Sisters Carin Skowronsky and Sarah Bryant combine their passion for wine with their business savvy to create an educational blog and brand Pairs Well With…, and now they’ve added a new twist to their wine-themed repertoire.
“I think some people find [wine] potentially pretentious, and it doesn’t need to be,” Bryant says. “What we love about wine is its connection to culture, to travel, to people. That’s the base of it, and everybody can enjoy that.”
Skowronsky founded Pairs Well With… in 2015 out of a passion for educating and sharing winemakers’ stories. “I was, at that time, experimenting with food and wine pairings, getting into at-home cooking a lot more,” she says. “One day, I found myself saying ‘pairs well with,’ and I thought, ‘That’s it!’”
Pairs Well With… focuses on wine education through its wine travel guides, pairing suggestions and much more. “That’s something we like to challenge ourselves with, finding something that someone’s really going to enjoy,” Bryant says. “I take pure pleasure in pouring somebody the perfect glass that matches their palate. They might not have known the grape varietal or what exactly it was, but they give me a few hints of what they like, and you can roll with it from there.”
What started as an educational blog fueled by her wine travel and creation of wine pairing pieces, grew into private and virtual tastings. “Sarah and I are not soms. We don’t claim to be as part of the work that we do, but we do have a strong foundation for what we do teach,” Skowronsky says.
The sisters expanded into aromatically wine-inspired body sprays and candles. In 2019, the sisters came up with a product line. “We thought [perfumes] would be a fun way to take wine and sell it in a different way. You can carry that culture, that feeling, with you,” Bryant says.
Next, they set the groundwork for the 2020 collection, consisting of three scent selections. “As you can imagine, there’s not a chardonnay essential oil. You have to figure out what scents you can mix, and you start to figure out what the traits of a wine or grape varietal are. It took a little bit of science and a lot of art,” Bryant says with a laugh. “And a lot of time,” Skowronsky says. “You have to let it wait and then come back and make sure it’s still the way you want it. There were a couple that we went through, iteration over iteration. We went to a local Twin Cities small business owner, who specializes in essential oils. We believe in keeping it local; we support small businesses, female owners. That’s a big through line of ours.”
The 2020 chardonnay, pinot noir and rosé candles and body sprays are found at the Vineroom in Hopkins and at pairs-well-with-sip-shop.myshopify.com.