In viticulture, veraison is the term for when the grapes begin to ripen and change colour from green to purple.
In Melbourne, Veraison is also the name of the cool indie wine magazine founded by Moira Tirtha in 2020 while they were working the floor at Blackhearts & Sparrows. “There’s a metaphor in there somewhere about change, about how the wine world needs to change for it to be more equitable, fair and diverse,” Tirtha tells Broadsheet.
Tirtha, a wine pro and writer who is also studying a Master of Development, says they realised that, although people would often come into Blackhearts with questions, something about wine made many customers feel too intimated to ask for more information. (And a lot of people didn’t even know what to ask.)
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Tirtha’s retail gig gave them the opportunity to learn first-hand what people wanted to know about wine, and how to communicate in accessible language free of industry-speak and jargon.
Tirtha, who is qualified at WSET level three and credits their oenophile older brother with kick-starting their love of wine, founded Veraison because they wanted to share their passion for wine, make the industry more approachable and share stories from historically underrepresented voices.
“I’d been working in wine for a few years and knew how steep and expensive the wine learning curve can be,” Tirtha says. By educating, Veraison helps address this. “I also wanted to make wine more accessible, because it never felt like it was ever really accessible to me, or people like me.”
Three years into Veraison, Tirtha’s goals have grown. Now, they say they’re on a mission to highlight a lack of diversity in wine media and the wine industry more generally.
But their drive also comes from feeling a need to prove themselves in the industry. “Selfishly, I want the wine world to stop assuming I don’t know anything about wine because I’m a femme-presenting young person of colour in the industry. And it would be cool to do my job without feeling like I have to convince people I know what I’m talking about,” Tirtha adds.
Tirtha edited Volume V – which is now available for pre-order on Veraison’s website – responding to the question: What’s it like eating and drinking in Melbourne?
Print is a hard business, so Tirtha has decided to make Veraison almost fully digital after Volume V (there will be the occasional special-edition print product). Next year, they’re planning to launch a paid Veraison subscription, which will give people access to a bi-monthly digital zine.
Veraison Magazine Volume V is now available for pre order.