Jessica Trouillaud believes words and wine go together. So much so that she has started her own business around pairing what you read with just the right wine.

Pairing Words & Wine – West Seattle resident Jessica Trouillaud builds business around her passion

By Lindsay Peyton

Stop for a minute if you’re reading this article empty handed – uncork a favorite bottle of wine and return with a glass of white or red.

That’s what Jessica Trouillaud would do.

She even has a pairing suggested for Westside Seattle – the 2014 Raconteur Red Blend or its partner, the 2015 Raconteur White Blend.

“Not only is it the perfect pairing based on the name (Raconteur - a person who tells anecdotes in a skillful and amusing way), but it’s also from Washington,” Trouillaud said.

Matching the perfect wine with reading material is Trouillaud’s speciality – and she has built a business around her passion entitled “Words & Wine.”

The company launched just over a month ago – at the same time that Trouillaud moved to West Seattle.

Part book club, part online wine retailer, Words & Wine is designed to appeal to both wine lovers and bookworms.

It’s simple to do – go to the online store and select a book to read. Then select red or white.

The bottle mailed with the book will come as a surprise – and Trouillaud said that’s what makes it even more fun.

“It’s a mystery,” she said. “You get a book and a wine that relates to it in some way. It could be because of the label, the location where the book takes place or where the author is from. I want it to be as related as possible so you have fun drinking it while reading.”

She includes a postcard explaining her selection as well as a bookmark with reading notes and tasting notes printed on it.

Monthly subscriptions are also available. The Words & Wine monthly book club delivers a book and bottle of wine each month for $40, which includes shipping. There’s also an option to order multiple copies of books and multiple bottles for book clubs.

Trouillaud has already started filling orders – and hopes customers will consider buying gifts from her site, as well as treating themselves or a loved one to a subscription.

“You don’t have to be a wine connoisseur to appreciate the pairing,” she said. “No one has to be a literary expert either. You’re in for a great wine and a great book, because I’ve done my research.”

Abbey Moreman was one of the first online shoppers. “When I was younger I used to read often, but now I have less time to read or even find books that are interesting,” she said.

The appeal of Words & Wine for her was that Trouillaud did all of the legwork selecting everything already.

“I don’t have to spend time browsing the Internet or the library for a good book to read,” Moreman said.

She selected “The Lost City of Z” by David Grann. “The bottle of wine totally fits with the book,” she said. “It’s really thoughtful and cool.”

Moreman recommends the online shop to others. “If you’re not a big reader, you get a bottle of wine you’ve probably never tried before,” she said. “And if you’re a reader who doesn’t know much about wine, it can open up a new interest.”

Originally from Texas, Trouillaud was destined to be an entrepreneur. When she was only 4 years old, she requested an unusual toy from her parents – a cash register.

“I wanted to turn my room into a store,” she said.

Her first job after high school was in retail – pursuing sales in a furniture store. She quickly worked her way up in a local business.

Trouillaud then decided to spread her wings and move a little further away from home, landing in Denver where she worked as a lead sales associate at Restoration Hardware before moving to a family-owned business furniture shop, where she took a post as district operations manager.

“This was really the job where I learned the most,” Trouillaud said. “And I realized business was for sure what I wanted to do.”

She also attended Ashford University online and majored in entrepreneurship.

Her wanderlust, however, was beginning to simmer again.

“I was 24 years old, and I had this perfect job I loved and a great apartment and I was like, ‘uh oh,’” Trouillaud recalled. “I think I was too comfortable. I needed to get out.”

She decided to move to France and try working as an au pair.

“Then, 90 days later, I sold all of my stuff, quit my job and flew to a country where I didn’t know anyone,” she said. “I only spoke 8th grade French.”

But the move worked out. She met her now husband – and she also fell in love with wine.

As she traveled around, exploring Europe with her husband and friends, she realized two constant companions on her adventures – a book and a glass of wine.

Now that the couple has relocated to Seattle, they enjoy exploring the West Coast for new and interesting bottles.

She’s also always on the look-out for the next good book to read.

A vision for a business she wanted to start began brewing. She wanted to open a bookstore and wine bar combined into one space.

But then her idea shifted.

“I wanted to encourage people to take time out, enjoy a book and wine, and get lost in a different world,” she said. “With an online store, I would be able to reach so many more people that I could at a wine bar and bookstore.”

The amount of readers and wine drinkers she can reach is her favorite part, she said – except for shopping for the books and bottles.

“People always say to find your passion and turn it into a career,” she said. “I did that. I love every second of it.”

For more information, visit www.words.wine.

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