Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Full Pull: 5 Years of Giving You the Goods

From Marty Sparks

Editors Note: Full Pull Wines is a small, local operation that offers list subscribers a well-curated catalog of wines with a nearly daily offering(s). Marty Sparks checks in with Paul on the heels of celebrating his 5th anniversary.

Full Pull Wines is like having your own personal wine concierge.  Paul Zitarelli is your host and he sends you several offers per week that provide access to excellent wines at very good prices.  The primary focus is on Washington wines with offers from around the world making appearances on a regular basis as well.  

Paul just celebrated his first five years of business by hosting a "small" get together with his list members and some of his most popular Washington wineries and wine makers.  The guest list featured many of the Full Pull list members’ favorite wineries, which also happen to represent some of the top tier winemakers in Washington.

The anniversary party offered Paul a chance to reflect on his first five years, the success he has enjoyed and an opportunity to share that with friends and family.  It also gave me a chance to catch up with Paul and learn some more about the great adventure he has been on since founding Full Pull in 2009.  

The idea for Full Pull was born out of Paul's love for wine and writing.  As he was completing his MBA at the UW's Foster School of Business, Paul developed the concept for Full Pull recognizing that wine lends itself very well to a curated business model.  That is where your personal wine concierge comes in.  Paul does the research to find excellent bottles of wine and then sends you an offer via email that provides thoughtful background on the winery, winemaker and, of course, the wine being offered.

I was curious, how did Full Pull get started and what has transpired over the past five years?  What about the first offer, a favorite offer or a most unusual offer.

Paul knew that he would focus Full Pull on Washington wines and wanted his first offer to be a sparkling wine.  That required quite a bit of research and ultimately lead Paul to Mountain Dome in Spokane.  His first offer would be their 2004 Brut.  What better way to start a new journey than with a bottle of bubbly.  As Paul recounted "The captain of the Titanic might have thought the same thing!"  

As Full Pull continued to grow Paul added Oregon wines to his offers in the middle of 2011 and then expanded to International wines in 2012.  Full Pull’s first International wine offering was one of Paul's favorites so far, the 2011 Ameztoi Txakolina “Rubentis.” a rosada from the Basque Country of Spain.  I remember Paul dropping geo-exploration inspired hints on the email list members leading up to the big offer.  It was like “Where in the world is Full Pull?!” The International offers also brought one of the weirdest wine offers to Full Pull, a French wine that actually might be a spirit.  Paul doesn't think he should have been able to sell it, but he did!  And, he still receives reorder requests today for the NV Cocchi Vermouth di Torino.

Paul is continuing to grow Full Pull through new opportunities that appeal to him and to his list members.  The latest addition to Full Pull’s offering is Full Pull and Friends Wine.  Paul is partnering with select local wineries and winemakers to offer unique wines to Full Pull list members.  Since beginning Full Pull & Friends, Paul has offered 8 wines.  These wines are exclusive and not available anywhere else.  The most recent Full Pull and Friends release is a great example, 2012 Bacchus Cabernet Sauvignon made from some of the oldest cab vines in Washington state.   Most of the FP&F wines would not have been bottled without Paul’s attention.  Typically, these wines were originally intended for blending.  Paul has brought them to market as single variety bottlings.  The response has been very positive and Paul is excited to do more with this program in the future.  He has plans to be more proactive in seeking out sources for FP&F wines.  Beginning with 2014 he is contracting with some Washington vineyards to select grapes for the program.  By contracting for grapes Paul is able to get closer to winemaking without taking on all the associated risks.   Back to the 5th year anniversary celebration.  The party took place at Full Pull's new space located in the SoDo area combining fabulous small bites and wine from 13 popular Full Pull list wineries.  Each winery poured two wines, a current release and something special - a library wine or an exclusive wine typically not available to the public.

Here are a few of my personal highlight wines available at the celebration.  Sleight of Hand Flip Side Syrah in Magnum - I’m a music and wine geek so how could I resist this music themed Syrah from Trey Busch?  The Gramercy Cellars Rock Steady Syrah inspired by Greg Harrington’s break dancing days in NYC (seriously, break dancing!).  An Abeja 2009 Merlot that was lush, plush and tasting fab. A smashing Forgeron 2003 Pepper Bridge Cabernet Sauvignon tasting like it is just coming into its prime.  And the mack daddy from Seven Hills: a 1995 Cabernet Sauvignon that still had plenty of life left in it - answering the question “Do Washington wines age well?”  This Seven Hills Cab says “Well, Duh!”

The first five years have been a pretty dynamic ride at Full Pull.  Paul,is looking forward to continuing to grow organically and to keep the list manageable.  Based on his first five years and what he has accomplished, I’m confident that Paul, and Full Pull, will continue to offer access to excellent wines from around the globe.  Along with the wine you will also receive a well-written backstory on each one of the offers.


Great article. I live in north central Washington where international wines are hard to come by, so I am so happy that Full Pull gives me an alternate buying option.

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