Partner Spotlight: An Interview with Naushad Huda, Founder of ILikeThisGrape.com
Today, we’re going to talk to Naushad Huda who is the founder of ILikeThisGrape.com, a website we really enjoy that is focused on modern wine culture.
For people who don’t know, what is ILikeThisGrape?
ILTG is a platform for the discovery and purchase of wine catering to the values of millennials.
Our mission is to make wine, and its culture, expand the consumer base for wine, make wine relatable to a modern consumer, and influence the discovery and purchase of wine through an all digital network. Our network today includes unique digital video series’, original written content, and an engaged social community. Also, we’re developing the platform to enable young sommeliers to have a voice. These young somms are the future faces of wine!
Why did you start ILikeThisGrape?
Firstly, I’m a wine geek, and the way I describe wine is that it’s like baseball cards for adults! So it was only a matter of time before I did something in wine.
ILTG started because I needed a creative outlet. My ‘day job’ is the founder and CEO of XTOPOLY, a digital brand agency based in Southern California. As the agency was growing I was further and further away from the work, which is the fun part of my job. Thus, I decided to launch a passion project to satisfy my creative yearning. I promised my wife it wouldn’t be a business, just something for me to do as a creative challenge. Well, the idea of making wine relatable to the largest consumer generation in history was bigger than I anticipated, and the passion project grew into a young startup.
Who have you interviewed recently and what wisdom about the wine world did you learn from them?
Wow, every person I’ve spoken to gave me something interesting to think about. Sometimes it’s not what they said, but the impact of what they’re doing in wine that’s exciting, fresh, and has the ability to change conventional thinking in wine.
For examples, I love the story of how a the popular canned wine, Mancan, was started after a long day on the construction site by a Ohio native! Or how a tech entrepreneur, who then turned into a winemaker launched an App so that wine lovers can trade bottles with each other! Or the number of culturally and racially diverse sommeliers, and female sommeliers is increasing in the industry (which is awesome!).
You often feature music + vino. What elements of music affect the enjoyment of wine and vice versa?
Music evokes a feeling. There’s something to be said about how listening to a song can bring back a memory of something. Music is also subjective and personal. Wine is no different. Each glass evokes a feeling, and you will remember the bottle you drank on a memorable night the same way you’ll remember the song.
Both wine and music afford their audience the freedom to come as deep into the rabbit hole as they wish. Whether you get deep into the musical arrangement of a song, or just want to nod you head along in enjoyment, you can. Similarly, if want to know the soil type or weather of a vintage you can, or you can just drink. It’s totally your choice!
For people just starting to enjoy wine, what advice would you offer them?
Same as what I’ve been told – just keep trying new stuff and often. Don’t be shy, don’t worry about anything at first but whether or not you like the taste. If you find a blend or a grape you like, go and try wine made from that grape or blend from another region. Then try a grape or blend that’s similar, and some that are totally different. Just keep exploring.
For straight up, super value in the wine world right now, where are you looking?
Spain. Aged Riojas are my favorite. You can pick up nice aged Rjiojas at great prices. For example, here is Decanter Magazine Wine of the Year that’s now 16 years old for under $30.
What’s the best movie you’ve seen about wine, and why?
Red Obsession. The documentary is very well shot and produced with a thoughtfully pieced together story. The first half of the documentary talks about Bordeaux, and shows you the history, passion, and love the winemakers there have for their wine. To many of them it’s art.
Then the documentary moves to China and how China has not only become the biggest buyer of Bordeaux wines in the world, but also have begun producing wines. We learn about Chateaux’s being bought by wealthy Chinese and literally exported, stone by stone, from Bordeaux to China! Lots of great history on France, and eye opening facts about financial world of Bordeaux wine.
What’s the best book you’ve read about wine, and why?
Billionaire’s Vinegar. True story about a 1787 bottle of Chateau Lafit that supposedly belonged to Thomas Jefferson sold at Christie’s auction for a ridiculous amount of money. Fantastic view into people with “f-you money” spending millions on their personal wine collections and being duped by a flood of fake rare fine wines at auction houses and private sales.
You’re eating a simple wild Alaskan salmon prepared with a lemon squeeze and some olive oil. What do you pair with it?
I’m going a little out there- let’s do a sparkling. Yup, let’s do a nice fresh sparkling rose. Salmon is a fatty, oily fish and the sparkling rose will do nicely!
Be sure to check out the ILikeThisGrape website for more great wine content.