Wine Playground is a vino event, but not as you know it.
Since 2016 James Hopkins has been hosting these freewheeling get-togethers, firstly in Adelaide and then around Australia, which put a bunch of winemakers in front of the drinking public for a day of intimate tasting sessions. There are no reps or formalities. Just plenty of plonk and “good hearty chats”.
After an enormously successful 2018 Brisbane debut Wine Playground returns next month. Once again its teaming up with Happy Boy’s Jordan and Cameron Votan to present 16 winemakers from across the country including Delinquente and Architects Of Wine from South Australia, Swan Valley from Western Australia, and Mallaluka from the ACT, as well as a return of Queensland’s Konpira Maru and La Petite Mort.
Anyone who caught the 2018 event will tell you things got busy – “We kinda got steamrolled last year,” Hopkins says in an email, “the response was overwhelming” – so this year the Votans are throwing open the doors of Snack Man next door to better cope with numbers and “ensure everyone's got plenty of room to relax, indulge and enjoy themselves”.
Hopkins told Broadsheet last year the original idea behind Wine Playground was to foster more direct conversations between consumers and winemakers.
“I realised there was a bit of a gap between the hospitality industry that pours the stuff and the winemakers themselves,” Hopkins said. “What Wine Playground captures is the intimacy and transition of passion that occurs between the winemaker and the consumer. This year the tasting runs for four hours from midday on Saturday May 25 and includes more than 60 wines from 16 producers, all of whom will be in attendance. Snack Man will be peddling small plates on the day, with Ben and Nick Chiu’s A Love Supreme drafted in for beats.
Wine Playground takes over Happy Boy and Snack Man Saturday May 25. Tickets are $65 (not including food). For more info, see here.