It’s no secret Australians loves the Wombats. After all, the band is about to descend on the country for the 15th time. But here’s a little-known fact about the UK indie-rock trio: they’re a bleeding bunch of wine connoisseurs. So much, in fact, they’re headlining Grapevine Gathering this October – a five-stop festival tour of the country’s top wine regions – for the second time.

“It’s literally a match made in heaven,” says drummer Dan Haggis. “Someone goes – ‘do you wanna come and play at some wineries in Australia?’ and it’s like, ‘actually, yeah we’ll take you up on that’.”

While their last appearance at Grapevine Gathering was in 2018, they were in Australia as recently as last year, touring their fifth album Fix Yourself, Not The World, which peaked at number two on the Aria charts and copped a spot in the latest Triple J’s Hottest 100 for the single Is This What It Feels Like To Feel Like This?

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“We’re so lucky. The Australian fans from day one have been so amazing to us… that’s why we keep coming back because it’s just so fun for us to be there. The shows are so high energy. Big singalongs,” says Haggis. “It’s pretty addictive.”

Surprisingly, for a band that’s been around longer than some of its youngest fans and has played just about everywhere on earth, Grapevine Gathering is the only winery gig the Wombats has ever played. It’s actually so rare, Haggis has roped his dad into coming along. “He loves his wine and has never been to Australia before,” he says. “So he’ll be coming over for his first trip and sip.”

On the subject of sipping, the band members say they’ve been swept up in the lo-fi wine movement along with the rest of Australia.

“We usually only drink natural wines – or as my dad calls them ‘gnat's piss’,” says Haggis. “It’s like the punk scene of wine isn’t it? When you buy a bottle of wine it’s like you’re supporting a couple or a few friends… it feels like there’s a story and a bit of romance behind every bottle you’re drinking.”

Haggis also admits he isn’t one to shy away from the classics either, being partial to delicate European varietals too. “I guess it depends on what you’re eating – but I think I’d go for a burgundy. I really love, like, light and juicy, sort of pinot noir-esque wines. A nice brunello from Italy or a great bordeaux, if you’re eating something that deserves that,” he says.

Grapevine Gathering has grown in size and scope since the Wombats last headlined – with added tour stops in McLaren Vale, Swan Valley and Mount Cotton – which only adds to the allure for the Liverpool lads.

“So many shows that we do in Australia are in the main cities, which we absolutely love. But it’s going to be so good to get out into more rural areas and see some of the wine country that Australia is pretty famous for and see where those grapes are made.”

Grapevine gathering is on from October 7 to 22 at various locations across Australia. Find out more and get your tickets here.

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