Blackhearts & Sparrows’ gathering of some of its favourite producers, Winedown, returns to Melbourne this weekend after a two-year hiatus.
Over two sessions on Sunday afternoon, a collection of more than 20 winemakers, brewers and distillers will unite at The Fitzroy Beer Garden to pour some of their most exciting drops.
“It’s just a way to have a bit of fun and get the word out about all these great guys we work with,” says Paul Ghaie, who founded Blackhearts & Sparrows with his sister Jessica.
The line-up includes some of Australia’s most innovative producers, like Patrick Sullivan, Momento Mori and Bobar. The timing of the event also takes advantage of a number of visiting winemakers who are in Australia for Sydney’s Rootstock festival.
"We have three Italians visiting," Ghaie says. "All are fantastic examples of the difference bio-dynamic principals have on the quality of a wine and how it helps tell the story of the soil they are grown in."
Orsi San Vito from Emilia Romagna in Italy, for example, makes biodynamic, minimal intervention wine concentrating on indigenous grapes. The couple is known for their fun, pet-nat style Pignoletto.
“It’s really exciting to not only have some of the more interesting wine producers we work with but also some of these brewers that are doing really exciting things,” says Ghaie. "Everyone who is coming has a unique take on winemaking and how it should be carried out. We will have Konpira Maru showing their take on Saperavi, a little known grape indigenous to Georgia [and] Momento Mori, whose minimal intervention wine are quickly gaining cult status, showing his yet-to-be released Greco di Tufo."
“We like to think our audience is a broad-thinking general drinker, so we use this as an opportunity just to get a few different things out there to really expand people’s drinking experience," he adds.
Tasmania’s Two Metre Tall, for example, is debuting a raspberry sour the Blackhearts crew helped make, and attendees will also be among the first in the country to try New Zealand brewery Garage Project’s foray into wine. Patrick Sullivan will be offering a sneak peek of wines due for release next year, and a gin collaboration between Blackhearts and the Melbourne Gin Company, which reflects the Ghaie's Indian heritage, will also be on show.
"Everyone has a story and a deep belief in what they are doing," Ghaie says.
A limited number of tickets will be available for a special tasting session of Blackhearts & Sparrows’ rarest bottles, including lambic beers from Belgium’s Cantillon and bottles from French winemakers Maison Pierre Overnoy and Jean-François Ganevat.
Blackhearts only gets a small allocation of these much-hyped drops each year – Ghaie wants to share them with wine fans beyond the usual crowd of buyers.
“We’re all about wanting as many people as possible to try as many different things as they can and to have experiences which are sometimes just kept for those in the know,” says Ghaie.
Neighbourhood Wine will be serving up a barbeque-inspired menu and local DJs will also join the party. It’s all part of Blackhearts & Sparrows’ philosophy of keeping wine fun and accessible, while still challenging drinkers’ palates.
Winedown is taking place at The Fitzroy Beer Garden at 243-245 Gertrude Street on Sunday December 3. The first tasting session runs 12pm to 2pm. The second tasting session runs 3pm to 5pm. A special Jura Unicorns/Cantillon Tasting session runs from 2pm to 3pm. Buy tickets here.
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