Bringing fun back to wine – with Dan Sims

28th October, 2015

Bottle Shop Concepts. Has there ever been a more intriguing business name? There probably has, but it sure does have a great ring to it, don’t you think?

Bottle Shop Concepts is the brainchild of Dan Sims, wine commentator, educator and sometime sommelier. In essence, it’s a wine events company that takes the stuffiness out of wine. You’d be hard pressed to find a wine Dan hasn’t either drank or discussed in his two-decade career.

Dan began his career as a sommelier and has a very impressive list of restaurants on his CV, including Taxi Dining Room and Fifteen. He was also The Age Good Food Guide’s inaugural Sommelier of the Year.

Which begs the question, why would someone so steeped in the art and traditions of wine create something like Bottle Shop Concepts? It just sounds too fun focused for the seriousness of the wine industry.

“Never before have people been more interested in wine,” says Dan. “But they don’t want to learn about it sitting in a masterclass. They want to learn about it the same way they consume it. And that’s socially.”

The events Dan and his team run are seriously social, with a strong festival vibe. How could they not be with catchy names like Pinot Palooza, Game of Rhones and Wine Day Out. So why does Dan think his events have proven so popular?

“We don’t market these events like they’re wine tastings,” says Dan. “We say they’re wine festivals and I think it makes people relax straight away.” Wine producers are very excited about Bottle
Shop Concepts’ events too.

“They’re unbelievable,” says Dan. “They’re outrageously good. We pinch ourselves wondering how these people even come on board with us.”

But come on board they do. “It’s like a gig for them,” says Dan. “We have festival music, not background or elevator music. Everyone there on the day is buying into the whole lifestyle and atmosphere of it all.

“We’ve had serious wine guys come along, mainly older men. They rock up and say ‘It’s too loud! You should have a string quartet. This isn’t what wine’s about.’ I say don’t come. Go to another wine event. There are plenty of serious ones.”

Most Bottle Shop Concepts events are now staged in multiple cities. “It’s a gig,” says Dan. “So we take the show on the road. We’re even in New Zealand.”

All that travel is one of the reasons he started using MYOB Essentials. “I travel so much,” he says, “so having something mobile and accessible, and being able to process things on the go was, pardon the pun, essential.

“I need a quick and clear understanding of the business side of things while I travel. What I love about MYOB is that I can quickly reconcile the accounts and get a quick snapshot of what’s happening in the business.”

Since they staged the inaugural Pinot Palooza event, Dan and his team have dealt with around 150 wine producers. Add to that multiple venues across states and two countries, plus several staff,
and you can see why a flexible accounting software package is so important.

“On a daily basis I know exactly what my outstandings are and what’s in my bank account,” says Dan, “which allows me to focus on what’s important. And that’s getting people together to have fun and enjoy wine.”

Find out when the next Bottle Shop Concepts wine event is happening in your area.


This article was originally published in the second edition of MYOB’s broadsheet, Insights, also available on iPad.