Following on from our making the shortlist for Best Ecommerce Site and Most Beautiful Website at the Irish Web Awards this coming weekend, our Twitter feed was peppered with lovely little love notes:
@Grayzie: Well deserved nominations. If you don’t win, those peeps need their heads checked!
@davidmcavinue: You must be running out of space on the mantlepiece. Well done!
@brianclayton: Congratulations on the well deserved nominations there gents!
So we’ll be keeping our fingers crossed for a gong and a reason to pop open a bottle of bubbly on Saturday night- thanks for the good wishes! Speaking of wishes, there’s nothing to warm a wine seller’s heart like the sound of happy customers who’s only regret is that they didn’t buy more:
Had a lovely evening in with The Last Stand. Only sorry I got 2 bottles and not the full box.
And other nice things to read from more lovely customers:
@Omaniblog: Curious Wines are great to deal with. I can swap the one bottle I didn’t enjoy for another – and they have so many good ones at greatprices.
@grapes_of_sloth: I started off with your Spatlese Pinot Blanc 2005 – beautiful.
We’re proud collectors of every tweet from every fan we ever get on Twitter, but quite honestly we’d be completely happy if all of those tweets consisted of Maurice O’Mahony’s “Yummmmmmmmmmr” praise. (He’s waxing eloquent about our rich Betton, but we’d like to think it applies to all our wines.)
To add to our ego-puffing press clippings, Curious got a mention in the Drinks News column in July issue of Easy Food, Ireland’s leading food magazine. We also got a nice mention in Silicon Republic, in an article about the impact Microsoft’s Bing search engine is having on Irish business. (In our case, none.)
Right in line with our recent wedding series, Brian Clayton is pitting us (or at least our wine) against our local friendly competitors at Bubble Brothers. He’s got stacks of booze from both of us and is calling in friends, family, neighbours and strangers off the street to help him pick the best wedding wine for his sister’s wedding. Luckily there is no vintner’s equivalent to throwing down the gauntlet!
And sticking with the wedding theme (we swear we did not plan this), two of our favourite Dievolino bottles fell victim to the tempting charms of luscious, hand-made gnocchi over at The Daily Spud:
The white, Dievole Dievolino Bianco Malvasia, was a very pleasant little number, smooth and with a little citrusy tang, which went down a treat with the gnocchi and made for a very happy first date. The red, Dievole Dievolino Rosso Sangiovese, with its healthy tannin hit, was a cracker which warmed up beautifully and for which all present declared immediate and undying love.
That’s the sort of love story we like to read about!
Yes we are slackers, but we do genuinely love our ardent Curious fans and so Monthly Love is back with a bang. (Our apologies for being tardy the last few months – we were waylaid by a warehouse full of wine.)
The New Zealand wine tasting event went down a treat with the punters; Robert Francis Wine has a full set of tasting notes and ManicMammy offered up (not turned up!) her nose as well. Brian Clayton shared his thoughts as a first-time eventer, although the title Wine Tastings are Fun! is pretty much all we needed to hear to make our hearts overfloweth:
All in all, it was a smashing night. I met a number of Irish wine names, everyone was very friendly and in great form. I was stunned by some of the revelations, mainly to do with how different in character a different ‘breed’ of a familiar grape can be. If you get any chance at all to attend a wine tasting, grasp it with both hands.
Our July and August sale on French wines was inspired by long-time fan Roseanne Smith [t], who let us know she was “Trying to recreate last year’s French jaunt in Ireland!” with a case of our fabulous French wines. Katherine O’Neil [t] chimed in to add “with Curious Wines, you can almost imagine yourself in the south of France. Happy days!” and so the 10% off sale was born. Thanks, ladies!
The ladies at Dine and Wine also plunged their thirsty little mits into a box of our goodies and came up smiling:
I had 3 wines from the delivery and I am pleasantly surprised. None of the wines in the box are over €10 which makes it a giggle to buy even when not on offer.
So there you go – spreading France, happiness and even giggles makes a good month for Curious!
In keeping with the theme for the month, February was a virtual love-in for Curious Wines! We’ll be playing Stairway to Heaven on endless repeat and passing out the joss sticks any minute now.
Wine reviewer Blake Creedon made our month (and possibly our year) when Curious Wines got full fun of his weekly column, Grapevine, in the Irish Examiner. His glowing write up started out:
Ireland’s latest online retailer, Curious Wines, has certainly gotten off to a flying start. Launched late last year, from day one their online presence has been an easy-to-use, friendly and comprehensive site… It would surprise you how many big, rich, high-profile sites get it all wrong…
…and just got better from there. We’ve got a PDF of the article and we’re showing it around like baby pictures, we’re so proud.
To our great delight, we also took home a great big gong at the Digital Media Awards, winning our category for Best Commercial Website in Ireland. (You better believe the champagne corks popped that night!) We were also chuffed to bits to find this very blog shortlisted for Best Business Blog at the Irish Blog Awards – an enormous compliment considering we’ve only been blogging since the end of November. We lost out to the very worthy Blacknight blog, and had a fabulous evening at the Awards anyway.
Cracking value at only €9.99 and beats the pants off anything from your local supermarket.
Thanks, Lar! (Also, we dig your funky theme music.)
We also had our very first in-store review; wine lover Brian Clayton came to the warehouse, took photos, shopped his socks off and wrote a rave review. He travelled down with his dad and his uncle looking for an alternative to their regular buying jaunts to the continent, and declared the Curious Wines Experience to be:
…just like shopping in France – bar the temperature!
Our Twitter cup overfloweth’d with kind customer comments last month, too:
ManicMammy: Lovin’ the Babe. Popped into y’all @curiouswines earlier so all stocked up again. Happy days!
davidrconway: Just got off the phone from home. Those nice chaps @curiouswines delivered the goods in jig time again. Gonna be a good weekend chez moi.
elfinamsterdam: @CuriousWines my mum was extolling your company’s virtues to my wine snob uncle who shops with your competitors. Expect a visit soon!
To be perfectly honest, while we’ll never turn down an award and we’re thrilled to bits with February’s successes, it’s this kind of world of mouth and compliments from customers that mean the most. And lets face it – you can have all the awards in the world, but without fabulous customers, there’s no Curious Wines!
With St Valentine’s Day fast approaching, it’s time to start planning that all important evening with your loved one. Flowers: check. Oysters: check. Strawberries: check. Biggest bottle of pink champers you can find. Check.
There is another wine however, which would be particularly appropriate on Valentine’s day. The special Beaujolais of St Amour, with an evocative nose and fruity body, is perfect for drinking on a cold winter evening and will go down very well with all meats and cheeses.
The village of St Amour, next to Julienas in the northerly limit of the Beaujolais area, is also the love capital of the world for one night only. On the 14th February, St. Valentine’s Day, all French lovers are invited to the village, reputedly named after a disaffected Roman soldier, Amor.
For those that would rather stick arrows in your leg than catch them from Cupid’s bow, that’s cool too. We’d just like to advise that our mixed cases should not be consumed alone and in the duration of one evening. Otherwise, it could bring a new meaning to the term Love Hurts.
As a little, blog-exclusive, bonus for Curious lovers, we’d like to offer another €5 off our Valentine’s specials. Just enter “curiouslove” at check-out on either or Valentine’s mixed case or our Champers & Truffles gift set and you’re done. Order before 12 noon on Wednesday to guarantee delivery before Saturday, although we should be good up to noon Thursday.
2009 has already been chock full of delight for Curious Wines – we kicked off with a bang when we found out we’ve been short listed for a Digital Media Award in the Best Commercial Website category. We’re super-excited and looking forward to the awards night on 13 February to see if we’ll be cracking open champagne.
Lar Veale at the wonderful SourGrapes.ie is pairing wines with the Irish Blog Awards Foodie Nominees; we’re delighted to be on that list, and even more delighted he summed up Curious thusly:
With a clear customer focus, a great selection of wines and web savvy, Curious will not just survive, but thrive in ‘09.
We’ll drink to that!
Roseanne Smith discovered that unpacking glorious cases of wine is fun for the whole family, and shared evidence of this with us:
Curiosity did not kill this cat – we promise he was wearing a lampshade well before the wine was delivered. (Either that, or this is a cat who really knows how to party.) There’s also great video of her kids jumping up and down on the packing bubble wrap; apparently they later turned the box into a space ship!
Meanwhile, back on Twitter, Curious Wines have been going down a treat with the drinking public:
Smallsips:Barossa Babe has seduced me and touches me in places that other wines don’t get to.
Davidrconway: Happily working through the new world mixed case. Eyeing up old world reds for next payday.
Paul Sutton: Getting my head around the boost graph library and sipping a nice glass of The Lizard merlot thanks to Curious Wines.
We were absolutely over the moon to get the news on Tuesday that Curious Wines has been shortlisted for a Digital Media Award in the Best Commercial Website category. Everyone here is confident that Curious is a great site with great products and can hold its own in the cut-throat world of online commerce, but since we’d been in public launch for about 20 minutes when we put our application in back in November, it was the tiniest bit cheeky on our part, and a brilliant surprise to learn we’d made the shortlist for this year’s awards.
We’re in excellent company in this category with a great list of finalists:
Frankly, we’re all so delighted to be listed in such prestigious company that we’d be happy to lose to any one of these nominees. On the off chance our name is called out for a gong on the 13th of February, however, we’ll be cracking open a bottle or two of our very best bubbly!
If we’re a little late with this month’s Monthly Love, it’s because we’re staggering under the sheer weight of all the fabulous things said about Curious Wines as 2008 closed out.
December kicked off with a hell of a bang when Blake Creedon, one of the top wine writers in Ireland and an Irish Examiner columnist, gave us top billing on his list of recommended online wine retailers:
…exemplary, comprehensively searchable and informative website and their prices seem relatively keen. But for me, the most important aspect of this new business is the choice they offer.
Frank Hannigan also very kindly gave us our very first recommendation on LinkedIn:
The wine is staggering value at every price point. I will never buy rubbish wine again from Tesco or Supervalue or their ilk. I would have to be mad as a brush to do so when you can access the range of stunning wines available from Mike at the same price.
Our Bandon neighbour Catherine O’Neill is steadily drinking her way through our stock, and started with a great review of Long Neck Sauvignon Blanc. Meanwhile, over at Louder Voice, there are already 15 reviews of wines from our warehouse, being drunk for everything from book club meetings to video reviews.
The Twitter love-fest carries on with gratifying feedback from our dedicated wine loving customers:
Keith Nolan: Just received my second case from @curiouswines – ordered less than 24 hours ago. Cheers guys!
Elf in Amsterdam: Cannot say how amazed I am at the 24hr turn around on the Christmas Case of wine I bought from @CuriousWines
Conor O’Neill: Just back from a fantastic @curiouswines launch party in Bandon. Hadn’t realised how much really good value wine they have. Stocked up!
Finally, we’re delighted that customers have continued adding wine reviews to our product pages, with 5 stars from Lar Veale at Sourgrapes.ie for Woodstock “The Stocks” Shiraz, and the 5 stars for a Last Stand Shiraz that helped soothe a broken heart!
November’s been a smashing month at Curious. Since we’ve taken the site out of soft launch and into the big, bad public marketplace, we’ve had amazing feedback from such a wide range of people.
We’re having a great time on Twitter, making friends with wine lovers around the globe and having excellent exchanges about everyone’s favourite Friday night wine. The immediacy of the feedback is so encouraging:
Brian Quinn: Very impressed with CuriousWines.ie. Got a lovely case of mixed red at a great price. Recommend following @curiouswines for discount codes.
Keith Nolan: Top marks to @curiouswines! Enjoying a glass of a fine merlot from them. Delivery was left locked in a secure place when I got home – go buy!
We’ve also been feeling the blog love. Our Bandon neighbour Conor O’Neil knocked our socks off with this great review:
I think it’s probably the best looking and most effective wine web-site in the country and puts the major chains to shame. The wine value is also fantastic.
You really couldn’t ask for a more glowing debute than that. We’re sending each of these fans a special coupon to say thanks, because it’s either that or sit here and blub like a pair of big girls’ blouses.
We also particularly appreciate the warm welcome from our independent wine selling neighbours Bubble Brothers, who came along to our inaugural wine tasting night and graciously quipped us “bright new nails in the coffin of incurious wine consumption.”
We’re also seeing our first customer reviews come through on the site, with excellent ratings for the fruitful Tussock Sauvignon Blanc 2007, supple Lizard Merlot 2006 and the “star find” El Tesoro Monastrell Shiraz 2006 – a 10 star bargain at only €8.49. You can read customer reviews below every wine at Curious, and if they’re lonely and unloved, feel free to add your own review. (There’s no annoying registration required or anything.)