Tête-à-tête - All paths lead to When in Rome
What busy father of three would welcome a cyclist in Lycra shorts to talk about wine with open arms on a Monday evening? Rob Malin, part-time Sales & Marketing manager in a London bank, part-time Boxed wine category builder definitely would. And he did. Here is the result.
The Italian way (back)
Rob only started dabbing into the wine industry three months ago but the word is spreading fast locally about this dynamic entrepreneur and his boxed wines. Why? The branding, When in Rome, is fresh, the format different, the wine good and if that hasn’t convinced you, come and check out Rob’s Piaggio Ape (the iconic Italian tricycle pickup truck).
I have always been a ‘foodie’ but really fell in love with wine while living in Italy. Italians LOVE their food and wine. They really know how to pair them both and I discovered some cracking high end gems. But, like the French, Italians drink everyday wines too. And what I liked even more is the way you could get access to a midweek tipple that is both cheap and great quality. That’s how I met Andrea and Lorenzo from La Bottega del Vinaiolo in Milan. They clearly know their wine and have a real flair for finding small local producers with excellent wines. I loved their business ethos too. Most of the producers they work with, although they don’t pay for the certification, grow grapes organically. They take really good care of their land. And the wine gives it back.
I want to start a wine revolution. The boxed wine revolution.
When I came back to the UK, I really missed that way of life and the wines from Andrea & Lorenzo. British people still associate boxed wine with the nasty stuff the French or German used to ship over in the 70s/80s. I want to break that perception. Forget ‘Les Francais adorent le Piat d’or’.
When in Rome was born. Rob, the former customer, became Andrea and Lorenzo’s keen partner to bring the Italian way of drinking to the UK. ‘I want to start a drinking revolution. The boxed wine revolution.
Value all the way.
The When in Rome wines are better than what would get in a bottle from a supermarket. People, especially younger customers, who try the wine love it for that reason. They’re just great value.’
And value is the word. All the wines are picked and boxed in Italy before being shipped directly to the UK. No intermediaries to find the wines, no bottling cost and cheaper transportation costs (a 6-bottle case roughly weighs about 25% more than a 5-litre bag-in-box). End result: a cheaper wine to bring in the UK and a cheaper wine for the end customer. And boxed wines can be kept in the fridge for 4 to 6 weeks without oxidising. The perfect midweek tipples?
The wines put to the taste.
When in Rome currently sells 7 different Italian wines, white and reds, all in a 5-litre bag-in-box.
Let’s be clear: none of these wines are ‘serious’ wines. They are all easy going midweek tipples, ‘vins de soif’ as the French call them.
True, you have to commit to spending £40 to £50 for a 5-litre box but this equates to £5.99 to £7.49/bottle or £6 to £8/week for your supply of wine.
I recommend the Falanghina (dry, aromatic white with apple flavours), the Merlot (juicy, sweet red fruit) and the red Barbera.
Only frustration? A smaller size sample would be great to avoid committing so much wine at a time. Rob?