what I find with sin. But you’re right. 15% alcohol. Okay, fine. I want every day

Drew Hendricks 36:47

now. So what do you like? I know you’re pretty good at the kitchen. What do you what do you like making with yours in Oh,

Bob Paulinski 36:54

God, you know, well during the pandemic like most everyone in Greco Roman rustle, making sourdough bread for maybe 50% of the time it turned out great. The other 50% time it was a doorstop. All the things I like to cook now. I love North African cuisine, like Moroccan Thai cuisine. I wouldn’t have that with Zin. You need something a little more lower alcohol because the hedonism just accentuates eating the food. That would change your whites. Right. I do love that, that sort of food. And I’ve been doing a lot of Asian dishes. A lot of things with seafood. And again, I must be behind the times. But I’m I’m hooked on the airfryer that’s the cool thing

Drew Hendricks 37:46

is the coolest thing. Yeah, that’s pretty cool. We don’t have one yet. But I might what my wife has a moratorium on new tools for the kitchen right now. So I’m gonna wait Mayor for?

Bob Paulinski 37:57

Well, this should be at the top of the shortlist given the chance.

Drew Hendricks 38:01

Oh, I will. I will make it so Bob. It is we’re wrapping up. Where can people find you? online?

Bob Paulinski 38:08

You can find me on stellarbottles.com, you can find me there. And you can also find me on the MW website. It’ll have contacts there. You know, anyone that might be looking for some sort of consulting role? I’m, you know, I’m always open to those conversations. And yeah, I’m not I’m not hard to find.

Drew Hendricks 38:34

But if you’re looking to revamp your latest brand, Bob Paulinski is the guy to go to. Thank you so much. Thanks for talking with me.

Bob Paulinski 38:42

Drew I appreciate it and a lot of fun. Yeah.

Drew Hendricks 38:45

Thanks for being on the show. Have a great day.

Bob Paulinski 38:47

Yeah, you too. Thanks.

Outro 38:53

Thanks for listening to the Legends Behind the Craft podcast. We’ll see you again next time and be sure to click subscribe to get future episodes.