How Good Pair Days Is Making Wine in Isolation That Much Better


Without small business, we’re nothing. TheLatch— and GoDaddy have teamed up to rally behind local businesses and entrepreneurs during this unprecedented time of change.

We’re speaking to small businesses and entrepreneurs across the country to better understand how they’re adapting to stay open, how they’re keeping their community safe, and how we can support them now during this time, and beyond. We’re focused on keeping Australia open for business, even if doors are closed. #OpenWeStand

Good Pair Days was created for the wine-lovers who knew little of wine itself but wanted to discover and experience the joys of new drops tailored to their tastebuds — with none of the intimidating jargon.

“We felt there was a gap in the market for wine sellers who made buying wine fun, educational and approachable for the average wine-lover who didn’t necessarily want to be a wine academic,” says Tom Walenkamp, co-founder of Good Pair Days.

“I myself always enjoyed wine but had never known what to look for among the thousands of bottles at the cellars. I figured there had to be others like me out there, so when my co-founder Banjo (three-time Australian Sommelier of the Year) came on board with his knowledge and passion, we worked together to open up the world of wine. Beto, our third co-founder, built the tech to make Good Pair Days possible.”

The business model relies on each user first filling out a very fun and aesthetically pleasing online questionnaire about their tastes and preferences, before matching the user with bottles most suited to their answers according to a percentage score.

Take it from someone who uses the service first-hand: You’ll be matched with wines you already knew you loved, and conversely linked with others you had no idea about. It’s a great way to try new drops and, because of the questionnaire, makes the process feel far less risky.

The Good Pair Days business has lived entirely online since its inception, which has meant the company has been less affected by COVID-19 in those negative ways other small Australian businesses have unfortunately suffered.

For Walenkamp, the pandemic has meant a different kind of shift. With more buyers, the team has been forced to adapt, and fast, by upping delivery capabilities and even hiring new warehouse members, as well as finding other unique (and delicious) ways to connect with its users.

We caught up with Walenkamp recently to chat through the ways Good Pair Days (GPD) is adapting to high demand, and to find out more about the cool new initiatives run by himself and co-founders, Banjo Harris Plane and Beto de Castro Moreira.

Katie Skelly: Tom! Your business operations have been affected by COVID-19 in a different way to many other small businesses. Tell me, what have the last two months looked like for GPD?

Tom Walenkamp: Our sales have increased dramatically, and our subscriber numbers are up around 1,000% month-on-month. It’s a funny feeling to know that other businesses, including those owned by our friends and industry peers, are suffering and having to close their doors, but we’re, of course, happy we can provide a valuable service to people at home who want to explore wine from the comfort of their couch.

It’s always been part of our mission to help subscribers learn more about wine with tasting notes included in their boxes, plus pairing recommendations and recipes, and so we’re comforted that we can help people indulge their interests, keep them learning, and have them trying something new — all from home.

KS: Have you pivoted your business offering to cater to buyers’ needs right now?

TW: At the beginning of this year, we had planned a few new ways to connect with our community. But when COVID-19 hit, we accelerated these initiatives.

Obviously we can’t travel right now, so one way we’re helping our subscribers take a virtual winery tour is with our curated boxes, that usually have three to four wines from a certain region.

We’ve also been hosting three online events every week, kicking off on Tuesdays with a Zoom call to help our users learn more about the wines they love. On Wednesdays, we run an Instagram Live wine tasting session, and these have been getting thousands of people tuning in, and on Thursdays, we host another Instagram Live with interviews of industry professionals, discussions based off subscriber questions, and more wine tasting!

We also brought forward our weekly newsletter, which provides exciting content and industry news for people on the database, and created the Good Pair Days Wine Lovers Facebook group which gives our community a place to connect and discuss all things wine.

It’s all about taking customers on a journey and providing some at-home entertainment.

KS: That’s so awesome! I’ll see you at the next Instagram tasting. Please tell me, how can people support Good Pair Days right now?

TW: Follow along and interact with our content! Join our groups and take part in some of those live sessions.

But I think if I could ask one favour it would be this. There are a lot of incredible Australian wineries that have been affected both by COVID-19 and the catastrophic bushfires. We’d love to do what we can to help those wineries and stock their bottles on GDP, so if anyone out there has suggestions of wineries we should be in touch with, then we would love to hear from you.

Anything we can do to support the Australian wine industry, plus give our readers exciting new drops to drink, is something we would like to know about.

KS: Have you had to take on new team members or look for help to accommodate for your business operations at the moment?

TW: Yeah! It’s all I’ve been doing for the last few weeks! Our warehouse staff has increased to meet the demand of online orders. A lot of these new recruits are members of the hospitality industry, friends of ours who had lost their jobs overnight.

We’re not playing “catch-up”, we’re playing “keep-up” right now to make sure we have enough wine, boxes and people to carry out these deliveries.

“It’s all about taking customers on a journey and providing some at-home entertainment.”

KS: It’s really special that you were able to look after your industry in that way. Do you feel like the wine industry will be changed by this time?

TW: I do. With people taking an increased consideration and appreciation in the wines they drink, I would imagine those more independent bottle shops could thrive once the world returns to a new normal. I can foresee those big chain stores moving to a more online place after this, to cater to the convenience demand.

Head to Good Pair Days now to take your palate quiz and be matched with delicious wines today.

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