A Chat with the Founders of Our Wine Coterie

“Wine is the most healthful and most hygienic of beverages.” - Louis Pasteur

By Nicole Chan

August 5 2019

Although the project has gotten off the ground only recently, the effort that has put into the planning and development of Our Wine Coterie has been boundless. What initially started off as a passion among friends quickly became a project to share the same interest and the enjoyment of wine with like-minded individuals. If you're a wine connoisseur or just an individual who enjoys the occasional taste of red, head on over to Our Wine Coterie as they cater to all your needs. From wine pairing sessions down to exclusive storage, there is definitely something for everyone. 

Here, we sat down with the founders of Our Wine Coterie for a chat to find out more about their motivations behind the startup and of course, wine! 

About the Company

Brought to you by a humble, tight-knit group of avid wine-lovers and most importantly, friends, Our Wine Coterie intends to deliver a myriad of helpful opportunities for the consumer. Functioning beyond a substantial, remunerative storage for wine, Our Wine Coterie aims to provide an amiable, hospitable environment for both wine-lovers and the general public alike to enjoy wine-tasting sessions. Not only are you able to taste the various types of wine, but these sessions also aspire to impart wine knowledge, imbue warmth amidst the good company and further your appreciation for the drink. 

As Ernest Hemingway himself once put it, “wine is one of the most civilized things in the world and one of the most natural things of the world that has been brought to the greatest perfection, and it offers a greater range for enjoyment and appreciation than, possibly, any other purely sensory thing.” It is exactly this enjoyment and appreciation for wine that was the inspiration behind Our Wine Coterie.

Not only does the acronym OWC stand for Our Wine Coterie, but it is also the long-standing term for “Original Wooden Case”, which is typically used during wine auctions and sales. Many high-quality wines that are associated with bottle ageing are usually sent out from the winery in wooden case boxes. These wooden case boxes play a huge role in ensuring these wines stay intact, as many collectors consider an unopened wooden case to be more valuable since they’ve not been tampered with since they left the winery.

At Our Wine Coterie, it is understood that not everybody has the luxury to own a wine cellar in such a land-scarce place like Singapore. It is also understood that a "Chateau" environment is best to store and age wine successfully. Hence, OWC has contrived the perfect and safe environment to store and age wine gracefully in humid, sunny Singapore so rest assured that your bottles will be in good hands! 

The Chat 

What does wine mean to you?

Samuel: To me, wine acts as a link connecting me to my old friends, but also acts as a platform to connect with new friends. Whenever friends gather to drink wine, every new bottle of wine opened has a particular, individuated history to it. This means there is always something new to talk about and the conversation is never stale. 

Alan: Wine is an extraordinary tool to grow friendships and to attract friends to come together. It’s also a very pleasant hobby to indulge in and also a deep subject to learn and keep learning from. 

What was the motivation behind OWC?

Samuel: A couple of us had been drinking quite regularly during get-togethers as a form of bonding and friendship, as the feeling of drinking wine with friends cannot be compared to drinking wine alone. Furthermore, we have always preferred wine as our choice of drink, hence we were looking for a space to store our bottles and simultaneously, enjoy a bottle of wine together in a cosy space. 

CH: Initially, the concept was about storage as the places we wanted to store our wine was either not cost-effective or were underutilizing space. But through the process, we went one step further - sharing and inclusivity. We wanted to use our platform to reach out to members who enjoyed and appreciated wine as much as we did. 

What do you think makes Our Wine Coterie stand out in this industry?

CH: Though there are many wine storage spaces out there, we wanted to build Our Wine Coterie as a friendly, approachable and warm space to simply enjoy a bottle of wine or two with company. We aspired to create an environment to share our passion of wine; an experience with a difference. 

Samuel: In my opinion, OWC stands out in a few sectors - storage, facility, function and networking. Our storage is extremely cost-effective and we maximise storage space to its full capacity. Facility-wise, the ambience of our wine tasting area is fantastic for guests as it is cosy, intimate and comfortable. We also plan to have a trading platform and a networking session which allows clients and participants to be aware of different wines and people of different industries. All these sectors make Our Wine Coterie unique. 

Alan: We aim to be part of the educational process of learning about wine, and not just a one-dimensional storage space. We want to project ourselves as a sharing space - sharing of knowledge and passion.  

What is the biggest challenge you've faced in this startup process?

Samuel: Creating awareness. Due to our relatively new concept and the time span, it is still very fresh and hard to gather an audience. 

CH: Arousing interest and knowledge about wine, especially from entrepreneurs and investors. 

What’s your favourite wine pairing?

Alan: My first love would be red wine and Singapore roast duck. To me, that’s the greatest pairing. 

Samuel: A bottle of robust red wine with roasted and smoky meat. 

CH: Still searching! But I would say I love that I can pair wine with different kinds of cheese. 

What are some red and white wines you would recommend for beginners?

Alan: A grape that is most commonly enjoyed is Cabernet Sauvignon. Another easy drink would be Pinot Noir. 

Samuel: Come to Our Wine Coterie and we’ll show you (laughs). To be honest, for us to truly understand and recommend a certain grape or wine, we must first know our audience and their preferences. For instance, it would depend on your palette and whether you like fruity or more robust tastes. 

So you’ve been to Europe recently to visit different vineyards - what’s your most memorable moment throughout your experience learning about wine and its process?

CH: We’ve been to a total of nine vineyards so far, and yet everything is different. The most memorable one for me was experiencing the caves in Chateau la Riviere, as it showed us the oldest and most traditional way of storing wine. It was like walking through a part of history. 

Samuel: Likewise, the most memorable moment for me would be the experience of Chateau la Riviere. That’s the only Chateau I've visited so far whereby the storage was underground, rustic and full of nature. They maintained an eco-friendly and authentic environment. 

Alan: As mentioned, while the best of wines can come from a 14th-century vineyard, I think that Chateau la Gaffelière was memorable as well as their modern wine process with coloured, stainless steel vats was refreshing and different. Although it was different from the traditional winemaking process, they produced equally good wines.

Book your storage space or find out more about wine now by going to Our WIne Coterie's Facebook or alternatively, contact them at +65 9789 2711! 

All photos credit: Wallace Tay