Back for its third year, Handmade is a mini wine and food festival held at Fitzroy’s Builders Arms. On Sunday May 29 the entire pub will host some of Australia’s best winemakers, producers and importers.
It’s not a natural-wine festival (“I find that tag divisive,” says the head wine buyer at Builders, Mark Williamson), although many of those involved in the day do lean towards organic and minimal-intervention practices. “We just want producers who put effort and emphasis on creating the best possible wine,” he says. “It’s about embracing these winemakers and their philosophies and letting them tell their stories.”
Local vignerons in the line-up include Patrick Sullivan, William Downie and Jamsheed. Making the trek from interstate are BK Wines, Domaine Lucci, Ochota Barrels, and Jauma (all from Adelaide), plus others. Importers will showcase rare vintages from Italy, France and as far away as Georgia.
It’s not just about the winemakers. Analiese Gregory, head chef at Sydney’s Bar Brosé, and David Moyle of Hobart’s Franklin, are also attending. Together with Builders Arms’ head chef Josh Murphy they’ll cook a range of bar snacks that will be offered throughout the day.
There will also be a dedicated cheese space in the upstairs Bowery Room headed up by the McConnell Group’s own in-house cheesemaker, Colin Wood. Wood will offer fresh cheeses, but there will also be some by the Yarra Valley Dairy, The Stone and Crow Cheese Company, and Adelaide’s Section 28 Artisan Cheeses. Anthony Femia of Maker & Monger will serve raclette and flaming Reubens.
For meat lovers, the courtyard rotisserie will be going. And Meatsmith will make different salamis for the day: pork and XO; squid-ink chorizo; and duck, tarragon and juniper.
If you want more Handmade, there’s an intimate prelude dinner happening in the Bowery Room on Saturday May 28. Gregory (who is also ex-ACME), is working with Murphy on the food. It’ll be an informal, shared-style menu, and select winemakers and importers will be there to talk through their wines. They’ll even open up a few of their more special bottles.
“The whole event is a great chance to interact with producers and importers and ask them anything you’ve ever wanted to ask,” says Williamson. “They’re all really approachable and they want to make wine approachable and fun, too.”
Tickets for the Handmade Dinner Party are $150. Call the Builders Arms on (03) 9417 7700 to book.
Builders Arms Hotel
211 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy
(03) 9417 7700