Wine Connoisseur Julia Walderzak Brings a Mobile Bar to Your Fête
Decanted Wine Truck’s Julia Walderzak knows how to deliver a beverage experience driven by fun.
Julia Walderzak is a serial entrepreneur, but when the pandemic hit, her business, H2K—a mobile-based kid’s fitness company with after-school programs in three different states—became another casualty of COVID. “We literally lost all of our accounts in one day,” she says. But because of Walderzak’s drive, she channeled her previous event experience (in New York City’s restaurant scene) into a new opportunity. “I was a huge wine connoisseur, and I always kind of had this idea in the back of my head,” she adds. Decanted Wine Truck—a vintage, mobile, full-service bar—was created to cater both large and small events, including weddings, bridal showers, bachelorette parties, and rehearsal dinners. It features carefully chosen wines, handcrafted cocktails, and seasonal beer. With her first truck, dubbed Winona, in tow, Chief Wine Officer Walderzak’s business is booming and includes plans to add another camper, Rosie—which arrives next year—to her business, plus an indoor wine cart.
What’s your process when couples come to you for their big day?
Some couples have an idea of exactly what they’re looking for. Some couples have no clue, and they use us to guide them with what they want. At Decanted, not only do we offer wine and beer, but we can also provide signature cocktails, [and] we can do an open or cash bar. We customize the package for couples based on their budget and needs, and how many guests they will have. What makes Decanted so special is that I work with our clients personally. I look at their likes and dislikes. I care about the couples and their big days, and I want to make it special for them.
What are some common mistakes clients make when selecting beverages?
I don’t think a lot of couples have a realistic idea of what alcohol costs—it’s a big consideration for your budget. Also having a camper, it’s a lot of work to trailer and set her up, so that’s part of the cost.
Do you think it’s really important that guests have a range of beverage offerings?
I try to push having something besides wine and beer, depending on what’s in their budget. Signature cocktails are super popular, so we get that a lot. If they want a full open bar, we can do that experience, too—in a sense. We just pick different kinds of liquors and mixers.
Where do you source the alcohol from?
I work with about three distributors who are near and dear to my heart, including a cool distributor in Shrewsbury. It’s just a mom and daughter. I love that they are local women in business. Their wines are also super unique; that’s what sets us apart, too. When we do an event, clients are getting wines that they’re not going to find at Total Wine. They’re getting wines from around the world, so they’re getting this one-of-a-kind experience. I think that’s been a home run for us in terms of what we provide. We get to tell the stories. We use a lot of boutique and women-owned vineyards, so we go outside of the box.
What are your most popular packages?
For couples having a more intimate wedding, we have our Winona Premium package, which is nice because it includes high-top tables, florals, a cheese and charcuterie platter, and our premium wines. That seems to be popular. We just put out a Rosé All Day package, which people are going crazy for. Mostly with our couples, we customize packages because they are so specific. They don’t want to be tied into one thing, or they might be working with venues that provide high-top tables, or they already have a florist.
How far in advance should couples plan to book with you?
My marketing manager and I have been trying to drive home as much as possible that people need to start inquiring with us for 2023 because I’ve already had some people contact us for 2024! Right now, we can only do one event a day. [In addition to Winona] we have Rosie being built, and that’s been a labor of love because of COVID. It’s hard to get materials, so [the process] is taking longer, [but] by next year Rosie will be done, so we’ll have a little bit more flexibility.
Trying to figure out what to serve at your wedding? Ahead, a few things Julia Walderzak suggests couples keep in mind.
Know your dollars and cents
Pick a budget. Alcohol is expensive, so be sure to have a specific number in mind. Then you can find the right balance between what you want and what you need.
Think about time
It’s important to consider the length of time for your event. How long the wedding lasts plays a significant role in determining your budget and needs.
Figure out what’s most wanted
Know your wants, likes, and dislikes. Don’t like buttery chardonnay? Prefer Tito’s as your vodka of choice? Make sure that information is shared with planners before deciding on a wine list and what’s included in your spirits.
Give yourself a reality check
Be realistic about what your needs are. What kind of crowd is your crowd? You know your people best. Do you have a drinking crowd or a lot of nondrinkers? You have to think about that.
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