Author’s blurb: I usually buy the cheapest bottle of red wine in the store because my partner and I can’t tell the difference, much like Leslie Knope from Parks & Recreation. There is no point in looking into finer ones because we don’t have enough experience to compare them anyway.
For Hwei-Kim Chin (Kim) and her partner, the joy of drinking wine lies in discovering new things, trying out new things and gradually developing their taste buds.
With their Pour Decisions wine subscription service, they want to help others discover wines at reasonable prices with ease.
Fill up the empty glass
Just a day before the MCO, the couple had returned from their full-time job in Yangon, Cambodia, to work from home in Malaysia. When they stocked up on essentials – including wines – at the grocery store at the grocery store, it wasn’t long before they got bored of the options on offer.
“We discovered very quickly that all of the grocery stores we visited had aisles and aisles with wine, but they were all the same identical brands,” said Kim.
And so her market research began with the discovery that others are also eager to move from entry-level wines to more boutique alternatives. Most didn’t know where to start, however, and were intimidated by wine sellers approaching them in stores.
They also found that many people, especially millennials, placed a high value on quality, convenience, and the overall experience. This market is also more open to new concepts.
It was also an auspicious time as more wine delivery services became the norm for those in the Klang Valley since the MCO.
The wines are safely packed in the box / Image Credit: Pour Decisions
Now the wine subscription service is not new in Malaysia. There used to be one called Wine Talk’s Wine Club but after a quick google search it appears they no longer offer that service.
However, Kim is confident that Pour Decisions is sustainable as her business model is based on serving her customers. As a company, they will continuously evolve to stay relevant to their ever changing customer needs by engaging them on social media.
She joked, “We also thought that in a worst-case scenario where business wasn’t going well, we’d just be sticking to a range of wines that we really like. We were able to negotiate a really good price for them too. 100% validation! ”
A bottle of monthly fun
For RM270 per month, Pour Decisions delivers three 750 ml bottles of wines, including 1 red, 1 white and 1 “fun” wine.
The fun bottle can be anything from a prosecco to a rosé, or a white or red bottle under the radar that the couple has rediscovered.
Each month’s box follows a specific theme that can relate to the origin of a wine, such as: B. its region, its climate, its terroirs, its agricultural practices, etc.
For example, the theme for December was family owned small vineyards, while for January it was organic wines. In February they will follow the coastal mood theme.
They partnered with @nookflowers for Chinese New Year and Valentine’s Day Boxing in February / Image Credit: Pour Decisions
Since the company is primarily aimed at wine beginners, a QR code is printed on each box. This leads customers to a brief report on the Topic of the Month and the backstory of each bottle.
“Every bottle has a story, a place of origin and at least a handful of people who worked hard to bring it from the vineyard to us. We strive to make every drinking experience a little more reliable and enjoyable that way, ”said Kim.
Pour Decisions claims in its FAQ that customers cannot find these wines anywhere else.
That’s because the wines come from independent winemakers and vineyards that are less common in regular grocery stores.
However, it is not to say that the latter’s varieties are not good as they are popular for a reason. But the couple found another joy in trying new varieties from smaller, lesser-known vineyards.
A no-obligation subscription
The subscription boxes are sent on the first Wednesday of each month for a delivery fee of RM10 for people outside of KL.
Although they refer to themselves as a subscription service, subscribers can cancel at any time or skip a few months based on personal preferences.
With most banned from bars during the MCO, Kim shared that the MCO 2.0 has actually made their growth easier since early November last year.
In their three months of operation, they have reported that returning customers make up at least 70% of their customer base. Pour Decisions is also seeing a steady increase in new subscribers every month.
Every month brings a new strain / Image Credit: Pour Decisions and @heritagewinesuk
In the long term, they will try to combine wine and technology using algorithms and data. This is done so that customers receive personalized wine recommendations based on their individual preferences.
Kim admitted that this is not a new idea and has already taken root in the US and Europe. However, their goal remains: wine should be more accessible, convenient and easier to enjoy.
Bottom line: Because of the low commitment of the subscription model, I can safely see the value of an order how and when I want it. At RM90 per bottle, it’s pretty good value too. I think it works well for beginners like me who don’t know where to start when trying to understand more about wines.
- You can find more information about Pour Decisions here.
- You can find more information on other Malaysian startups here.
Featured image source: Hwei-Kim Chin and Keon Wong, co-founders of Pour Decisions