Wine has a problem. Actually, wine is perfect. Wine events have a problem. They’re boring.
That’s why Dan Sims started his own wine events company, Bottle Shop Concepts.
“We’re hell-bent on creating fun, engaging and meaningful events around our favourite thing, drinks,” he says. “We think people want to learn about wine the same way they consume it: socially.”
You may have heard of his previous events, such as Game of Rhones and Pinot Palooza.
This Sunday April 17 is Gauchito Gil’s Malbec World Day, a party to celebrate Argentina’s most famous grape.
Broadsheet: Who is Gauchito Gil?
Dan Sims: Think of him of as an Argentinean Robin Hood character. He’s known as the patron saint of thieves. There are red shrines all along roads in Argentina (I saw heaps in Mendoza), where not-so-nice characters make an offering and ask for protection before they go and rip someone off. True story.
Malbec World Day is traditionally an all-Argentinean affair, but with more and more Australian examples available, we’re kind of “stealing” some of the limelight away. Fitting, we thought.
BS: What is Malbec? Why bother with a whole event dedicated to it?
DS: It’s in the fuller-flavoured category of wine, but what I like about it is it’s still refreshing, and is basically made for meat.
I like it so much I went and made some in Argentina in 2012. Much like shiraz, there are so many different styles available both in Argentina (and here at home.). It’s not just one thing.
“Why a whole event? Because it’s fun and a chance to celebrate all things Argentinean. Malbec World Day was established by Wines of Argentina to celebrate their most famous grape, and we thought we could play with the idea a little and add an “Australian flair”.
BS: Tell us one cool thing about malbec.
DS: It’s all about altitude. Mendocino Malbec grows from around 300 metres to 1200 metres above sea level, literally right up to the foothills of the Andes. It’s epic. And it’s been in Australia for decades. Err… that’s two things.
BS: What if I don’t like malbec? Can I get some fucking merlot?
DS: Probably don’t come then! And I’m sorry, you’ll never get “fucking merlot” at any of our events. Period.
But I reckon we can find a malbec you’ll like. And worst-case scenario, you can drink beer, eat empanadas and tango.
BS: What goes down on the day?
DS: You get a massive Plumm wine glass to taste from and take home, all the malbec on tasting, all the empanadas, tango, the odd cleansing Quilmes and no ‘effing tokens!
As with anything that we do, don’t think of this as a wine tasting (yawn), it’s a wine festival and this time with some Argentinean flair. Fun first, facts second.
BS: Where do the empanadas come in?
DS: Empanada is essentially meat wrapped in pastry. MEAT WRAPPED IN PASTRY, PEOPLE!
And malbec loves meat, so it’s a perfect fit. We’ve got Piqueos, San Telmo, El Alamo, Gertrude Enoteca and The Mill House competing for the Golden Empanada trophy on the day. We want people to vote for their favourite. There is a professional section with local food legends judging, too.
BS: What else can I eat there?
DS: Yarra Valley Cheese company will be there. And beer is a carb, right? So beer as well.
Gauchito Gil’s Malbec World Day is this Sunday April 17 from 1pm to 6pm at Meat Market, 5 Blackwood Street, North Melbourne. Tickets are $50 and include all wine tasting and a Plumm wine glass.