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Meet Murphy Perng of Matter Of Wine

Today we’d like to introduce you to Murphy Perng.

Murphy, can you share with us your story – how you got started and eventually established Matter Of Wine?
I got my start at an early age. During one New Year’s Eve dinner over two decades ago, my aunts, uncles, and parents crowded around our large marble turntable at my grandparents’ home in Taiwan. Abalone, fish roe, and rice cake were all on the menu, along with beer, whiskey, and wine. As alcohol regulations were more or less mere guidelines in Taiwan back then, my family didn’t hesitate to pour me a few sips of each.

I nearly spat out the beer. I choked on the whiskey. As for the wine, I downed it and asked for a refill. Ever since, I’ve had a weakness for wine, an attribute that my mother shares. With her impeccable taste and generous pours, I knew what I liked and didn’t like by my junior year of college. Still, as much as I enjoyed wine, it was never something I envisioned as a career path.

After earning degrees in communication and political science, I immediately dove into one 9-to-6 marketing job after another. As marketing fostered creativity within me, I relished being a marketer, and still do. Yet, there was a fine line between my day job (marketing), and what I did for fun (wine). Exploring tasting rooms with my girlfriends, indulging in day trips to wine country with my sister, rebelliously ordering wine at happy hour when everyone else had ordered a beer – in those moments, I felt most in my element.

There was just one problem, though: what precisely was my element? Sitting at the bar of a tasting room, I hesitated to ask questions for fear of sounding uninformed. I couldn’t harness the best words to describe what I drank, and I drank a very limited selection of wines. So I took up reading about wine in my spare time, book in one hand and glass of wine in the other.

I quickly realized that even the most eloquent wordsmiths couldn’t bring to life what a certain grape varietal should taste like. I elected to take the occasional hour-long wine class available at wineries, but those still left me feeling ill-equipped. Eventually, I discovered Wine Spirits and Education Trust (WSET) classes, which offer exams to quantify levels of wine knowledge. After many nights of pouring over textbooks, I achieved my WSET Level 2 Award in Wines and Spirits.

During this process, I pondered over the lack of resources for individuals seeking wine knowledge without having to undertake months of academic study. A year later, I established Matter Of Wine (MOW) to bring fun, educational wine events to Los Angeles. In the past year, MOW has delivered wine education to hundreds of curious event-goers through numerous curated wine events, as well as private experiences.

There are a lot of moving pieces when it comes to getting a company off the ground. Overall, has your journey been relatively smooth? What challenges have you faced along the way?
The road to launching MOW hasn’t been smooth, but it hasn’t been rocky, either, just less traveled! This is the first business I’ve started, so I’ve had a lot to figure out along the way. Drafting a business plan, gaining a better understanding of the wine industry, creating my website, and producing my very first wine event–much of this was unchartered territory for me.

I researched my potential market, familiarized myself with wine industry regulations, and set up informational discussions with wine and event professionals. All of this helped me create a viable business model for my first event series, MOW’s Sip & Sails.

Building my website and writing its content is within my repertoire as a marketer, but meticulously editing it, capturing stunning photos and videos, and marketing my first event through word of mouth–it takes a village!

To my family, partner, and friends who doubled as my editors, photographers, ambassadors and very first attendees: I recognize all of your efforts, and I can’t thank you all enough! Nowadays, MOW hosts Sip & Sails on a monthly basis. Nevertheless, our journey to making wine education widely accessible is only just beginning.

With a new event series on the horizon, this road is looking mighty interesting. Ask me again in a year if it’s been a smooth journey.

Matter Of Wine – tell us more about your educational wine events! What’s next for MOW?
Matter Of Wine brings unforgettable, educational wine events and experiences to Los Angeles. LA’s best artists, musicians, dancers, photographers, and culinary virtuosos are incorporated into MOW’s events, along with its most unique venues.

Our flagship event series is the Sip & Sail. A MOW wine expert welcomes attendees aboard a catamaran, and as it sets sail, teaches a wine tasting lesson that encompasses how to see, smell, taste, and evaluate the quality of multiple wines.

Afterwards, attendees will grab a glass of their favorite wine, enjoy prepared small bites, and mingle with their fellow sailors. New friends will venture over to the deck together to take in the fresh breeze and brilliant sunset until we dock.

Private Sip & Sails are also available, and perfect for corporate team building, bachelor/bachelorette parties, proposals, and holiday parties. Alternatively, hire MOW’s resident wine expert to teach a private class at your next social event.

This spring, MOW will be launching a new event series: Pole & Pours. A MOW instructor will be teaching a uniquely combined pole dancing-and-wine tasting class throughout Los Angeles’ most hair-raising aerial dance studios.

Sounds like there’s a lot happening at MOW! The wine industry itself is also undergoing some changes. What trends do you think we can expect to see in the next 5-10 years?
Most of my peers haven’t quite settled on which wines they like and dislike, and are open to trying out new wines. The way I see it, this is the time for wines from atypical wine-producing countries to enter the market!

Millennials are responsible for consuming nearly half of the wine sold stateside. They are drawn to interesting blends, unusual packaging, and adventurous food and wine experiences. In the next decade or so, I anticipate a rise in the distribution and consumption of wines from Southeastern Europe, the Middle East, and even Asia. Matter Of Wine is ready and waiting to savor these with you!

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Shana Skelton, Charlie Chang, Andreana Stoyanova, Jen Cao

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