When Andrew Dundon met with a group of young Barossan winemakers, he realised the only person without a beard was himself. Months on, the director of Barossa Gourmet Weekend has grown his own to “get in with the vibe” of The Young & the Restless.
Held on the opening night of Gourmet Weekend, the tasting event will shine a light on the region’s next generation of producers. “The Barossa is traditionally recognised for its big, ballsy shiraz,” Dundon says. “Less know about the people experimenting with new varietals and new winemaking ideas.”
It follows a growing trend of informal wine parties such as The Festival at Basket Range, The Fruitful Pursuit and Pinot Palooza. The focus is on small-batch, progressive producers such as Yetti & the Kokonut, Arno Wine Co., Brothers at War, Bruno & George Wines, Rock of Wisdom, Rasa Vineyards, Durand Distillery, Western Ridge Brewing and more.
“None of us have cellar doors, none of us have hardcore websites and we’re not heavily distributed,” says Dave Geyer, one half of Yetti & the Kokonut. “This is an opportunity to come and see some pretty rad guys that not a lot of people have heard about.”
Yetti & the Kokonut is a partnership between Geyer and good mate Koen Janssens. The pair began making natural wines to create something “a little bit different”, says Geyer.
“We farm organically, not because its trendy but because it’s what we feel best reflects the vineyards,” he says. “The stuff we make, it can be pretty gnarly or it can be pretty smashable, it really depends on what day of the week it is.
“I want to show the rest of Australia that the Barossa’s not just about big, boozy wines but there’s actually some pretty cool lower alcohol wines coming out of here.”
The event is on September 1 in the Tanunda Show Hall. Each producer has been tasked with creating their own bar. Expect to see custom timber, wrought iron, red velvet lounges and hessian barrels. Rasa Wines has invited the artist who designs their wine labels to create live artwork. Purchase a box of wine and they’ll wrap it up in the design hand-drawn right next to you.
Barossa-based food truck Forage Supply Co. will serve smoky bean and pulled-jackfruit nachos, among other vegan and sustainable eats. DJ Paul Gurry will be spinning tunes from 6pm to 12pm.
The Young & the Restless is one of 44 events at this year’s Gourmet Weekend. The three-day program includes intimate tastings, dining experiences, masterclasses, garden parties and more.
Barossa Gourmet Festival runs September 1–3. The Young & The Restless is on Friday September 1 in the Tanunda Show Hall. Tickets are $30 and include a glass and tasting tickets.