The vespa outside the Two Italian Boys stand lured me towards them. Or was it their ‘Pick Us Up Tonight’ sign. I cannot recall.
Over a glass of my favourite 2IB Sangiovese, we started chatting about the wines, the families and the future of Two Italian Boys.
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Corinne: Can you tell me a little about yourself, where you were born and where you grew up.
Nick: My name’s Nick Guglielmino, and me and my cousin Michael Pillon are the faces of Two Italian Boys. The brand is a collective effort between three families: the Guglielmino and Piromalli families, who own the winery, and the Pillon family, who own a branding company called Let’s Think. With our combined skills base, and the passion Mike and I have for wine and food, we developed Two Italian Boys – which is who we are!
C: How did the idea for Two Italian Boys come about?
N: It was definitely a collective effort. Mike and I came up with Two Italian Boys (cause that’s who we are!), the winery makes and bottles all of the wine, and Let’s Think looks after all of the branding and packaging, as well as the marketing and website. Mike and I also make sure that we oversee the whole wine-making process, and we’re responsible for taking the brand out to market and driving new varietals.
C: Your tagline, ‘Pick Us Up Tonight’, is cheeky and catchy. Who came up with it and is there a story behind it that you can share with us?
N: Well, Let’s Think came up with ‘Pick Us Up Tonight’. We all sort of thought, ‘who wouldn’t want to pick up Two Italian Boys?!’ Yeah you’re right, it is a little bit cheeky, but that’s what we love about the brand. We get to express ourselves and be who we really are: Two Italian Boys that love having FUN!
C: How do you divide up the work between the two of you?
N: Mike heads up operations in NSW and I head up Victoria, and we’ve since put on a couple of other Italian Boys: Andrew Fantasia in S.A, Anthony Olivia in the ACT, and a new rep in QLD starts next month. The Two Italian Boys brand has grown 800% in two years, which is pretty amazing. From the inception we felt that no matter how crowded the market is (which is what everyone was telling us), there is always room for a good brand that speaks directly to its target market.
C: You currently produce Sangiovese, Shiraz, Cabernet, Pinot Grigio, Sangiovese Rosé and Botrytis, The Sticky Italian dessert wines. What made you choose those varietals?
N: Mike and I decide what varietals we will release, based on our clients’ demands as well as what makes sense for the brand. Botrytis, The Sticky Italian, has just won best dessert wine as awarded by Huon Hooke from The Sydney Morning Herald – this will be published in next weeks’ wine review. We actually won quiet a few medals in 2012, which you can check out on our website. We have also released a Vermentino, a Fiano and a Nebbiolo, and we have some other exciting new varietals on the agenda for this year, for instance a very nice Prosecco for the festive season!
C: How would you describe yourself?
N: My number one passion is wine, followed by food, followed by soccer. You can’t get much more Italian than that! I have actually just joined a soccer team in Victoria, I do some yoga in between, and when there is time I enjoy socialising with mates and girls of course!
C: How would you describe one another?
N: Me and Mike are pretty similar in our interests and our passions. I mean, we grew up together, we’re cousins and we’ve got into a fair bit of trouble together over the years. Our families are all best friends so it’s pretty awesome that we get to experience Two Italian Boys together. We’re also both extremely driven to make Two Italian Boys a global brand.
C: Who has been an influence or a source of inspiration to you?
N: My Mum is numero uno! She is always thinking of others before herself. I think treating me and my two younger brothers, Alain and Stefan, all equally has been a humungous challenge. While she’s not Italian by birth, she’s actually more of an Italian than Dad sometimes, and she speaks the language fluently and cooks the most amazing food. Dad has been a great influence as well, he’s more authentic I suppose: he still speaks the Sicilian dialect and is involved in melanzani & salami-making along with both Piromallis and Pillons. We’re all very family-oriented, which is what connects us intrinsically to the wine, it’s about sharing the things that we love with each other. Did I mention Roberto Baggio and Scolacci? Two old-school Italian footballers that ripped!
C: What’s your opinion on the way Australia views Italian-style wine varietals?
N: It’s been interesting to watch how things have progressed since we launched the brand. We are now getting asked for more and more Italian varietals. I think Australians, especially in the youth demographic, love to try new things. They’re not scared to try things they aren’t used to drinking, and they quickly jump on board if they like it and if they believe in the brand. Also, I think Australians in general have a respect for all things Italian, food and wine especially.
C: How do you think Italy regards Italian-style wines in made Australia?
N: Well, that’s an interesting question. I would have thought not so good, but we have been approached by a couple of different companies to export Two Italian Boys to Italy, so that was kind of surprising. Hey, at the end of the day our fathers were born in Italy so there are a lot of Italian traditions that go into the product that we make.
C: Any future plans or projects you are working on that you’d like to share with us?
N: We have huge plans for Two Italian Boys. Firstly, we are looking to take the brand overseas – this process is currently underway – but I can’t say too much more on that right now! The other thing we are doing is a brand extension that will involve Two Italian Boys encompassing other associated products, like pasta, olive oil and coffee to name a few. Again, I can’t give too much away right now, other than to say watch this space – Two Italian Boys is going to rock the globe!
C: If you were to sum up Two Italian Boys in one word, what would it be?
L-R: Nick Guglielmino and Michael Pillon at Taste of Sydney 2012
With thanks to Nick Guglielmino and the 2IB team for their generous time.
* Two Italian Boys graphics used with permission
Two Italian Boys
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