We should start by saying that the idea for this came to us when we were having a glass of wine and we thought it would be nice to have some nuts with it, but the truth is that the story begins with a glass (okay, three glasses) of beer! Midway through a 100 km bicycle trip, we stopped to have a well-deserved beer (location: irrelevant, but beautiful – the shores of Lake Vadása in Őrség, a region of Hungary). We started talking about extending our product range. We had already had granolas, nut butters, fruit bars, and as a result, a wide variety of high quality ingredients: all kinds of nuts, dried and freeze-dried fruit and premium quality chocolate – but we would have liked to introduce a new product line.
To be honest, we can be very creative after a couple of glasses of wine or beer, that’s when our brainstorming sessions are the most productive and we have the best ideas. We had previously talked about creating nut mixtures given the ingredients were already at hand, but we knew that this part of the market was really saturated with big manufacturing companies.
We wanted to create something new. We were talking about spicy nuts, toasted nuts, nuts mixed with chocolate and dried fruit…and then Miklós suddenly said: we should make nuts to go with wine! Back in the day when Mendula started, we actually had a product called Borpálcika (Wine stick), which was a cheese-and-walnut flavored grissini, and we created it just for the same purpose: to go with wine – something more than peanuts or salted sticks. The product had a short life because at the time we did not concentrate enough on its high-scale production, marketing, or sales, which resulted in lots of discarded packages in the end…
So Miki’s idea was a half-joke, but we were not only having a laugh, we started to actually, seriously consider it. We love wine and wineries; we can sit around on the terrace of a winery at Balaton looking at the lake for hours, sipping ice-cold rosé. We have noticed that where there is no kitchen at these wineries, there is no selection of food, either. You can have maybe scones, a toast, or at best some sandwiches.
Wineries are reluctant to offer salty sticks, potato chips or peanuts because these are not tasty enough and are not packaged well enough to enhance the taste and beauty of wine.
And then we thought: maybe there is demand for a mixture of nuts that is developed specifically to accompany wine. Our mixture is packaged in a stylish way and thus will not look out of place even at the classiest wineries. In addition, everyone would be happy to receive these nuts as gifts next to a bottle of wine.
We quickly realized that we need the support of someone who understands wine and knows immediately which nut goes with a specific type of wine. We started looking for this person, and the rest is history. We have collaborated with Fanni Piskor (@borozzfannival) who has been indispensable to us, helping us not only with product development but with everything else, including marketing and sales.
The process has been incredibly exciting, starting with product development, the tasting of nearly 50 ingredients (nuts, chocolate, dried and freeze-dried fruit) together with wine (creating phenomenal flavor combinations), going on with designing the packages, finding the right name, creating the website, figuring out the marketing strategy, and everything else that you usually do when you introduce a new product line.
And we are only at the beginning of the journey – which, we hope, will take us far!