Former Energy Worker in High Demand for Wine Tasting
I trace my relationship with wine while growing up, the two strands finally in tune with each other.
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There were those Lambrini fueled teenage years, followed by college where booze tasted good as long as it was cheap.
My early 20s courted cocktail pitches and the prosecco boom, before arriving in my 30s feeling a bit disenchanted with alcohol in general.
Call me boring, but a drunken night just isn’t my thing, and I know I’m not alone.
Give me good food and wine, go even further and pair them beautifully.
But where can you find quality wine from authentic vineyards around the world?
Advance Fat Pigeon, founded by the charming Kenny Coutts.
This thriving business was kind enough to join us for our sponsors’ and finalists’ reception, as part of the 2022 Society Awards.
From the finest red wine to a few classic bubbles, it’s safe to say the drink got everyone talking the night away. The drink was of course paired with a wonderful cheese served by the local company Platter.
The company caught up with Kenny and discovered why good quality wine is finally having a moment.
Founder of Fat Pigeon
“I was looking at the periscope of semi-retirement a few years from now, working in the energy industry,” Kenny said.
“I spent over 20 years in the energy industry, and there was a lot of socializing and entertaining with the clientele.”
Kenny has become accustomed to tasting wines from around the world, including Australia, the United States and California.
He also spent a decade living and working in France, but on his return to Scotland he realized there was a void in the market, to say the least.
“My good lady was cooking a steak that night,” Kenny said.
“I told her I had gone to get a good bottle of wine to go with it, to which she said ‘good luck’.
“I went all the way to Co-op and Spar, which weren’t really successful.”
“There wasn’t really a niche for great wines.
“I knew that opening a store was not the solution, given the general trend and the costs.
“So I started an online wine business with the goal of serving the hospitality industry and the general public.”
Fat Pigeon was tentatively launched in the summer of 2020, when the pandemic was still in full swing and the hospitality industry was facing major challenges.
So Kenny changed course slightly and decided to focus on your average Joe looking for a good drink first.
Find a good bottle of wine…
But what makes a good bottle in the first place?
“There is a demand for good quality wines,” Kenny said.
“A £5 bottle of wine is equivalent to around 30 pence of a vineyard, the rest is duty and tax.
“But if you only go up a few pounds, you actually get a much better quality of wine.
“That’s the price I chose.
“I have found some great wines from my time in Asia, New Zealand and across Europe.
“Traditional old world wines, so Italian, French, Portuguese, are still underrated in my opinion.
“Fat Pigeon offers insight into what people are looking for.
“So Sauvignon, Pinot Grigio, Malbec, Rose, Merlot, prosecco and champagne.”
Price aside, what goes into the perfect bottle in the first place?
“It’s the way it’s made,” Kenny said.
“The quality of the vineyard, its origin, its development and its regularity.
So there you have it, but Kenny went one step further in his mission to keep everyone’s glass full.
It can be easy to feel intimidated by the world of wine or to confuse a demanding palette with snobbery.
For Kenny, choosing a good bottle shouldn’t be complicated.
“People both want and are looking for good quality wines, without all the hassle associated with choosing,” he said.
“Some people can feel quite intimidated and don’t want to ask about wine.
“The foundation of Fat Pigeon was to make choosing wine as easy and hassle-free as possible.
“The wine selection never ends, we’re here to help people get straight to the point.”
Fat Pigeon ships nationwide – but personality can’t be bottled
Kenny currently ships throughout the UK, but his personal presence is also in high demand.
“We can’t keep up with the demand for wine tasting,” he said.
“From local wine clubs to hotels and golf clubs, we have wine tasting coming up at a driving range in Turriff.
“Everyone loves having this exposure. I’d like to think we have that niche, we’re not trying to be too clever or create that mystique.
“We’re here to find the right wine for you based on what you like.
“It’s amazing how many people who come back from vacation say they’ve been to Greece.
“And they just can’t find that bottle of wine that they really enjoyed there.
“We can always find something similar to help you relive that moment.”
Next on Kenny’s agenda is to find a warehouse for her stock and become more involved in the hospitality industry as she gets back on her feet.
Fat Pigeon may have started off at a leisurely pace, but now it’s getting more focused.
It’s not a race, it’s important to get it right in order to get repeat customers,” Kenny said.
“I certainly didn’t expect the demand to be so fast.”
Which wine is the expert’s favourite?
The question you may still ask yourself: what is Kenny’s favorite bottle?
“I’m a sucker for French because I’ve spent so much time there and they produce great wines,” he said.
“Portugal also punch above their weight, but they don’t have the seriousness that the French and Italians command.”
As Christmas approaches, Kenny prepares to be even busier, and that’s how he likes it.
“I never stop learning, I’ve taken classes and visited many wineries over the years,” he said.
“There is always something new to learn because wine is such a vast subject.
“It’s a passion of mine because it’s a fascinating subject in a fascinating industry.
“I want to please people like I wanted to be happy when I came back to Scotland.
“You want a good bottle at the table, not a bottle of vinegar.”
A series of questions with Kenny Coutts
The best food and drink pairing?
The best food and wine pairings are those that complement the flavors. If you have a curry with a mild Riesling, it reduces the sweetness of the wine but also takes away the spiciness of the spiciness. Seared scallops show off their natural sweetness and this pairs really well with a light chardonnay with a hint of oak.
Secret of the trade?
I think the industry needs to simplify the mystique synonymous with winemaking history and bridge the gap and align with our technological age, because that can be very daunting, especially for people new to wine.
Although wine is a complex subject, it should be what you like and not too complicated.
Most common misconception about wine?
People who “don’t like wine” are convinced that they don’t like any wine, and very often because it was too complicated for them, I’ve converted many over the years by simplifying the experience and their preference
Don’t be fooled into overspending on wine or an attractive label as a prerequisite for guaranteed quality.
How much should you spend for a good bottle?
A good bottle of wine is the one you enjoy, and it can cost any price…no rules.
My personal recommendation is around £8-15 a bottle.
What use would you be to a famous people, and who would it be?
Gabby Logan, whatever she wanted.
Three things you would take to a desert island?
My fishing rod, my dogs and the water.
To learn more about Fat Pigeon Wine, be sure to visit their website.