Brisbane developed a thriving wine party scene over the second half of the previous decade.
Esoteric producers and specialist distributors became attracted to the city because of its relative openness towards more experimental and unusual drops, something frequently attributed to Brisbane’s lack of a major wine growing region on its doorstep (the fact that the Granite Belt, the relatively small Queensland wine district two-and-a-half hours southwest, also tends to deal in obscure Eurocentric varietals, probably helps too). But the pandemic kiboshed that, border closures preventing southern winemakers and importers from peddling their wares in person.
“I think before Covid we probably took it for granted,” Cameron Votan says.
It’s in part an effort to restart those good times that Votan’s Fortitude Valley bar Snack Man is launching a new series of wine parties. The first, titled Goodbye Blue Monday, will take place on the last Monday of this month. It will feature DJs, Snack Man’s usual array of tasty eats, and some of the very best importers and distributors of small-producer European wines, including Campbell Burton, Giorgio de Maria, Vino Mito and Living Wines. For $30 you’ll get a couple of Snack Man snacks, a limited edition wine glass etched with the party name and access to more than 30 rare wines available for purchase by the glass.
“It’s getting together nine of the most in-demand wine providers in the land, and putting them all in one place for people to see,” Votan says. “There’s a big natural wine movement going on around the world, and these buyers are at the forefront of that. They go out to every corner of the globe to find what’s interesting and bring it back.
“I was in a wine bar in Naples pre-Covid and I was asking about some Italian cuvées we had at Snack Man and they said, ‘We find it hard to get them here.’ It’s a credit to those guys that they scrap and fight to get these amazing wines into the country.”
For future parties, Votan says to expect visiting chefs from Melbourne and Sydney cooking their own snacks matched to hard-to-find wines.
“These parties are a gift to our regulars and our customers to say thank you and here’s some amazing stuff that you probably weren’t ever expecting to see in Brisbane."
Goodbye Blue Monday takes over Snack Man on Monday, June 28. Numbers are limited. Purchase tickets here.