Growing up in the south of Germany, vineyards were always in sight. Thanks to close relatives owning vineyards and making wine, I was exposed to the wine trade early on. Not that I did anything useful at the time, however, I still remember vividly running around vineyards on cool October days, riding on the back of the exciting Unimog truck and having fun with my sister and my cousin.
As I got older, I began to actually help in the vineyards by distributing empty buckets and later also carrying buckets full of grapes to the giant vats. Admittedly, not a huge contribution to the overall operation — most of the time probably being in the way rather than any help — but nonetheless an activity that I enjoyed. Being a child, it was a fun contrast to nursery and later primary school. Most importantly perhaps, this early experience of the labour and effort going into a bottle of wine helped me appreciate the product and develop an interest in the trade.
Fast forward around 20 years. After a break of a decade or so, I had started again helping with the annual grape harvest for just a day or two when I was studying. Just for fun, as always. Eventually, I ended up living in a small city an hour north of Stuttgart for two years where I was spoilt by wine marketing students, organising wine tastings and student parties. Then I moved to London, and after settling down in a flat share, I came across a wine shop doing tastings right around the corner. To nurture my interest in wine and sharpen my palate, I started going to tastings more regularly.
Until this day, I often go to at least one tasting a month on average. I discovered exciting wines, made new friends and had legendary evenings.
Over the years, I went to a wide range of different tastings at various locations across London. I soon discovered that while London is an excellent place for wine tastings, finding interesting events and not forgetting about date and time was a real challenge. Not to mention the effort involved in shepherding friends to join me for the tastings.
One day, a nice tasting was approaching, and once again I was busy in the cumbersome task of organising some friends. As I was walking home across beautiful Regent’s Park during a Sunday afternoon in April, I was about to message a friend about the upcoming tasting, and it struck me: This could be the side project I was looking for all those years — something useful for myself, a topic I am passionate and knowledgeable about, and to some extent also a web and mobile development challenge. Finally, maybe even a business opportunity.
When I got home, I started doing some research and quickly decided to give it a go. Challenge accepted ☑️ — the journey began 🚀.
Now, with UnscrewMe, I’m building a better way to discover wine events all over London, so we all can spend less time searching ⏳, and more time tasting 🍾🍷.
While my friend and colleague Ed, who supported me since I first told him about the idea, mocked me for it, I decided to start with looking for a name before anything else. Stay tuned to learn more about how we selected UnscrewMe on https://medium.com/unscrewme.
(As much as I would like to have written the draft with a glass of wine, sometimes it’s easier to get things done with a nice cup of coffee. I started writing at Pantry Marylebone over a nice flat white and a delicious cake with raspberries and blackberries, before heading over to Kaffeine in Eastcastle Street to complete the first version.)